When a loved one has been given a short time left to live, a family member or close friend is usually the first to volunteer to be their caregiver. But what does a caregiver do? And how will you know whether you’re up for the task? We’ll explore some of the main responsibilities that fall on the shoulders of caregivers.
Caregiver duties are wide-ranging from the simple to the more complex. As a caregiver, you may be cleaning the house or shopping for meals one moment and then find yourself discussing medication with a doctor or pharmacist the next. When you take on the role of caregiver, you become responsible for ensuring the complete care of an ailing loved one, no matter what that entails.
What Does a Caregiver Do? Caregiver Duties and Responsibilities
If you’re asking the question, “What does a caregiver do?” you’re on the right track to becoming a responsible caregiver. Because no two peoples’ needs are the same, caregiving requirements are different based on each person they care for. However, many of these caregiving tasks are performed at some point during a person’s time as a caregiver. Important duties of a caregiver can include:
- Preparing a Care Plan
- Handling Medical Needs
- Assisting in Basic Needs
- Help With Mobility
- Preparing Meals
Preparing a Care Plan
One of the first steps of being a caregiver is to create a detailed care plan for your loved one. This can be done on your own or with the help of a doctor. Preparing a care plan is meant to focus on the strengths and weaknesses of your loved one so that you can figure out how many days and times you’ll need to be there for focused care. A monetary budget should also be planned to set expectations for how much expenses will cost during your time as a caregiver.
Handling Medical Needs
If your loved one takes prescription medication or needs help with pain management, as a caregiver you’ll need to make sure the medications are given at the correct time and with the right dosage. Meeting with a doctor and creating a medical plan is an important step. Some people may need more than a dozen different medications, so as a caregiver you’ll have to make sure they are all picked up on time, administered, and renewed. Also monitoring pain and knowing when pain medication is needed is an important responsibility of the caregiver.
Assisting in Basic Needs
As the elderly begin to need more help with personal daily care, a caregiver will step in to make sure hygiene is properly taken care of. Basic hygiene needs can include: using the bathroom, bathing, cleaning up after being sick, getting dressed, and grooming.
As we age, taking care of our homes can become exhausting and time-consuming. Caregivers can provide assistance by doing dishes, vacuuming, taking out the garbage, running errands, and helping with basic repairs.
Help With Mobility
As your loved one gets older, they will need more assistance with being transferred to different areas of the house whether it’s from the bed to a chair or from the wheelchair to the toilet. You need to be prepared to help them move as comfortably as possible. Noticing the signs of someone being at risk for a fall and practicing safe movements is important for their health and safety. Caregiving can be hard on the body of the caregiver, so you want to make sure you have the right knowledge to prevent any painful injuries on not just your loved one but also yourself.
Preparing meals can become more difficult as your loved one ages. As a caregiver, you’ll be able to help in not just the cooking, but also grocery shopping as well. You’ll also want to make sure that the foods you fix are giving them the best nutrition possible while also making sure that the foods are easy for them to tolerate.
With all of these duties and responsibilities, it’s important not to forget that what your loved one will seek most is having a companion. While this can be a rewarding experience for you both, it can also be stressful as most family members and friends that are serving as caregivers want to give their loved ones as much companionship as possible, but also must take care of their own households and needs. Finding the right balance can help both you and your loved one gain the most out of your time together.
Hospice of South Louisiana Can Help
While every family member and friend wants to be a caregiver for their loved one, sometimes allowing a professional hospice caregiver to step in and help with the everyday care will leave you with more time to just enjoy being with your loved one. We know how stressful this time can be. And we know how being a full-time caregiver on top of that can add to that stress.
At Hospice of South Louisiana, we provide medical, psychosocial, and spiritual support for you and your loved one. We work to provide the highest level of comfort and care with the professional attention you both deserve. A hospice caregiver will be available for support 24/7 if needed and can assist with every part of daily tasks and responsibilities. If you’re looking to provide the highest quality level of care for your loved one, while receiving the support and help you need, contact Hospice of South Louisiana today to learn more about our hospice care plan.