Aging is a part of life. However, it’s difficult to watch loved ones age as they transition from being our caregivers to needing care. As a loving adult child, you may want to explore the role of family caregiver. If you do wish to take on the role of family caregiver, you should know exactly what it entails.
Becoming a Family Caregiver
First of all, you’re wonderful for taking on this role. Your parents cared for you and now you will do the same for them. However, you are not a superhero. You need to know that you probably can’t do everything alone, especially if your elderly loved one requires a high level of care. If a parent has Alzheimer’s Disease, which is progressive (i.e. grows worse over time), you may well need some support in order to ensure that your aging parent is cared for and that you also have time for rest, family, career, hobbies, and relationships. Any illness whereby a parent requires a high level of care will be a challenge and there are available services provided by experts, such as in-home care, which will make it all easier for you.
Understanding Caregiver Duties
Caregiver duties vary. However, you may expect to wear many hats. For example, you may need to prepare and serve meals to your parent or parents and you may also need to take care of housework, finances (if you have power of attorney) and yard work. You may need to help your parent get dressed, go to the bathroom, or bathe. You may need to help with medical care, such as making sure your parent takes medication as directed. As well, you may need to help your aging parents get from place to place, such as doctor’s appointments or running errands. How often your parents go out into the world depends on their physical and mental health. Their level of care may vary from a visit once or twice per week all the way to round-the-clock care in accordance with their need.
Being a companion and providing love to aging parents is often a full-time job. It’s a labour of love, but it can be exhausting. The key to making it less tiring and draining is augmenting your own caregiving with that of an in-home caregiver. An in-home caregiver can offer companionship, perform light housekeeping duties, and all the way to providing medication administration and medical support to ease the burden on the family and help avoid caregiver burnout.
Choosing to become a family caregiver is your choice and your choice alone. The extent to which you are involved can vary greatly. If you feel that being a caregiver is not right for you or you try to do it all alone and feel overwhelmed, there is support out there. To learn more about in-home care, Alzheimer’s care, or dementia care, call Qualicare Family Homecare at 613.366.2899.