As your parent or loved one begins to age and need additional care, you will find yourself in a new territory. That new territory is the role of a caregiver. It can be tough, rewarding, and everything in between. It is good to know some of the duties you can expect as a caregiver to help your transition into this role easier.
Know all things medical.
You will be required to know your loved one’s level of needed care, and this can revolve around their medical needs. What types of medication do they need daily? Do they have any chronic ailments that their assisted living facility should know about? Visit with their primary care doctor and become the point of communication for any new health developments.
Make sure they stick with a healthy diet.
Most assisted living facilities will have a meal plan setup for their residents. It is important that you know what your parent is and isn’t eating to keep them as healthy as possible. If your loved one is in a retirement community, you might find that they are eating convenient which doesn’t always mean healthy. Keep their diet on track as their caregiver.
Keep tabs on the cleanliness of their living space.
If your loved one needs 24/7 care with daily activities, you likely won’t see this as much of an issue. Hopefully, the care facility they are in handle daily cleaning and making sure things aren’t dirty. However, if your loved one is trying to live independently, you will need to check on the cleanliness of their living space regularly. This can be one of the first indications that a loved one could need a higher level of care.
Be there for your loved one.
This is something a caregiver can often forget when they get comfortable in their new role. They might fall into a more clinical role or even parenting their parent role. You need to make sure that while the medical and living needs of your parent are met, they also need a companion at the end of the day. Be there for them and plan visits that are only focused on social interaction (not checking medication, etc.).
Be their health advocate.
You likely know your parent or loved one better than anybody else. Outside of their daily care provider, you likely have the most regular interactions with your loved one. This gives you unique insight to their developing health and mental needs. You will need to be their advocate if you believe they need a higher level of medical care, pain management, or support in their daily activities.
The role of a caregiver can be a challenging one. Just remember these tips to help make you be the most effective caregiver for your loved one.