As a caregiver, there are many things to consider on a daily basis. And if you are just starting out, it can be overwhelming to develop a new daily routine while making sure your loved one gets the care and attention they need. Our elderly caregiver resources are designed to help get you on track and give you the information and support you need.
Whether your loved one is being discharged from the hospital or transitioning to a new housing arrangement, it is essential to determine how to safely address the needs of the senior in your life while also taking into account the dynamics of your family and, if applicable, your work schedule. Generally speaking, your loved one will have basic needs such as housekeeping, transportation, food preparation, and companionship. They may also have more complicated needs, including help with their medication. In this case, you should discuss a plan with their primary care physician of sorting and distributing your loved one’s medication. Your loved one’s PCP will also be a great senior caregiving informational resource.
We recommend first assessing every single need that your loved one may have and estimating how much time a week these needs require. Next, consider your own schedule – how much time do you require for yourself? Don’t forget to include downtime, too, as caregiver burnout is a serious issue. Finally, try to create a schedule that fits both your loved one’s and your own needs. If you have other loved ones who can help out as well, be sure to include them and see what tasks they can handle. Remember, you don’t have to do everything alone. And If they are still able to make decisions about their care, include your loved one in these discussions. For a more in-depth, step-by-step guide, checkout our Creating a Senior Caregiver Plan Checklist below.
Still have questions about how to get started? A geriatric care manager can be a great resource for caregivers of the elderly. A care manager can help you in assessing the most pertinent needs of your loved one and prioritize accordingly.
It’s also important to take any variables in mind when creating a senior caregiving schedule. You may always work Monday-Friday, but what about when you go on vacation? Or what if an emergency comes up and you can’t be at your loved one’s place? Your loved one’s situation may also change.
Be aware that overtime needs may change because of health and financial requirements, changes in your personal life and living arrangements, introduction of monitoring tools and coordination with medical providers and other outside care providers. But developing a caregiving plan and installing the proper supports can ensure that any disruptions are minimal.
Creating a Senior Caregiver Plan Checklist
The following step-by-step senior caregiving checklist may be helpful to you when planning how to best meet the needs of the senor in your life. Remember each situation is unique and some points may not apply. Consider this as a basic resource for an elderly caregiver who is looking to get started.
1. Assess type of living arrangement needed.
Will the senior continue to live in their home or downsize and move to a one floor apartment, senor community, long-term care facility, or assisted living center? If your elderly loved one will stay in their own home or move into a family member’s, modifications may be needed to help keep them safe. For example, a shower rail may need to be installed in the bathtub. Go through your loved one’s home and consider every possible situation they may encounter, and consider what home updates would be necessary. A geriatric care manager can be very helpful in identifying what changes should be made and can recommend trusted products and companies who can help put the changes in place.
2. Identify health needs and forms of assistance needed.
This may include the use of alarms and monitors to alert to falls and wandering, special phones that are used for hearing impaired that amplify sound, enlarged print or audio books for those suffering with macular degeneration or glaucoma, and automated delivery services for food and prescriptions.
3. Determine financial needs and available funds.
If a power of attorney has not been established, decide who will take on the responsibility. A financial advisor experienced in dealing with eldercare can help provide advice on how to manage the senior’s money.
4. Research outside services.
Outside services could enhance care and socialization, and reduce dependence on the caregiver. Consider the use of home care agencies and food delivery services to help manage care needs. If the senior is still able to remain active, a medical adult day center can offer activities and social interaction that keeps them engaged. Transportation services for seniors are available and can help get the senior to the day center. A volunteer service may be able to provide friendly visitors for those unable to leave the house safely.
5. Explore technology.
Technology can be a big help to both caregivers and seniors and can offer plenty of great senior care resources. For seniors, it can help enhance socialization, health monitoring, and contact with family, friends and health care providers. Some possible suggestions are a pre-programmed phone with all important numbers, use of Skype so the senior can have contact with others, and use of cognitive applications on laptops or iPad to aid in memory retention and for enjoyment. There are also many apps that help seniors remember to take their medication and help monitor vital signs. Technology can help caregivers too. There are websites, such as Lotsa Helping Hands (lotsahelpinghands.com), which help caregivers coordinate care among each other.
6. Consider respite services.
It is always important to identify ways to reduce the dependence on the caregiver. Some recommendations involve scheduling family members or friends to visit senior and bring food or other needed items. If this is not possible, reach out to local volunteer groups, churches and synagogues that may have volunteers available to visit with a housebound senior or aid with transportation. Home Care services can also provide assistance with respite needs.
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If you are a caregiver looking for more information on available geriatric care resources, please call Abramson care managers at 215-371-3400.
A senior care professional is available to help, free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.