Many people will find themselves filling caregiver roles for their loved ones at some point in their lives. Whether you become a caregiver gradually or unexpectedly, you might find that you have become the primary caregiver of your loved one. The professionals at Elder Care Direction are here to help you to understand your role as a caregiver as well as some of the resources that might be available to you.
What is a primary caregiver?
A primary caregiver is a person who has the duty of caring for a loved one who is unable to care for himself or herself. As a primary caregiver, you may be caring for an elder, children, a spouse who has a terminal condition, or any other family member or friend who needs help with daily activities.
You are not required to be a professional in order to be a primary caregiver. In many cases, adult children find themselves acting as their aging parents’ primary caregivers. Professional caregivers are people who are paid to provide care to others in homes or in care settings. These people are not the primary caregivers in most cases. However, in some situations, professional caregivers will also be primary caregivers.
What are the responsibilities of a primary caregiver?
Primary caregivers have many different duties. Being a primary caregiver can involve so much work that some people hire others to help. A primary caregiver may have to help with personal care, including bathing, toileting, grooming, exercising, and other tasks.
Primary caretakers might also help with shopping and preparing meals. They might assist with running errands, including taking mail to the post office or picking up medications from the pharmacy. They might also transport their charges to and from their medical appointments.
Primary caregivers often help their loved ones by making certain that they are keeping their appointments and taking all of their medications as prescribed. They may provide emotional support for their loved ones and help with mobility issues. Primary caregivers may also monitor the health of their loved ones and might report changes to their loved ones’ healthcare providers.
Primary caregivers might also have to manage the finances of their loved ones, which can be highly stressful. The duties of an individual primary caregiver may depend on the health condition and abilities of the person for whom the care is being provided. For example, taking care of someone who has Alzheimer’s may require additional skills.
What are the common challenges that primary caregivers face?
Acting as a primary caregiver can be difficult for anyone. It can cause multiple challenges for people who serve in that role. Many caregivers pay so much attention to their loved one that they pay little attention to their own health. They might develop physical symptoms caused by self-neglect or psychological problems such as depression or anxiety. When you are tasked with taking care of someone else, it can be highly stressful. You might have to juggle many different tasks for your loved one while you forget to take care of yourself. This can lead you to feel burned out.
When you are a primary caregiver, it can cause some financial strain. You might have to cut back on the number of hours that you work to care for your loved one. When your loved one has high out-of-pocket costs, it can add to the costs of being a primary caregiver.
You will have to devote a substantial amount of time providing care. You may not feel as if you have enough time for yourself. You may turn away your friends and refuse to socialize out of a sense of guilt. You may feel lonely and become isolated. You might also turn down educational and career opportunities in order to focus on caring for your loved one.
There are things that you can do to reduce some of the burdens associated with being a primary caregiver. You should not be afraid to ask someone else for help. Talk about your feelings with your loved one, and remember that you are a team. There are also many systems available to help caregivers. You can ask your loved one’s doctor for some recommendations.
The benefits of serving as a primary caregiver
There are several benefits of serving as a primary caregiver instead of using an outside caregiver, including the following:
- Serving as a primary caregiver can be more cost-effective than hiring someone from outside;
- The cared-for person can remain in his or her own home;
- Being a caregiver can be fulfilling; and
- Your work will be highly appreciated.
Talk to Elder Care Direction today
If you are taking care of your elderly loved one, it is important that you remember to take care of yourself. At Elder Care Direction, we can guide you to some resources that might be able to help you. Contact us today by filling out our online contact form.