Caregiving is a wonderful career if you love helping people. You get to spend your day making a positive difference in people’s lives, and you deliver something nobody else can – the ability to help a senior age gracefully at home and not in a nursing home or other type of institution. So, what is it that you do all day that is so special? Take a look at this list of the seven most common duties of a caregiver. They’re not glamourous, they’re not something that will get you much applause from others, and they’re not anything that will win you a trophy or a shiny medal.
These seven tasks may not mean a lot to an outside observer – but to your client and their family, they mean EVERYTHING. You’re helping older adults live a dignified life at the place they feel safest and value most – their home. Now, that’s something that deserves a medal.
In no particular order, these are the things you do every day to make a difference in someone’s life.
Assess medical needs
You’re the eyes and ears that assess pain levels and manage medications and chronic conditions. Your client and their family don’t expect you to be a nurse or doctor, but they want you to observe and let them know if the client’s general health needs are being met.
Assist with basic needs
Aging often brings with it memory and mobility challenges that can make the activities of daily living like bathing, grooming, eating, and toileting difficult to perform. Caregivers assist their clients with tasks that most people take for granted – buttoning a shirt, cutting up a piece of meat on a dinner plate, or taking a bubble bath.
Help with housekeeping
Maintaining a home gets harder as we get older. Your client may need help with doing dishes, vacuuming, or taking out the trash. You help with these things and keep your client in a clean, safe environment.
Seniors often take several medications to treat chronic conditions. It can be confusing to some of them concerning when to take their meds and how much to take. You help lower your client’s risk of overdosing or mixing drugs that would cause more serious health problems for them.
Food preparation and all of the physical labor it entails become increasingly difficult as we age. Seniors who live alone sometimes go without eating or eat something unhealthy. In some instances, balance and memory issues may also make cooking unsafe. By preparing nutritious meals, you ensure that your client has a balanced diet and gets proper nutrition.
Driving a vehicle or taking public transportation to get to medical appointments may no longer be a safe option for a senior. They may have medical conditions that require them to be driven to doctor’s appointments and other activities. You help your client by lining up senior transportation or driving them yourself.
This may be how you spend most of your day with your client, and it also may be the most personally gratifying of all your duties. Seniors are often isolated and live by themselves, leading to feelings of loneliness. The time you spend with them every day is often what they look forward to most.
If you’d like to make an extraordinary difference in someone’s life, caregiving may be the career of a lifetime for you. To learn more about the opportunities available to you as a highly valued member of the Health at Home team, contact us and take your first step towards becoming a part-time or full-time caregiver. You’ll be glad you did.