You may have recently come to a point where you realize your aging loved one needs help. Upon searching for services, you realize, there are an ocean of services that no one explains the rules for. For example, what exactly can an in home caregiver do for my aging loved one? It can be much easier to plan when you know exactly what it is you are looking for. Today we will help you break down exactly what senior caregivers can do for you as well as what they cannot.
What You Can Always Expect of Senior Caregivers
There are standard tasks that can always be expected of senior caregivers. These are within the basic job description of anyone who applies to provide in home care to your senior loved one. If a potential caregiver is unwilling to perform these tasks, they are likely not right for the job of an in home caregiver.
Empathy and understanding should be at the heart of everything that a senior caregiver does for your aging loved one. After all, mental health is just as important as physical health. If your aging loved one is not being socially engaged they are much more likely to fall into cognitive decline. Your senior caregiver should be engaging your loved one in conversation or stimulating activities during each shift.
If your aging loved one has a specific physical therapy regimen that they follow, senior caregivers ensure they adhere to that. Regular exercise is important to an aging body. Excellent senior caregivers are trained in how to best keep an aging body active.
Groceries & Errands
Your loved one may be feeble and unable to run their own errands without assistance. Senior caregivers can help with this task. Caregogi always recommends that you keep track of any money spent when a caregiver takes your senior loved one on an errand. We have a helpful purchasing form that you can request a caregiver use each time they complete a purchase for your loved one.
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All caregivers should feel comfortable performing basic housekeeping duties. The extent of what housekeeping covers, however, is up for debate. At minimum caregivers should be able to do the following:
- Wash dishes
- Do laundry
- Clean house of clutter
- Vacuum, Dust, Sweep, & Mop common areas
Many seniors have difficulty remembering to take their medication. If your loved one is having difficulty, a caregiver can help encourage and remind seniors to take their medication. Please note, caregivers should not directly administer medication as they are not medically licensed.
Nutrition is important to maintaining the health of a senior. The senior caregiver you employ should be able to prepare meals for your loved one. Additionally, if your loved one needs prompting to eat, a caregiver can help encourage them.
What You Might Have to Ask About
As is true with most things, there is a little bit of grey area in the job description of senior caregivers.You will find caregivers who do not bat an eye to perform the following tasks, while others will not perform them under any circumstances. As a rule of thumb, always ask about the following during an interview with any senior caregiver.
While many caregivers are perfectly comfortable bathing a senior, others are not. When you initially interview a caregiver make sure that they are experienced and able to bathe your loved one if necessary.
Moderate to severe incontinence is a problem for over 24% of American seniors. Most senior caregivers are perfectly comfortable performing toileting related tasks. However, some are either unwilling or unable to assist with incontinence. If your loved one needs toileting assistance, be sure to ask potential caregivers their comfort level before inviting them to an interview.
If your loved one needs assistance being transferred it is important that your senior caregiver is both strong skillful. Many caregivers are unable to perform transfers due to a lack of physical ability. Even if they have the physical ability, knowledge of the lifting device is extremely important. It is always a good idea to make sure that your potential caregiver has prior experience with assistive devices.
Senior caregivers vary in their willingness to provide transportation for a senior client. Some are unable to perform this task due to their primary vehicle being high off the ground and ‘senior un-friendly’. Other caregivers are simply unwilling to take the risk of driving a client in their car in case of an accident. Whatever the case may be, if you do find a caregiver who is willing to drive your parent, be sure to have their insurance information before your loved one ever drives in a car with them.
What You Should Never Expect of Senior Caregivers
Senior caregivers are there to help foster the independence of your aging loved one. However, there are certain tasks that are beyond the caregiver job description. The following are guidelines to tasks that are often beyond the realm of a senior caregiver. When hiring senior caregivers independently it is always best practice to ask the caregiver what their comfort level is. If your home care is provided through a home care agency or a government service such as Medicaid or the Veterans Association, their guidelines might be even stricter.
Heavy Duty Housekeeping
You should not expect caregivers to perform heavy cleaning tasks. These heavy duty tasks are included but not limited to:
- Yard work
- Snow removal
- Cleaning that requires lifting heavy furniture
- Cleaning that requires exposure to dangerous chemicals
- Household maintenance or repairs
Skilled Nursing Care
You cannot expect specialized medical care of a senior caregiver. This can include tube feedings, I.V. care, and any direct medication management or administration. Only a medical professional can perform medical tasks to ensure the safety of your senior loved one.
If your senior loved one needs physical therapy, occupational therapy, or speech therapy they need to consult with a licensed therapist. You should never expect these services of an in home senior caregiver.
Do not allow yourself or your senior loved one to be vulnerable to fraud or financial abuse. The elderly are the most likely population to be exploited financially. It is always best practice to keep financial matters separate from home care.
Medical Assessment and Advising
Caregivers are not licensed professionals. While your senior caregiver may have an opinion on why your loved one is behaving differently, it is just that: an opinion. Senior caregivers can certainly alert you to troubling symptoms, but never consider their concerns an official diagnosis. To have your loved one properly evaluated always take them to their PCP for a proper diagnosis.
Connecting With Senior Caregivers Has Never Been Easier.
Forging a meaningful connection with a senior caregiver can be a difficult process, but Caregogi is here to help! Communication is always key when trying to find that perfect fit. You can use our senior care task list to better plan for senior care.
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