Caregivers: Who Are They?
Simply put, a caregiver is someone whose job is to care for an elderly person. Generally, caregivers are more able-bodied members of the elder’s family, but they can also be unrelated close friends as well. In addition to family and friends, there are also professional caregivers too. If you’re interested in a professional caregiver, you can look online to find reputable caregivers in your area, if you’re not familiar with a service nearby. If you are thinking of working with elderly individuals as a profession, please note that the requirements vary by state. You can find these requirements by visiting the following website: http://www.caregiverlist.com/Caregiver-Training-Requirements-By-State.aspx
So what do caregivers actually do? They can have many responsibilities, ranging from cooking and cleaning to other household chores, or they may simply sit and provide company to a lonely or socially isolated family member or friend. Oftentimes, a caregiver may substitute in for another family member caregiver in order to give them a well-deserved and much-needed break. An added benefit to this is that it provides someone different for the dependent senior to talk to.
Depending on the severity of the need, caregivers may be needed for the long or short-term. However, if the need is really great, you may consider a nursing home or other assisted living facility, especially if your loved one requires extensive care over a longer period of time.
It is also important to note that the act of being a caregiver is, in fact, a job, and it can require many long days or nights, with little time for one’s self. It is a position that may provide very little in the way of thanks or appreciation—at least from the point of the elder. But it is one that, if handled properly, can provide a great sense of purpose and fulfillment in one’s life because you are making a difference.
Importantly, you should know that the position of caregiver also comes with a high risk of burnout, depending on the needs of the individual in their care. Because of this, it is imperative to know when to step away and perhaps ask another family member or friend to take over for you for a little while. After all, if you’re going to be a caregiver, you must first know when and how to take care of yourself. Remember, if you do not first care for yourself, you cannot be at your best for everyone else.
However, as stated above, if caregivers know when they’re reaching their limits, and deal with those situations accordingly, then providing care for an elderly friend or loved one can bring a great sense of satisfaction. It can be especially rewarding knowing that you are able to provide care for someone who, perhaps, once cared for you in much the same way.