As people approach old age, everyday living can become more difficult. Whether it’s because of old age or a medical condition, elderly individuals might be limited with what they can do on their own. It’s for this reason that people choose to leave their homes to live in a nursing home or in an assisted living facility.
Nowadays, seniors are increasingly deciding to remain at home, aging in place. This, however, does not eliminate the need for home care. In order to safely live and age at home, many elderly individuals will need some level of care. Some seniors will receive help from a home care agency’s professional caregiver, and some seniors will be fortunate enough to have a relative act as a family caregiver to them.
From bathroom help to meal preparation to transportation, being a caregiver to a loved one entails a great deal of responsibility. Because of that, it’s important that caregivers are appreciated and not taken for granted. The work they do is selfless.
Continue reading to learn more about the various responsibilities a family caregiver may have and why family caregivers should be celebrated.
What a Family Caregiver Does
1. Family caregivers keep loved ones safe
Many elderly individuals may find it difficult to perform daily activities that were once easy for them to do. For example, seniors may feel as though they cannot safely bathe anymore, or they may have trouble getting around their home in a safe manner. Family caregivers will help their loved ones by assisting them with their personal hygiene, so they can get through these activities without jeopardizing their safety. Informal caregivers make sure there are no hazards that may cause their relative to trip or fall and will help them get around their residence.
We value our loved ones, which is why it’s important to keep them safe, and family caregivers do what they need to ensure that safety is maintained.
2. Family caregivers help with medications
Some seniors may have medical conditions that require them to take medications. It’s important that elderly individuals take these medications as directed, but it’s easier said than done.
If an individual has Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, then they can easily forget to take their medication. If a senior has numerous medications to take, then they may have a tough time keeping track of what to take, when to take it, and how it should be taken.
Family caregivers will help organize and pick up necessary medications while also reminding their loved ones when to take them. With this assistance, seniors will stay well and on track with their medications.
3. Family caregivers cook and prepare meals
Elderly individuals might be unable or unwilling to cook proper meals for themselves. Cooking can also be dangerous, so seniors may not trust themselves to use a stove or an oven or even to prepare food. This can cause them to eat poorly, eat minimally, or not even eat. It is especially imperative that seniors eat regular meals to ensure they have the strength, energy, and nutrients to get through the day.
Without proper meals, seniors can easily suffer from poor health. Family caregivers are around to help with that, cooking healthy, nutritious meals that ensure seniors are energized and maintain good health.
4. Family caregivers provide transportation and run errands
A lot of times, seniors will give up their driving privileges, because it’s no longer safe for them to be out on the road. While it’s a great decision that ensures everyone’s safety, the decision also limits the elderly individual’s freedom because they are no longer able to get to where they need/want to go. They can no longer easily run errands, buy groceries, or pick up their prescriptions.
Family caregivers can give their loved ones rides to appointments and events so that they don’t miss out. They can also help with errands, making sure important matters are taken care of.
5. Family caregivers are companions to their loved ones
Seniors can easily feel lonely if they live on their own. They may have lost their spouse, or they may not have any friends around who can be a companion to them. This loneliness can contribute to feelings of depression, which will leave elderly individuals in a poor state mentally and physically.
Sometimes overlooked, it’s important to note that family caregivers are not just around to provide companion care and assistance to their loved one. They are also around to be a companion to their elderly loved one. Family caregivers will spend time with their relative, engaging them in conversation and doing hobbies and fun activities with them.
Celebrating Family Caregivers
Given the amount of time, energy, and work that family caregivers put into their caregiving, there’s no doubt that family caregivers should be celebrated. This is even more so when considering that many family caregivers have their own careers and families to take care of as well. In fact, the average family caregiver will spend more than 20 hours a week providing care to a loved one. If the family caregiver lives at home with their relative, then, on average, they will spend 40 hours each week providing care. For many family caregivers, taking on that role is like having another job.
However, caregiving is demanding, and what better way to celebrate family caregivers than by giving them some time off. With their hard work, they deserve to have time to relax and address their own personal matters. In such a case, a home care agency can help by providing the elderly individual in need with a temporary caregiver.
At Assisting Hands Home Care, we offer respite care services to help family caregivers and those they care for. With our respite care services, we will provide the senior in need with a respite caregiver who fills in for the family caregiver while they take time off. We will evaluate the client’s care needs to ensure they receive the help they need, so you can feel at ease knowing your loved one is in capable hands.