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Becoming a Caretaker for a Senior- What to Expect

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Becoming a caretaker for a senior who has been independent can be a difficult and emotional undertaking.  The more independent the senior is the more they may resist assistance. 

Many times becoming a caretaker does not happen overnight.  Usually it is a gradual process.  Becoming a caretaker starts by assisting the senior with small tasks that increase over time as the senior has more difficulty managing their daily life.  Whether this starts with help doing household chores, taking a senior to appointments, or doing their grocery shopping.

Hiring Home Care Help

Each additional task takes more and more of the caretaker's time and time away from their own families and responsibilities.  Some seniors remain relatively independent for all their elderly years require assistance with tasks that are dangerous or too physically demanding such as yard work, snow removal or other outdoor tasks.  Other seniors may have increasing with more daily activities such as climbing stairs or getting in and out of the bathtub.  Some of these activities can be made easier with modifications to a senior’s home like moving appliances and even bed rooms to the main floor of the home so the senior does not need to climb the stairs multiple times a day or having their bathroom fitted with a walk-in shower with safety bars and a seat.

Many family caretakers may not realize that hiring help to do yard work or modifying a senior’s home for safety can be coordinated through a home care agency.  Many home care agencies can provide referrals for companies that other senior’s in their care have worked with and also help seniors with limited money apply for grants that help pay for home safety modifications. 

It is important to take the time to understand what ailments a loved one has and what type of care they will need in the future.  Committing to being a caretaker can be a rewarding experience for a family member, but it can also become overwhelming when a senior’s needs exceed what the caretaker is capable or willing to do.  Speaking with the senior’s doctors can give a caretaker a better picture of the demands that will be put on them and allow the caretaker to develop a plan to meet the senior’s needs ahead of time.