As family members age, it can be hard to watch them fail in health and become more feeble, and unlike their old selves. Family members can give back to the elderly in their lives by becoming an active participant in the care of elderly family members. This not only will help cut down on the medical expenses that your loved ones pay, but it will also help improve the quality of their lives as they continue to age.
If you want to become a caregiver for an elderly loved one, there are some steps you must take to become qualified for a caregiver position. Luckily, there are no special degrees required, and with just a few training sessions and a desire to serve you can give back some of the love that your family members once gave you.
You do not have to be a formally trained nurse or medical professional to be a caregiver for most elderly. In some cases, 24-hour nursing care is needed, but family members can still act in support roles. If you want to become a caregiver, there are a few certifications and classes you can take to help you become more qualified. Your family member’s doctor can help you identify the right classes and certifications to get to met your family member’s specific needs.
To become a caregiver, a large amount of time is necessary. Some health companies do allow family members to become employee caregivers so they can devote more of their time to caring for family members while bringing in some income as well. These arrangements make it possible to devote more time to the caregiving of family members. If you are a part-time caregiver, expect to spend about 10-20 hours a week in the position. If you are a full-time caregiver, then you will have to spend upwards of 40 hours each week caring for your elderly family member.
To become a caregiver, special skills are also needed. You will need extreme patience in dealing with the elderly who can be cranky or depressed. Many of the tasks that you will help will require a strong stomach, such as helping with bathing, changing out medical equipment, and cleaning laundry. Because of these undesirable tasks required of caregivers, the position is not right for everyone.
Ways to help
Even if you are not a full-time caregiver, you can still help out aging family members. The elderly often need help with a variety of tasks, including banking, paying bills, transportation, prescription pick-up, cleaning the house, and simply being there for your family member. You can do something as simple as making a weekly phone call or visiting once a week to do a fun activity with your family member.
Pros and cons of family care
If you choose family care over professional nursing care, there are some pros and cons to the practice. On the pro side, family care is less expensive than professional. Family care is also more personal and may help your family members feel loved. You will also receive the benefit of getting to know aging family members before they are gone. On the con side, some elderly do require a professional level of care. A professional nurse may be able to meet the true medical needs of your family member much better than you could. With professional training, a nurse can help an elderly person stay out of a nursing home or hospital longer.
Becoming an elderly caregiver is an excellent way to give back to your aging family members and show them the love they have shown you. However, the process is a large commitment and is not for everyone. If you do decide to become a family caregiver, there is some training and special skills you will need to do the job properly, but the rewards will outweigh the sacrifices in the end.