Fundamentals of Caregiving

Learning about the fundamentals of caregiving can help you make more effective decisions. The chances are very high that one of your loved ones will develop problems that necessitate elderly home care.

Around 80 percent of elder care is provided by family members.

And if you are a woman, traditionally the chances of you becoming one of the elder caregivers are very high. Like me.

You may, in fact find that you have joined the other couple million in what is known these days as the “sandwich generation” – sandwiched between taking care of two age groups. Elder care, and your own children. And you also may maintain outside employment. Knowing the fundamentals of caregiving can save your sanity and pocketbook.

So the more you learn about caregiving and what it entails, the more prepared you will be.

When we first started talking about Dad moving back here from Arizona, we had to consider the possibilities of different needs he might have and caregiving options available. (At the time, I did not know I would be the one doing the caregiving – good thing I had background and lots of research under my belt!)

Fundamentals of Caregiving – Basics

What exactly is caregiving?
Here is a basic description, especially for elder caregivers: someone offering unpaid assistance either full time or part time. The fundamentals of caregiving can involve both physical and emotional care, depending on the elderly problems involved.

You can still be considered a caregiver even if you live out of town from your loved one. Or if your loved one is also receiving other outside services.

There are two main categories of caregivers: primary caregivers who have the bulk of the responsibility (usually an adult daughter); and secondary caregivers who are not as involved but who do provide further support.

But there is also the aspect of caregiving that is for pay, including elderly home care.

You may decide that the primary and secondary caregivers will be family members or friends, and you will do the caregiving yourself like I am doing. This may work for awhile, if the elderly person’s conditions are not severe or life threatening.

But when progressive illness or other conditions are present, you do not want to risk errors, inability to cope, or burnout. You need to be prepared with a back-up plan.

At this point you may consider hiring outside assistance. Or your loved one may need to move into an assisted living or nursing home facility.

These are very difficult decisions and facility caregiving costs are very high. You may, however, be fine with hiring home healthcare services for quite awhile, enabling your loved one to remain at home for as long as possible.

One of the fundamentals of caregiving is access to caregiver duties that can be contracted “cafeteria style,” according to needs.

If you determine you will need outside help either to come into the home or within a facility, be prepared to ask them some very important questions regarding the fundamentals of caregiving.

Questions to Ask

  • Obtain a list of services and itemized cost for each.
  • Will the services be provided in-home or in a facility.
  • Verify if the services needed will be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, or Veterans benefits. These may require additional applications
  • Make sure they are licensed by the state, county, or both, depending on the requirements in that area.
  • What is the experience and certification of the caregiver who will be assigned.
  • Obtain at least references from current and previous clients.
  • What is their process for communicating with you.
  • What happens if you have a complaint or are not satisfied with the services.
  • Inquire about guarantees and refunds.
  • Make sure you bring home a sample contract and review it before proceeding. Get help if you do not understand any part(s) of the contract.
  • When will the services be provided – days of the week and times of the day.
  • Schedule a time to observe the caregiver; jot down questions and comments.

So now you have a good idea of the caregiver duties typically provided. You may decide some elder care can be done by your family or friends.

But you may realize you also do need help from outside caregivers. Does that mean moving your loved one into a care facility? Or have an elder care agency come in to assist?

And if you decide to take a look at elderly home care agencies, how do you decide which one to choose? We have home healthcare information so you know how to pre-screen them and know they are qualified and legitimate. Read these further considerations you need to know in advance before hiring elderly home care.

More info on fundamentals of caregiving:

Caregiver Duties — What are caregiver duties exactly? As you may guess, quality caregiving does not always happen. You deserve the best. Just what should you expect from a good caregiver?
Care For Elderly In Home – Tips and Ideas — Care for elderly in home takes a lot of planning, whether a loved one is staying in their own home or moving in with someone else (perhaps you). Great tips and ideas, including having some fun!

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