Often, when people hear the word “caregiver,” they think of someone who is going to come in and take charge, run the household, and make them feel like a guest in their own home. In reality, a caregiver can not only help an elderly client to age in place but may very well just become a trusted friend as well.
What a caregiver does not do
First, a caregiver’s role is not to take over your life. Caregivers are not in charge — the client is. They do not handle your money or balance your checkbook. They will not make healthcare decisions for you, nor are they going to spring clean your house. Tasks that the caregiver will do are agreed upon ahead of time by you, your family, and the caregiver. This will ensure that your wishes are being met and the boundaries are clearly outlined. You can learn about some common misconceptions regarding in-home caregiving here.
Responsibilities of a caregiver
Although a caregiver will not run every aspect of your life, she can make your days run easier and more smoothly. A caregiver is first of all a caring and compassionate companion. She will assist with meal planning and food preparation, to ensure that you are getting an appropriate and nutritious diet. She can offer assistance with dressing and grooming, and even bathing or using the bathroom, if you need help in those areas. Medication reminders, light housekeeping, and help with transportation and errands are part of the duties of a caregiver as well. If a family member is unable to attend a medical appointment with you, your caregiver can help maintain your medical notebook, so that everyone is kept up-to-date and nothing is forgotten.
Caregivers are part of your team
You have a group of people who are on your side to do the best for your well-being. That team can be made up of you, family members, trusted friends, your doctors and, of course, your caregiver. This team works to coordinate your care and keep a clear line of communication open so that everyone involved is current and up to date on what’s happening from day to day.
A caregiver is also a great problem solver and able to offer suggestions that will make things easier for you. For example, a caregiver can help you navigate the day-to-day tasks, even as they become more difficult for you to perform.
A caregiver is a friend
Aside from all of these things, a caregiver is likely to become a friend. You’ll spend time talking about your life, your family and friends, and the things that bring you joy. You might share a favorite card game or do activities together.
Most importantly, your caregiver genuinely cares about your well-being and will do everything possible to help you enjoy your day. A good caregiver wants only the best for you and will come to see you as a beloved friend.