When you become a caretaker for a senior, whether you’re a family member or a traveling care professional, you should be prepared to take on some seriously challenging tasks. Indeed, keeping someone safe takes a serious amount of physical and mental strength. As such, if you’re thinking about becoming a caretaker personally for family or professionally as a career you should be aware of the most common tasks and how to navigate. These are the best senior care strategies for in-home caretakers.
Preparing a senior’s meals is a common task you should expect to do every time you go over to take care of your charge. Food and nutrition are both extremely important, so it’s important to be able to cook tasty and timely meals.
One way to make this job easier is to create a meal plan. Find out what your senior likes and doesn’t like to eat, and also be sure to take note of any food allergies they may have. On top of that, make sure to take into account any nutritional recommendations they may have gotten from their doctor. For example this could mean adding prune juice to their routine if they struggle with digestion, or iron-rich foods like red meat and beans if they are anemic. By establishing a baseline of tastes and nutritional needs you can plan ahead of time what you need to buy and make.
Assisting a senior with bathing, dressing, and grooming are no doubt among the most challenging caretaker responsibilities. Both physically and mentally demanding, assisting folks with personal matters such as these takes a business-as-usual mindset as well as the awareness that these sorts of jobs may make your senior feel poorly or awkward.
The good news is you can get through it by simply being respectful of your senior. Remember that, if they’re aware of where they are and what’s going on, they may be embarrassed that they need help in these sensitive areas.
By respecting their privacy, not touching them unless it’s necessary, and encouraging them through the process with positive language, both you and your senior will feel more comfortable in working through these personal, but important daily activities.
Chances are that if you’re serving as a caretaker for a senior they have certain, special medical needs. Seeing to a senior’s medical needs may include reminding them to take their medication, picking up their prescriptions, and even taking them to their doctor’s office.
A great strategy to help you keep track of your senior’s medical needs – e.g., what prescriptions they took and when, when their next doctor appointment is, etc. – is to keep a medical diary.
In a notebook or in a document on your phone, write down everything you do and when, as well as what you observe in your senior’s behavior and at doctor appointments. That way, if a family member or a doctor asks, you have that information at your fingertips.
Failure to stay on top of important medical needs can be critical. Be vigilant, be proactive, and always keep a medical professional on speed dial should things take a turn for the worse.
Housekeeping & Basic Chores
Housekeeping is an essential part of being a caretaker for a senior. As people get older, they reach the point where they’re no longer able to do certain household chores. Common cleanly tasks like sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming may prove too strenuous. Even more, for some seniors, even simple chores such as washing dishes and dusting easy-to-reach places can be too taxing.
Going into your position as caretaker, you should be aware that you may need to do some housekeeping. Remember your goal is to make the home more comfortable for your senior, and no one is comfortable in a place that’s dirty and cluttered.
One strategy you can use to lighten the burden of housekeeping duties is to spread them throughout your visits. For example, choose one day to sweep and mop and another day to clean the bathroom. Though tasks may seem trivial or minimal, consistency in cleanliness can generate a momentum that can keep the place clean and also build momentum toward completing other important tasks.
Preparing meals, assisting with hygiene, managing medical needs, and basic housekeeping are four of the most common and important tasks for senior caretakers. Understanding that patience, attention to detail, and consistency are key, you’ll be able to handle common senior caretaker tasks with as little frustration and difficulty as possible.
If, however, you still have doubts, you can always ask for advice from the experts at Senior Check-In. We provide professional, high-quality in-home senior care in Indianapolis.
Whether it’s tips you’re looking for, or a full-fledged caretaker, schedule a consultation with Senior Check-In here and have all your questions about taking care of your senior answered.
14074 Trade Center Dr, STE 147
Fishers, IN 46038