I have utmost respect for family members who take on the responsibility of being a caregiver for a loved one who is physically limited and/or mentally incapacitated. It is often a thankless job. In some cases it is a plausible option for not putting the individual in a nursing home. Things that they do on a regular basis may include the following.
Hygiene and toileting needs – The person being taken care of may need assistance with their toileting needs. This could include taking them to the bathroom and changing their diapers. It can also include helping with their showering and bathing needs. It might entail cleaning their teeth or dentures too.
Clean environment – When caring for an individual the room in which they spend a good majority of their time should be kept as germ-free as possible to decrease the chance of compromising their already weakened immune system. That means cleaning the sheets and blankets on a regular basis, along with dusting and mopping. It also helps to have a subtle fragrance that helps them to relax and keeps the room smelling fresh.
Food – No matter what state of health the individual is in, they have to eat or be fed with nutritional meals. This might mean cutting their foods in bite-size pieces where it is more easily digestible. If they have a problem chewing or don’t have teeth, it may have to be pureed for them.
Cosmetics – Some individuals like the idea of wearing makeup and having their hair cut and shampooed on a regular basis. Even though they may have health issues they have a sense of pride in their appearance. If you can’t do it, then it means that you have to take them out to get it done or pay someone who will come to you.
Medical appointments – There is often the need of taking them to their medical appointments. This would include physical exams and dental upkeep. If you utilize services for veterans there is often long wait times that are common.
Financial matters – There may be the necessity of taking care of their bills and other financial matters that concern them. Consult a lawyer for any questions that you may have.
Social gatherings – Whether it’s a special event such as a family reunion or a senior outing, getting them prepared takes a lot of extra work and effort on the part of the caregiver.
If you are a caretaker thanks for all you do. While you may never be recognized for what you do, I am sure that your care and compassion are most appreciated by your loved one. And if you know of someone who is a caregiver in your family, let them know what a good job they are doing. Give them a much-needed break and offer to stay with the loved one so they can have a sense of normalcy.