Providing care for a loved one can be extremely rewarding. However, it also comes with plenty of challenges along the way. According to a study by AARP, roughly 33% of caregivers provide care for more than 21 hours each week, while 21% of caregivers do the same for more than 41 hours per week. As you can see, being a primary caregiver is like having a full-time job sometimes with the amount of time you spend caring for a loved one. Finding a balance with your personal life is critical to mix with these everyday responsibilities as a caregiver.
The aging population doesn’t always have the physical ability to perform regular housekeeping duties. Simple tasks like taking out the trash, washing dishes, vacuuming, doing laundry or anything else may be difficult or dangerous for them to do. You may be able to hire someone to do outside work to save you time and keep the yard maintained, but you can also develop a schedule for when you perform certain tasks to keep a routine.
Understanding Medical Needs
One of the most important responsibilities of a primary caregiver is understanding your loved one’s medical needs. Know their medication schedule, what ailments they are dealing with, when their medication is getting low and more. It could even be valuable to go with them to their medical visits so you can listen to the doctor and ask questions as needed. Help them out by creating a schedule with reminders on when to take certain medication so it doesn’t get missed.
Meal Planning And Preparation
A fun part of caring for a loved one can be planning and preparing meals. Some caregivers like to cook so much that they do it every night. Others will take one day to cook meals that will last a week or longer. It’s nice to have a prepared meal ready to go in the refrigerator or freezer when time is short or you’re too exhausted to cook. Just remember your loved one relies on you for proper nutrition, so be sure to offer meals for a balanced diet.
Using public transportation may not be a great option for a senior with limited mobility and who can’t drive a vehicle on their own. You may have to either arrange for other forms of transportation or be the person who takes them where they need to go. Investing in an auto lift to carry their wheelchair or scooter can make this task much easier for you and safer for them.
Help With Emotional Needs
Both you and your loved one have emotional needs that need to be addressed. For a primary caregiver, this may mean taking frequent walks to clear your mind or talking to a friend on the phone regularly. For an elderly person, this could mean simply talking to them about their childhood, playing games, talking about their family or anything else that makes them happy. Being strong emotionally can be difficult when you are limited in the things you can do, so don’t ignore the emotional aspect of being a primary caregiver.
Next Day Access can help make caring for a loved one at home easier. We offer free home assessments and provide suggestions and solutions for common household accessibility problems, so contact us today to speak with a representative.