At Eldercare Services we are often asked, “What do caregivers do?”
Caregivers, otherwise known as personal attendants, can do many things to help seniors and others with disabilities live more independently. Probably the most important roles of a well matched caregiver is to offer meaningful companionship.
Caregivers typically choose their field of work because they find helping others as meaningful and fulfilling work. Because of this, the relationships they build with the clients they care for are genuine. Therefore, a strong bond is created for both themselves and their clients. For someone who needs assistance to live independently, the relationship is typically listed as most important.
In addition to providing companionship, caregivers can:
- Monitor the safety of a client
- Reduce risk of falls and other accidents
- Help protect the client from scams
- Alert family members to changes in the condition of a client
- Alert family members regarding status changes of a client’s home
- Help a client engage in meaningful enrichment activities they would otherwise be unable to do
- Plan meals for a client
- Help with grocery shopping
- Assist with preparing nutritious home-cooked meals
- Aid with light housekeeping
- Help with laundry
- Assist with pet care
- Take clients for outings
- Assist a client with errands
- Help keep the home organized
- Assist with dressing
- Help with bathing
- Assist with oral care
- Help with personal hygiene
- Assist with daily structure, which helps those with memory impairment feel secure
- Remind a client to take medications as scheduled
- Aid transfers from wheelchairs to toilets, cars, furniture, etc.
However, there are some duties that are not appropriate for caregivers. Caregivers cannot:
- Inject medications, or insert medications directly into mouth of a client
- Spend more than 20% of their time doing housekeeping
- Give medical advice
The majority of what most clients need can be provided by a caregiver. Duties that go beyond the capacity of a caregiver can be provided by a home health aide. The quality relationship built over time between a caregiver and a client is invaluable. Consequently, for someone struggling to live more independently, life can remain rich and fulfilling with a good companion.