Caregivers are an extremely important part of people’s lives who depend on help for everyday things like eating, bathing, and daily task that we do daily. Caregivers should be compassionate and make the person that needs care feel secure and nurtured. Caregivers cant do these things alone. They need tools and aids to help with the process of caregiving easier and more enjoyable for both the caregiver and the patient.
What makes a good caregiver?
There are traits that make a good caregiver. Because our senior population, those that are 65 years and older is calculated to reach 71.5 million by the year 2030 the need for caregivers in homes is growing more important. Because caregivers can provide many different things for the patient or loved one you should look for a few things.
- Patients: Caregivers should understand patients and understand that as we get older we slow down. Caregivers should allow the patient to move at her or his own pace and not make them felt rushed.
- Positive energy:
What responsibilies could a caregiver have?
As a caregiver, there are responsibilities that are required. They typically are a combination of many different things throughout the day. Here are some of the more common things that a caregiver might be responsible for.
- Pushing wheelchairs
- Help with bathing, personal hygiene, and dressing
- Light housekeeping
- Grocery shopping
- Meal planning and prep
- Medication reminders
- Helping and monitoring someone with mobility issues
- Blood pressure checks and insulin checks
- Companionship and emotional support
Types of Caregivers
Caregivers provide an important job in today’s society. In fact, without caregivers, we would not be able to care for people with disabilities or our senior citizen population. This can also include those with temporary or even permanent disabilities that require help. Most people when they think of a caregiver they may think that there is just one type of caregiver. This is not correct. There are several types of caregivers that help in different areas of life. Let’s take a look at these.
Agency caregivers are Certified Nursing Assistants or for short (CNA) are also called personal care aides. Personal care aides are not required to have certifications. These types of caregivers may perform duties such as cooking, light housekeeping, transport, and other non-medical duties.
Paying agency caregivers
Typically the person that needs the care pays the agencies out of pocket. However, there are others when qualified can use long-term care insurance that will then reimburse part of the cost of the service. Those on Medicaid can also pay for the care from contracted agencies.
Reliable agency caregiver agency should:
- Do a background check
- Do drug screenings
- Keep training ongoing for staff
- Fill replacement if the caregiver doesn’t show or quits
- Have liability insurance
- Investigate complaints
Family caregivers account for millions of unpaid caregivers in the country. There are over 40 million caregivers that help seniors over 65 years of age. These caregivers can include the senior’s child, grandchildren, relatives, friends, and even neighbors.
Unlike other types of caregivers, family caregivers are not bound by regulations from the state that paid caregivers are subjected to. This is a two-edge sword that is both good and bad. The family caregivers can do what the loved one asks but unlike paid caregivers, they may not possess the correct tools and know-how for more in-depth caregiving tasks.
There is also the strain of family caregivers not getting paid for all the time and energy it takes to properly and safely care for a loved one or family member. Family caregivers can perform some of these tasks:
- Dispensing medication
- Insulin injections
- Wound care
- Mobility exercises
- Catheter help
- Bed turning
- Mental and social companionship
Home health caregiver
This type of caregiver is insurance-covered care. Home health caregivers offer both occupational and physical therapy, speech therapy, and nursing duties. The patients that can benefit from this service are anyone who has an illness or injury and needs wants to stay in their home to recover.
You can expect to have a caregiver be in the home up to three times a week. What makes this service different then others is that Medicare typically does not allow the home health caregiver to do tasks like cooking or housekeeping. The main role of the home health caregiver is to help the person get better so they no longer need the caregiver.
Senior living caregivers
Senior living caregivers play an extremely important tool in assisted living facilities that help day-to-day functions for a safe and caring environment. This term covers a lot of different housing situations like 55 years and older communities, memory care facilities, and the like.
Caregivers under this umbrella can do anything from medication giving to personal care. They can help with bathing, hygiene, getting dressed, and helping the person get to point A to point B.
Nursing home caregivers
Within this type of care within the home is 24-hours. Simply because of the nature of the person needing help requires around-the-clock care. These types of caregivers will help with everything that is not nursing-related.
Unlike a lot of other types of caregivers, it is easy for a loved one to not have great treatment simply because of the understaffing that happens within nursing homes. The nursing home caregivers will perform tasks like dressing, bathing, help with eating, and other tasks for the patient.
We suggest you really learn who and how your loved one is geeing treated within a nursing home to make sure they are getting adequate and proper care while in the nursing home.
Independent caregivers are very common and are used for care by families across the United States. The allure for this method of caregiving is simple. It cost less for the caregiver and the caregiver typically makes more independently than if they worked with an agency.
It should be known that there are risks associated with using independent caregivers. They possess the following issues:
- You need to check references extremely carefully.
- You need to do your homework. Run a criminal background and drug test.
- Have a redundancy plan in place if the caregiver does not show up for work. You should have someone that can help on very short notice.
- Have a plan in place for harassment issues. If any of these accusations make it to court you will need the proper liability insurance to cover the cost.
Self-care for family Caregivers
Did you know that one of the most important things you can remember as a family caregiver is to take care of yourself? Being a caregiver can be stressful and take a toll on you mentally and physically. Caregiving burnout is a real thing. Research shows that caregiving spouses that are of the ages of 66 and 96 have emotional and mental strain and because of prolonged stress can shorten your life span.
Regardless of age, many family caregivers report problems in direct response to prolonged caregiving. These can be:
- Failure to exercise
- Poor sleep or sleep deprivation
- Poor eating habits
- Failure to make medical appointments for themselves
- Not resting when sick
- Higher stress
Reducing Personal Stress
Stress is one of the most damaging things you can put on your body. In caregiving stress can be influenced by so many factors and some of the most common factors are:
- The relationship you have the person getting care.
- What was the caregiving situation? Did you have no choice in the care or was it voluntary? If you have no choice it can cause more resentment and stress on you.
- What issues do need to care for? Is the person have simple mobility issues? or do they have much more severe issues like dementia? These will certainly cause more stress both physically and mentally when the care is harder.
- How well do you cope? How will do you handle stressful situations? Some people can deal with stress more easily than others.
Caregiver Help Resources
Below are general help links for caregivers.
The Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging.
National Family Caregiver Support Program
The NFCSP provides grants to territories and states based on the number of people 70 and over to help fund a range of supports that will help to assist family and informal caregivers.
Caregiver Action Network
Family caregiver toolbox, sharing story platform, peer forum, and more.
Family caregiver Alliance
the NCC helps sand works to advance the development of cost-effective and high-quality programs for caregivers in every state.
Next step in care
Proves help to family caregivers and health care provides to implement a safe and safe transition for ill patients.
Caregivers characteristics & situations
Below are statistics from the CDC on caregiving n the United States.
24.4 % of adults aged 45 – 64 years are caregivers.
25.4 % of women are caregivers compared to 18.9% of men.
31.3% 1 in 3 provides 20 or more hours a week of care.
10.4 % provide care to friends or family members.
Health status of caregivers
45 years and older caregivers have some form of health care coverage
Caregivers aged 45 years and older report having a checkup in the past year
Caregiver salaries by state
Caregiving for Family and Friends — A Public Health Issue (cdc.gov)
What Is the Average Caregiver Salary by State in 2021? (ziprecruiter.com)
Resources | The National Alliance for Caregiving