The duties of a senior caregiver are simple but far-reaching. They are not just responsible for bathing, grooming, dressing, cooking, or cleaning, though on an average day they might be asked to help with all of those. Their impact is even greater. Caregivers do not merely assist clients with daily, household chores. They play a vital role in the health and happiness of older adults.
Why Become a Caregiver?
Caregivers help seniors cope with the challenges of aging, providing them with the physical and emotional support they need in order to live safely and comfortably. It is selfless and rewarding work requiring patience, kindness, and empathy. Their dedication transforms the lives of the people they care for. For patients recovering from illness or accident, the presence of a caregiver can help them regain their strength and vigor in an astoundingly short period of time, enabling them to live independently on their own terms.
What Are the Duties of a Senior Caregiver?
Caregivers assist with the Activities of Daily Living, ADL for short. Though not every senior will need help with each of them, they are essential for a person’s dignity and well-being.
Bathing, Showering, & Grooming
The most important duties of a senior caregiver revolve around personal hygiene. Many seniors who are recuperating from an injury, dealing with balance issues, or becoming forgetful find it difficult to keep themselves clean and groomed. Caregivers may have to help them in and out of the shower, comb their hair, trim their nails, or brush their teeth. They might also have to help them into their clothes or onto the toilet. These can be delicate matters but looking after them not only protects seniors from infection. It also boosts their mental health. Feeling smart and fresh improves self-esteem while reducing anxiety, depression, and discomfort.
For seniors, clutter can be dangerous. A simple fall can have drastic consequences for their health and mobility. Floors and stairways need to be kept clear of loose items. Anything underfoot can cause an accident. In addition, caregivers might help scrub countertops, rinse dishes, vacuum the carpet, take out the trash, and with anything else that is needed to keep the house clean and accessible.
Cooking & Grocery Shopping
Sadly, many seniors struggle to eat healthy. As people get older, the effort to lift pots and pans, chop meat and vegetables, or mix and stir ingredients can become too much for them. They might therefore need help preparing food and cooking their meals. A few might even forget when they last ate or require assistance holding their utensils.
To make sure they are not simply relying on junk food, caregivers may also assist seniors with their grocery list and accompany them to the store. In some cases, if their client has mobility issues, they might do the shopping themselves.
Seniors spend a lot of time going to and from the doctor. But they also like to be out having fun, same as anyone else. That is why one of the primary duties of a senior caregiver is to drive them wherever they need to be, whether it’s to the movies, checkups, a friend’s house, the local library, or senior day care. They help them every step of the way, not just on the road, but getting in and out of the car as well.
It is important for seniors to keep moving. Even a short walk can do wonders for their health, improving their:
- Blood Pressure
- Immune System
Exercise becomes more difficult with age, not only physically but mentally. Without someone by their side, many seniors find it difficult to stay motivated, even if the exercise has been prescribed by their doctor. The praise and encouragement of a caregiver can make all the difference in the world.
Keeping track of which pills to take can be a difficult task. As their health becomes more complex, it is not uncommon for seniors to find themselves on a dozen different medications, each taken at a separate time on a separate day. Caregivers are there to make sure each patient’s medication is taken correctly. They may also be responsible for refilling the client’s prescriptions and making sure no one sneaks off with them.
What are the Medical Duties of a Senior Caregiver?
Caregivers are not trained or licensed to provide medical care. This means they cannot change dressings or provide anything more than simple first aid. However, that does not mean they do not play an important medical role.
Because they work so closely with them, senior care providers are in an excellent position to report on their client’s health. Frequently, they are the first to catch the warning signs of a serious illness. The information they provide is invaluable to the doctors, nurses, and therapists responsible for planning the patient’s care.
Caregivers are required to document everything that happens during their shift and to make sure nothing about the patient’s well-being slips through the cracks.
Why Do Seniors Need Caregivers More Than Ever?
Loneliness is a killer. People who are lonely are at greater risk of depression, dementia, and anxiety, not to mention a wide range of physical ailments. Loneliness has even been shown to shorten a person’s lifespan.
Unfortunately, seniors are lonelier now than ever before. More live by themselves and go days without talking to anyone. Having a caregiver visit every day, just to chat and play games, has a remarkably improving effect. Companionship enriches a person’s life, keeping their minds sharp and their hearts full. Even something simple as a conversation or a card game gives them a sense of belonging that nothing else could provide.
Importance of a Senior Caregiver’s Duties
As America grows older, senior caregivers are becoming an increasingly fundamental part of the medical system. They look after patients in the most intimate way, helping them adjust to the difficulties and limitations that come with the aging process. Working day-to-day with their clients, they are an indispensable link in a chain connecting seniors to healthcare organizations and the wider community.
Parentis Health Home Care Services provide comfort and companionship to seniors navigating daily life. Contact us today to learn what our dedicated professionals can do to keep your loved ones safe and happy.
Lewis Jackson writes about technology and healthcare. His work provides practical insight into modern medicine and healthy living.