Becoming a caregiver is an important responsibility with many different tasks required each and every day. Caregiver duties can include having to grocery shop, set up medical appointments, and manage medications. Knowing exactly what to expect can be critical to ensuring that you or your loved one gets the care they need and deserve.
Some of the responsibilities of a caregiver include checking on seniors’ health, creating a care plan, and assisting with basic needs. By becoming a caregiver or hiring one, you are becoming a helping hand. You will be there to do whatever daily activities a person needs to live. If you are a spouse or family member reading this, don’t be hard on yourself if you need to hire someone. Many people need extra help, and not all family members have time to go take care of the person.
What Is a Caregiver?
A caregiver is someone who provides and helps with basic needs for another person. The caregiver is responsible for looking out for someone else’s health by managing doctor appointments and daily medications.
They also help with daily tasks that may be too hard for someone to do. People need caregivers for all sorts of reasons. For example, they may need help as a senior due to chronic conditions or even have memory issues that make it hard to complete daily activities.
The Top Caregiver Duties And Responsibilities
We’ve compiled a list of all the critical duties a caregiver might need to do.
- Managing Medication
Often, seniors will take more medications than other people. They may also have to take medications at certain times in the day or with meals that need to be prepared. It is the responsibility of the caregiver to ensure the medication is taken correctly and managed every day.
This is not a task that should be taken lightly, and sometimes there will be a notebook to track medications. It is crucial to track, record, and monitor medication for elderly people. This can help reduce the risk of severe issues and help a person live a longer, more comfortable life. Medication tracking apps like MyTherapy can help with keeping track of medication. For more information on MyTherapy, read our mini-review in Best Apps for Seniors.
- Meal Prepping
Many people will have food or dietary restrictions that make it harder for them to make food independently. Senior hunger is an issue to be concerned about. It will be the responsibility of a caretaker to learn about the diet needs of your loved one and ensure they get the proper nutrients that are needed.
Each caregiver should be trained to understand which food negatively reacts with specific medications and what to avoid. Caregivers should plan for the whole week and even do the grocery shopping for many seniors who cannot easily get out of the house.
Seniors and others may not always be able to drive themselves. This means a caregiver will need to not only set up appointments but have the proper transportation to get there. Often, a caregiver will have to get the senior into the car and drive them places to get checkups and other activities that cannot be done independently.
A duty that is often overlooked is companionship. Many times, a family member can visit but not as often as the senior would like. This can lead to loneliness, boredom, and maybe even frustration.
Caregivers, provide companionship, talk to them, keep them company, and learn what they like to do. This is more than a set of tasks; it is a friendship. A responsible caregiver will become a friend and must never abuse the relationship.
- Creating A Care Plan
A care plan or task sheet is a written down statement of how a caregiver plans to take care of the senior. They will list the goals to work on and anything else that will help take care of the senior. This plan will help a caregiver understand how much time a person needs, what chores need to be done, and what things are needed to create a meaningful and helpful relationship.
Basic housekeeping is an essential duty. This may include doing laundry, helping with the dishes, and other light duties that are easy for most but harder for the loved one. Maintaining a home can be too much for some people, and as someone ages, it only gets harder. A caregiver is expected to help with these essential functions and may even have to call a repair person for help.
- Doctor’s Appointments
One of the primary duties of a caregiver is to look after a person’s health regularly. This includes going to the doctor’s office and being in the room with them. Caregivers must find out what medications they need and may even have to communicate what is happening with their bodies for them.
Caregivers will also be responsible for understanding what the doctor is saying and helping them follow the doctor’s orders. Making doctors’ appointments can be necessary, and taking them to the appointment is a critical duty.
Many people need help moving around as they get older. However, to remain healthy, they will need to do exercises like gentle yoga for seniors. Caregivers may need to bring them on walks, small weights, or even to classes for senior citizens.
This will help them live longer and is one of a caregiver’s responsibilities. They may even need help to get to physical therapy appointments. A caregiver will need to attend to understand what exercises they can do and how they can help.
Not everyone can bathe on their own, and it can be a difficult thing to do. Many seniors will do as much as possible on their own. However, sometimes help is needed, especially in a standing shower.
Caregivers will be trained on how to help someone bathe though many times it will not be necessary. Often, a CNA may come to help with this duty.
