As a caregiver you likely know that your responsibilities on a day to day basis can vary significantly depending on the amount of support the older person you are caring for needs. The job comes with an immense amount of responsibility, and it can be difficult to get caught up in your daily tasks. If you are new to caregiving, it can be helpful to make a daily checklist of your responsibilities. Below are some suggestions.
Once the senior wakes up, it is important to make sure you assist them with any personal care that they need. This includes, going to the bathroom, bathing, grooming, and dressing. When you first get acquainted with the person you are caring for, ask them what they need help with. Initially, the senior may be uncomfortable with asking for help, especially with something as personal as going to the bathroom. Be sure to listen to their needs, and be patient with them as they get used to someone helping them with their daily routine.
Making sure that your senior has food to eat is essential. As a caregiver, it is your responsibility to make sure there is always food in the kitchen. At the beginning of each week, take stock on what you have in the kitchen and what you need. Ask the senior if they want anything in particular, and begin preparing what you plan on cooking for the week. If the senior needs help eating, you may want to consider feeding friendly foods that you can cut up and section into small bites. At the end of a meal, remember to do the dishes. Remember to make the seniors meals rich in nutrients — a balanced diet will help the senior stay healthy and alert.
Throughout the day, make sure the senior isn’t peckish. If they are, provide them with small snacks to hold them over till the next meal. Most importantly, make sure they are well hydrated! Put water bottles around the house so the senior can have access to water in any room.
As seniors age, some may begin to act like babies. This can be extremely frustrating, but understand that seniors are aging on a cognitive level. Their actions may seem childish, but they are not malicious. To help accommodate an aging senior, consider baby proofing the house they are living in. You can add child locks on drawers that contain dangerous items such as scissors or knives. You should be cognisant of where you put certain items, and of what you give the senior access to. If your senior has some mobility, consider investing in elderly assistance products to help the senior remain independent.
If the senior has trouble with mobility, it is your responsibility to get them from point A to point B. This includes taking them around the house, on errands, appointments, and to friends and family. If your senior just wants to sit around, try to encourage them to go outside and take them on a walk. There are many benefits to being exposed to appropriate levels of sunlight, and it doesn’t hurt for you to get some sun as well!
For many seniors, aging can be a saddening and overwhelming time in their lives. As a caretaker, you can help them feel more comfortable with aging by being there for them emotionally. You can do this by helping your senior maintain connections with their loved ones. This can be done through video chat, or by taking the senior around to meet up with their loved ones.
Another way you can help your senior out emotionally is by helping them establish a sense of community. If you have a senior center nearby, be on the lookout for events in your area. If your senior has friends their age, reach out to them and try to organize a date where everyone can get together for an activity. If your senior just wants to talk, make sure to listen to them, even if your conversations are repetitive. Many seniors seek comfort in talking to others, and as a caretaker, you are one of the closest people in the seniors life. Remember to be patient with them, and if you feel comfortable, ask them questions about their life to get to know them better.
Lastly, remember that your health is important too. Make sure you allow yourself time to take care of yourself and tend to your needs. Your physical and emotional health is just as important, and try to make time in your day for personal care on your part.