Nearly eight million Canadians provide unpaid care to family members, according to Statistics Canada. If this is a role you’re getting ready to assume for an elderly loved one, it will help to be as prepared as possible. Today, we’re going to focus on six little-known but still crucial caregiver duties.
1. Creating & Adjusting a Care PlanSome family caregivers start off providing a lower level of assistance and gradually doing more when it’s necessary. However, you’ll be a more effective caregiver if you have a basic care plan in place first, which typically includes:
- An assessment of your parent’s current abilities and limitations
- Accommodations for your loved one’s existing physical and/or mental issues
- A prioritized list of your care-related responsibilities Your loved one’s doctor should be able to help you put together an appropriate care plan. This step is important because it will give you some basic guidelines to follow as you provide care.
2. Managing Chronic ConditionsThe Health Council of Canada estimates about a third of Canadians have at least one chronic health issue. Such conditions are more likely to affect adults 65 and older. If this applies to your loved one, the type of care he or she needs may involve paying attention to eating and exercise habits and keeping track of routine medical appointments. It’s important to do this because unmanaged chronic conditions can contribute to an assortment of health problems that could affect quality of life. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Winnipeg live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life.
3. Assisting with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)Memory and mobility issues may develop later or eventually require more of a focus on activities of daily living. Older adults may not come right out and say they need help with ADLs, which typically include eating, bathing, grooming, and toileting. Therefore, you’ll need to pay attention to signs suggesting this type of care is needed to minimize the possible impact on your loved one’s mental and physical health. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to assisted living facilities. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading home care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.
4. Mitigating RisksAs a caregiver, you’ll need to be as proactive as possible. For instance, falls are a leading cause of injuries for older adults. Mitigating this risk typically involves looking for potential fall hazards, such as loose rugs and clutter in the home. Mitigation may also extend to recommending appropriate home modifications and noting unusual changes in behavior or physical capabilities. The goal of proactive care is to prevent injuries and ensure potential issues are addressed sooner rather than later.
5. Discussing Future Care PreferencesAnother little-known aspect of caregiving involves discussing future care preferences with your loved one. It’s important to understand your loved one’s wishes regarding dementia or later-life care, end-of-life or emergency assistance, and financial matters at a time when he or she can make sound decisions about such things.
6. Providing CompanionshipFeelings of loneliness can lead to depression and other potentially serious health consequences for older adults. It’s easy to get so focused on physical care that companionship isn’t given enough attention. Companionship is an aspect of care that can be rewarding for both you and your loved one. It often involves:
- Discussing daily concerns or feelings
- Engaging in fun and mentally stimulating activities together
- Recalling fond memories while sharing stories or doing daily tasks