- Helping With Mobility
Many older people have a hard time moving around, even within their own homes. Caregivers may have to help them up, help them sit, and even help them with basic movements such as feeding themselves.
Helping with basic mobility and movements is a task that most caregivers will need to do. Once, a caregiver gets to know the senior, they will need to evaluate what help is needed and provide alternative solutions when they can’t help them.
- Family Events
There will be family events throughout the year that the senior may need help getting to. A caregiver will need to provide transportation and ensure the senior is healthy enough to attend these family events. Depending on the circumstance, a paid caregiver may even be asked to stay throughout the event to help ensure the safety of the senior and help them understand what is going on. Paid caregivers may also need to attend other events outside of family events.
- Memory Care
When someone gets older, their memory can get worse. Many people suffer from dementia which can lead to confusion and hard days. Being a constant person who is responsible for helping will help the family feel comfortable.
A caregiver will be responsible for remembering where basic things are and reminding the loved one in a gentle way where things are. Caregivers may also take a senior to doctors and learn new skills to help with any memory problems.
- Family Support
Watching someone get older or struggling with problems they cannot control can be incredibly hard for family members. A paid caregiver should instill confidence and ensure the family that they can handle their responsibilities and show the family that the senior is in good hands.
If you’re hiring someone, ask yourself, “Is the caregiver a bridging factor that connects my loved one to their family in a relatable way?” The caregiver you hire should help make your family feel better by providing them support and updates on loved ones. This is often an overlooked duty of a caregiver but also a very important duty.
For a caregiver, every day will be a little different depending on the senior and their needs. In fact, there may be times when additional outside help is needed. It is the caregiver’s job to observe what the needs are and come up with solutions to ensure keep living healthy.
The Necessary Skills For a Caregiver
Every job is different and requires a unique set of skills. The job of a caregiver is not for everyone and can be mentally demanding. Caregivers need to be patient and respectful. Whether it’s you or someone you hire, here is a list of skills every caregiver needs.
- Compassion– Understanding your loved ones on a deeper and more meaningful level is crucial. You need to be concerned about the well-being of other people, especially the one you are looking after. This is a skill that not everyone has.
- Communication- As a caregiver, you may be expected to communicate with doctors, other family members, and other necessary people in the senior’s life. Communication is crucial here.
- Cleanliness– A caregiver may be expected to help with light house cleaning, and you will need to be a clean person. This is not expected of all caregivers, but it is something to keep in mind.
- Observation and Analyzing– Often, seniors will forget to mention things. This will not usually be intentional. However, you need to be able to observe your senior’s habits, pay attention to notes, records, and understand when something is not right. This means you need to be a good people watcher and analyze someone’s habits.
- Social Interaction– Being a caregiver means you will barely be alone. You will be with your senior, at their appointments, and communicating with their family. You need to be comfortable socializing for long hours and being helpful the whole time. This job takes customer service to the next step.
- Patience– Often, you may feel frustrated or like you are not getting anywhere with someone. Every caregiver needs to be patient and understand that some things may not go the way they intend.
- Flexibility– This job will take you in a different direction every day. You will need to be flexible with the schedule and with your loved one.
Being a caregiver can be rewarding and lead to a meaningful connection. If it’s caring for a loved one, that can lead to a re-connection. Caregivers are responsible for helping someone with daily activities and helping them get the support they need. It can be hard work but knowing that someone’s quality of life is better due to it can lead to satisfaction that is incredibly rewarding.
Frequently Asked Questions
What qualities should I look for in a caregiver?
Every caregiver should be dependable, trustworthy, and understanding. Don’t accept less for your loved one. If you’re hiring, it can be hard to find people with these qualities, but it will mean the world to the senior when it works.
What should I look for on a caregiver resume?
When looking for a caregiver, look for qualifications such as CPR, first-aid, housekeeping, meal-prepping, and time management. Ask if the caregiver has any certifications. Don’t forget to check them and any references they might give you.
I feel guilty about hiring a caregiver. Is this normal?
Many people who are responsible for the care of loved ones feel this way. Don’t think this is unusual. It’s normal to want to do it all but it may just be too much for one person to handle. What’s really important is that your loved one gets the best quality of life that you can provide. That may mean an outside hire. Remember though — and this is important — you won’t be burnt out! If caring for your loved one is becoming too much to handle then be sure to ask your family, friends, and others for the emotional support you need.