Caregivers play one of the most essential roles in ensuring elderly loved ones live fulfilling lives in their golden ages. Their primary responsibility is to take care of seniors who are unable to look after themselves due to frailty, illness, mental issues or disability. That involves attending to their physical needs, managing medication, preparing meals and providing emotional support.
Being in a position to care for an elderly loved one can be a fulfilling and meaningful journey. However, the task can be demanding, and many care providers face a lot of challenges, including both physical and emotional strain. These challenges can significantly impact their ability to provide care – which is why it is essential to take care of yourself as a caregiver.
In this post, we will identify some of the challenges caregivers encounter while caring for others, along with the benefits of opting for a professional caregiver. But first, let’s discuss their roles and responsibilities.
Roles and Responsibilities of Caregivers in the Care for Elderly
Nutrition and Meal Preparation
Nutrition and meal preparation for seniors is one of the most important roles of a care provider. This is a multifaceted responsibility that involves various aspects, including the assessment of senior’s dietary needs, preferences and restrictions.
Beyond meal planning, grocery shopping and the actual preparation, a caregiver has to ensure mealtimes are positive and socially engaging for the seniors. They should be able to provide assistance when necessary and be ready to adapt menus to accommodate any changes to the senior’s dietary needs.
Besides taking care of senior’s dietary requirements, care providers are responsible for household chores. These include various tasks, including tidying rooms, cleaning surfaces and doing laundry.
Basically, this responsibility encompasses every task required to keep the living space clean and organised, promoting a positive atmosphere for both the senior and the care provider.
Care providers are also responsible for aiding seniors with mobility challenges. That involves enabling individuals to move from one place to another and engage in daily activities.
Examples of instances where carers provide mobility assistance include:
- Helping seniors move from a wheelchair to a bed or vice versa
- Support seniors as they take walks to reduce fall risk
Health and Medication Management
Besides providing mobility assistance, care providers are also tasked with overseeing the health and medication needs of the seniors under their care. Their duties range from tracking medication refills and managing pillboxes to communicating any side effects they observe to medical practitioners.
Care providers also schedule and accompany seniors to medical appointments. That contributes to the overall well-being of these older individuals.
Companionship and Emotional Support
Besides the physical help, care providers provide much-needed companionship and emotional support for elderly loved ones. Living with health issues and other challenges that lead to dependence on someone else can take a toll on the senior’s emotional health. Having a companion to talk to and spend quality time with helps alleviate some of the stress.
Although providing care to elderly loved ones can be deeply rewarding, it comes with a set of emotional and physical challenges that care providers struggle to navigate on a daily basis. Caring for others, ensuring their safety and attending to their needs requires a profound commitment that carers struggle to keep up with.
In many cases, they may experience carer burnout, which significantly impacts their ability to provide care. That’s why it is essential to know how to look after yourself as a carer for a senior. But before you learn how to take care of yourself, it is essential to familiarise yourself with some of the challenges you might encounter in caregiving.
Common Challenges Caregivers Encounter
- Time constraints – Caregiving can have an overwhelming demand on your personal time. Most of the responsibilities extend beyond standard work hours; sometimes, you might need to be available for seniors around the clock. This was the most significant challenge I faced while becoming a carer for my mum. From assisting her with daily activities to handling her healthcare needs, each task demanded time and attention. I had to quit my job a few months later because I struggled to find a balance between my professional life and the demanding nature of caregiving.
- Emotional stress – Besides time constraints, caregiving also brings with it a significant emotional toll on the care provider. It can be very stressful to witness your elderly loved one struggle with the mundane activities they could easily perform not long ago – not to forget the emotions tied to their well-being and health decline. That often elicits feelings of frustration, sadness and helplessness, especially since you know there is nothing you can do to alleviate their suffering and bring them back to their old selves.
- Physical strain – In addition to the mental stress, caregiving has physical demands that can be challenging to deliver. This is often the case with carers who provide mobility assistance. For instance, in the case of me becoming a carer for my mum, imagine the physical strain involved in helping her transfer from her chair to the bed and vice-versa. Not only does it require enormous physical strength, but also proper mechanics to reduce the risk of injuring the senior or yourself.
Caregiving embodies resilience and selflessness in the commitment to ensuring elderly loved ones live fulfilling lives in their golden ages. Unfortunately, care providers encounter many challenges that threaten their ability to provide quality care. That is why it is essential to learn how to look after yourself as a carer before you take up caregiving responsibilities. Contact Veritas Care today for more information on caregiving and complete care assessment for your elderly loved one!