Tag Archives: in home caregivers

Home Care for Seniors – A Caregiver’s To-Do List

When you’re a caregiver, you have to expect the unexpected, especially when you’re taking care of an elderly patient. There are more than 50 million caregivers providing home care for the weak and elderly during any given year. To make things more hectic, only 25% of all U.S households are involved in care giving, therefore, if you’re a caregiver taking care of an elderly patient at home, you should be proud of yourself. Because of the popularity of care giving, men have started filling in for a chance to be in the care-giving career. However, women dominate as of the moment, probably because of their nurturing nature.

If you think of home care giving as an easy job, then you may want to consider the following facts:

  • Home caregivers who are expected to provide 36 or more hours of weekly care for the ageing patients are more likely to experience anxiety or depression than caregivers who work inside a senior care facility or hospital. The rate becomes six times higher for caregivers who are actually taking care of their ageing parents.

 

  • Home caregivers constantly lack sleep. Since they’re always making sure that the elderly patient has everything he or she needs, there’s 51% chance of not getting a proper sleep and a 41% chance of getting back pains.

 

  • Caring for an elderly patient is stressful enough to cause a big impact on a person’s immune system for up to 3 years. It’s no wonder, since you have to make sure that everything is ready for your patient, from the adult diapers to making sure that the IV’s port protector has been changed to a new one.

Well, now that you know the happy facts of being a home caregiver, would you still care to try such a gargantuan task? If your answers is still a “YES”, then that’s great. We caregivers do have a to-do list in order to make things life a little less harsh when caring for an elderly patient at home.

1. Always remember to take care of yourself. This is the most basic to-do list that we caregivers usually adhere to. No, it’s not selfish and it’s an absolute must. I’ve been a caregiver for years and there’s really no sense of caring for an ageing patient if you can’t even take care of yourself. Care-giving is a stressful job, where the combination of loss and obligation demands can really take its toll on your physical and mental well-being, so taking care of yourself is also a high priority.

2. Remember to reward yourself. Despite the stressful environment, taking care of an elderly patient at home pays really well, so perhaps having a nice dinner with a friend or loved one can help ease the stress for a day.

3. Have some personal time. Do something you enjoy as a hobby or perhaps you might want to do your personal chores. Taking care of an elderly patient does not need to hinder your own personal time. Besides, it helps calm down your nerves, therefore fighting depression and anxiety.

4. When things don’t go the way you planned, get help. Even for an experienced caregiver, I still ask advice from some of my older caregiver friends. Help can also come from community resources, family friends and professionals too. The friends and family of the elderly patient can provide invaluable help, especially if the patient seems too grouchy towards a new home caregiver. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, especially when you need it.

5. Last but not the least, protect your health. How can you take care of your patient if you keep getting sick? Give yourself time to exercise, eat well and for your personal grooming too. Limit your coffee intake and get lots of rest. You owe your body that much, since you can’t do your job if you’re not healthy!

About the Author:

Jessica Greenberg is a caregiver and avid blogger from San Diego, California. When she’s taking her well-deserved rest, she usually hangs out with her friends and is constantly updating Wordbaristas.com, a blog that she keeps with her group.

A Day in the Life of In Home Caregivers

Home care is a broad term which entails different kinds of services that depend primarily on the specific needs of patients. For in home caregivers, a typical work week means at least five days with their patient. This set up fosters familiarity and consistency, while ensuring comfort and convenience for both parties. A typical day for most in home caregivers involves dealing with the patient’s physical, emotional and mental needs. Most of these skilled professionals are affiliated with senior care companies that provide various patient assignments.

Morning Routine

The day starts with assisting the patient to get off the bed and take a bath. Depending on the patient’s strength and mobility, this could be a hot shower or simply a sponge bath. Frail patients are usually given a chair with the caregiver providing just the appropriate level of assistance. The goal is to help the patient maintain as much independence as possible.

The caregiver then prepares breakfast based on the physician’s dietary recommendations. The patient’s food intake may have to be documented to make sure that his/her nutritional needs are met. In most cases, the caregiver is tasked to prepare and serve two warm meals and then have a pre-cooked meal which the patient can warm up in the microwave or oven for dinner.

Regular Exercise and Social Activities

Encouraging the patient to venture out of the house and perform some light exercises is an integral part of any elder care routine. Getting out into the sun and having some fresh air can be invigorating and keeps most patients up and about for the rest of the day. Then again, this depends on the mobility and physical capacity of the patient. Some can have a stroll in the park, but for those who are immobile, the caregiver needs to use a wheelchair and push it for the walk.

All in home caregivers will find that each job is different because patients’ needs are varied and diverse. In general, caregivers need to assist their patients so they get time to enjoy some physical and social activities. In addition, the caregiver may be assigned to run errands such as short trips to the grocery store or to the local pharmacy to purchase medications and other supplies.

Activities in the Evening

If the caregiver won’t stay overnight, the patient needs to be prepared late in the afternoon. Such preparation includes dinner, beddings, medications, etc. The idea is to ensure that the patient will be comfortable and safe once the caregiver leaves at the end of the day. Most patients appreciate conversations with their caregiver. This serves as a mental exercise and is of particular importance among patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

A typical day in the life of an in home caregiver involves a lot of hard work and dedication. The job may be physically and emotionally taxing but most practitioners are rewarded by the feeling of satisfaction and fulfilment that comes with caring for another individual.

 

About the Author:

Jason Castillo is a licensed physical therapist who shares a passion for caring for the elderly. He has taught Geriatrics in a major university and a number of caregiver schools, with the objective of fostering quality and passionate care for seniors. This is his advocacy and wishes to share it with world.