When an older relative reaches a point where it is difficult for them to do all of the things needed to live on their own, family discussions may turn to what should be done for them. You may hear people mention the term “family caregiver” in talking about who will take care of the elderly person. Perhaps you’re one of the people who could become a family caregiver.
You may not know exactly what that means or what a family caregiver is expected to do. A comprehensive list of the things family caregivers do for those they take care of would be extremely long. It also varies from one person to the next.
Below are some of the more common things that you could find yourself doing as a family caregiver.
Arrange Medical Care
Family caregivers often have to make sure seniors receive all the medical care they need. That means scheduling appointments. It can also mean driving them to the appointment and attending it with them, so that you have all the relevant information about their health and can interpret the information and instructions for them. You may also have to work with health care providers to ensure your aging relative is getting the best possible care. Family caregivers also commonly organize medical information and records to make sure they are easily available should the senior change doctors or need to go to the hospital.
Older adults often have trouble keeping their house clean because of weakness or disability. Family caregivers commonly step in to handle weekly house cleaning chores, like vacuuming, washing floors, and cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. You may also need to assist them with doing laundry. When things break, you may need to fix them or hire a professional to do the work.
Seniors who can no longer drive still need to be able to get their groceries, go to the post office, and pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy. Family caregivers may find themselves running those errands after work or on the weekends.
Personal Care Assistance
Depending on your aging relative’s condition, they may be unable to do some of the things they need to keep themselves clean and well groomed. Family caregivers may need to help the older adult to bathe, use the toilet, get dressed, brush their teeth, shave, and other personal care tasks.
Having a serious medical condition or a disability isn’t easy, and seniors have feelings just like everyone else. Sometimes they just need someone to listen to their concerns and fears. They also need someone they know they can rely on for help. Family caregivers often take on that role, too.