National Family Caregivers Month: A Reason to Celebrate

November is the appropriate month to celebrate our caregivers with National Family Caregivers Month.

Caregiving is a calling and it takes an abundance of love, passion and inner strength to care for someone who needs assistance.  We are grateful to all of our caregivers who have the patience and skill to care for those in need especially, our elderly.

Caregivers have so many roles when caring for an elderly patient.  According to, there are 11 duties and responsibilities we should all know about.

  1. Home Care Management and Planning - It can be very difficult to gauge the time, commitment and budget when preparing for the caregiving process. There will be many challenges along the way, but taking the time to talk with family, medical professionals and pharmacists in advance will prevent some of the headaches. By bringing the whole team together and delegating responsibilities, it often times makes the care process easier.  Preparation is the key to success!

  2. Medical Advocacy - Bringing a physician into the mix to oversee the care is crucial. Although it is important that the caregiver, family members and others have a role ensuring medications are taken properly, it is important to stay on top of any administrative or potential health challenges that may occur.

  3. Prescription Drug Management - Some senior citizens take up to a dozen medications, so medication management is crucial. Not only does a caregiver need to make sure they administer medications according to physicians orders, but the caregiver must keep track and prevent any theft, especially those that are controlled.

  4. Help With Personal Hygiene and Care - When an elderly loved one begins having trouble with the basics of bathing and dressing, it takes a caregiver who is kind, patient and nurturing to do the necessary job. It should be someone who has a good track record for caring for others.

  5. Assisting With Nutrition - Nutrition needs to be monitored closely. As people age, their appetite changes, so as appetites shrink, it requires more strategic meal planning to ensure the proper diet.  Caregivers who are responsible for meal planning should work alongside a nutritionist to ensure a healthy diet and that it does not impact medications.

  6. Mobility Assistance - Whether it is assistance walking from one room to another or from a wheelchair to the toilet, the caregiver needs to ensure safe movements. Proper lifting techniques are vital to prevent injury to the caregiver or the senior loved one. Caregiving takes a toll on the body physically and mentally.
  7. Home Maintenance and Housekeeping - The basic duties from changing light bulbs, plunging toilets to washing dishes are required to prevent unnecessary maintenance expenses.

  8. Transportation - A caregiver can help provide social connections if they can assist with driving to the doctor, dentist, church or other social events. Getting out in the community helps promote a healthy quality of life.

  9. Keeping Them Company - Whether it is watching television, playing cards or games together, a caring caregiver helps prevent illness and provides an additional purpose to live.

  10. Financial Accountability - These tasks can be as simple as mailing a utility payment or preparing taxes. Any caregiver who comes in contact with bank accounts, records, or debit cards should require background checks.

  11. Reporting and Monitoring - All caregivers must be willing to document what happens during their shift, as well as to make recommendations for additional care. Caregivers should be prepared to look for red flags whether it is for health reasons, mental condition or mood.  If something appears alarming, the caregiver should speak up immediately.

For me, I was fortunate to be able to provide care for my dad over the last 18 months of his life.  To manage the role of a caregiver while maintaining my paying job and keeping my family together, was a stressful time, but I would not trade those precious moments with my dad for anything.  Even though it has been three years since his death, I can always reflect on the wonderful time together and the memorable conversations we had.  If you want to be a paid or a volunteer caregiver, it is a path that I would highly recommend to anyone.  Be prepared for significant challenges, but knowing you are making a tremendous difference in someone's life, it will be worth every second.


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