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The Basics of Being a Caregiver

Florida First on June 23, 2017

There is much more to home assistance than most people seem to think. Working as a home care professional gives you unique perspective on certain parts of elderly people’s lives. As a caregiver, you may take notice of things that their families, their friends, and even their doctors may not have. In fact, it’s just part of the many responsibilities of a caretaker.

Establish a Routine

Providing seniors with a daily routine is a great way to keep them in good spirits, especially if they suffer from chronic ailments like hypertension. By doing a rejuvenating and stimulating morning ritual of small exercises, your senior patients can go about their day with contentment and confidence. But always start small. Getting into a routine can be hard at the beginning.

Organize a Care Plan

Creating a care plan is essential for any caregiver. This allows you keep note of your senior patients’ strengths and weaknesses, helping you determine how much assistance they actually require. Every senior is different, so there is no one care plan that works for everyone. Some seniors need round-the-clock care while others may only need your assistance for a few hours a day. Whatever the case, be sure to make a plan for yourself and your senior patients.

Be Attentive

Friends and family aren’t the only ones to miss certain signals that something is wrong. Sometimes the senior patients themselves don’t even realize there is a problem until you, as their caretaker, points it out. For example, when a senior patient asks you for a foot massage several times throughout the day, it could be for reasons beyond pampering. There might be an underlying podiatric issue that hasn’t been addressed. Also, bear in mind that some of your senior patients will be humble about the things that bother them for fear of “burdening” you. In cases like this, be on the lookout for any signs of discomfort that they might not be telling you about. Your job is to keep them as happy and as comfortable as possible, so be as attentive as you can.

Evaluate Medical Needs

Part of being a caretaker is keeping track of your senior patient’s medications, of which there could be many. Providing medical assistance, even by doing something as small as serving their pills along with their food, is something that every good caretaker knows how to do. If your senior patients use prescription medication for chronic diseases or pain management, it is in their best interest for you to follow a medical care plan assigned by their doctors. Following a medical care plan will give you a better understanding of your duties. You can always consult it for specification of things you’re unsure of, like what times of day you should provide medical assistance.

Prepare Meals

Preparing food can become increasingly difficult with age, so part of your job as a caretaker might include cooking. If you do need to cook for your senior patients, you can also help monitor their nutrition by keeping them on an appropriate diet. This is especially good for senior patients who use holistic methods of treatment for conditions they might have.

Help with Housework

Motor skills also diminish with age, so helping your senior patients keep their homes clean and comfortable is a major part of the job. Housework takes energy that some seniors just don’t have anymore. By helping with standard examples of housework like cleaning, doing laundry and helping take care of pets, you are providing invaluable, much-appreciated assistance to your senior patient.

Be a Friend

The most important duty you may have as a caregiver for a senior patient is to provide companionship. Caring for others is such a rewarding part of the human experience, so be sure to let it show.

Find a Caregiver Through Our Services

Although a caregiver may carry out different sets of duties each day, these are some of the more basic tasks that remain the same no matter who you are or who you care for. These duties are essential in caregiving, so remember to make any adjustments as needed for your senior patients. At Florida First Senior Home Care, we refer only the best caregivers to seniors in need of assistance living at home. If you or someone you know is interested in receiving a referral for a caregiver within our registry of certified home care professionals, please call us at (561) 717-7224.