It’s been said that the best gift is giving someone your time. Sadly, not all families can spare the time they would like to devote to their elderly loved ones. This is when your ability to spend quality time with their beloved senior makes you their personal hero.
- Compassion: The ability to be sensitive to the needs of others. Compassion is what motivates us to help alleviate someone’s needs, whether those needs are physical or emotional.
- Dependability: This is the quality of being reliable. This means that you can be counted on to do what you are supposed to do when you are supposed to do it.
- Integrity: The characteristic of being trustworthy and honest. Integrity also means that you show respect to others and exercise sound judgment.
- Patience: This is the quality of being able to tolerate uncomfortable or annoying behaviors from others without becoming angry or upset or complaining about the situation.
- Empathy: The ability to understand how someone else feels from their perspective. This means that you can put yourself in their place and have a really good idea what they are going through at any given time.
Each and every senior is a unique individual who deserves the utmost respect. Being any sort of caregiver is a worthy and respectable position, but one that comes with a set of responsibilities. Most of the things that you will be responsible for are essential to the safety or well being of the senior in your care.
This is an opportunity for you to become friends with a senior who has decades of experiences that have shaped them into the person you will come to love. Not all jobs can give you the sense of satisfaction that you can get from being a caregiver. As you perform your duties and responsibilities, they are sure to express their appreciation.
Here are some of the responsibilities you might be expected to do as part of your job sitting with the elderly:
- Companionship– this provides a sense of closeness that is comforting to the senior in your care
- Run errands– this might include things like grocery shopping, picking up dry cleaning, taking a pet to the veterinarian, or even getting some carry-out food
- Light housekeeping– these simple chores will vary depending on the senior’s ability, but might include dusting, vacuuming, washing dishes, organizing, and other duties
- Emotional support– this is when you show the senior that you care about their well-being by accepting them the way they are, reassuring them, encouraging them, and making them feel important
- Non-medical assistance with ambulation– this is the act of helping someone to their feet, making sure they are balanced before they start walking, or helping them transition into a wheelchair, or onto the toilet
- Meal and snack preparation– this is a fun opportunity to share your skills in the kitchen, or to please the senior you care for by providing them with nutritious foods, plus you can create the menu based on their likes and dislikes, or create something they love to eat from a favorite recipe
- Pet care– not all seniors have pets, but for those who do, their pets are precious but they may not be able to walk their dog or change the cat’s litter box or take them to the vet when necessary so that might be one of your responsibilities
- Communicating observations to the family or medical personnel if necessary– a senior’s health can change in a matter of hours or minutes, your observation skills will help keep them healthy, safe, and secure
- Laundry– some seniors are still able to do this chore or part of it, allow them to do as much or as little as they please
- Help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)– these include dressing and grooming, some elderly might need help with eating too
Having jobs sitting with the elderly means that you will need to be prepared with some activities to do with them. Ask them to share some of their favorite activities so you can learn their likes and dislikes. Another thing that factors into this is the ability of the senior.
If you are caregiving a senior who has dementia or Alzheimer’s, then you will need to adjust the activities to suit their needs. If your senior has mobility issues, then you will need to find activities that they can do from a bed, chair, or wheelchair.
- Help your senior record their family history
- Learn new words in a different language
- Try some “brain games” like crossword puzzles, riddles, or sudoku
- Assist your senior with letter writing
- Watch your senior’s favorite movie or television show
- Play some music, sit with your senior, and dance with your upper body
- Put together some jigsaw puzzles
- Go outside, if your senior can tolerate a wheelchair, for a change of scenery and to enjoy the sunshine
- Prepare a “taster’s table” of foods from different countries
Seniors who are living with various forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, need to make real connections with other people. As a caregiver, when you sit with the elderly, having a list of activities readily available, just for them will make your job much easier. This is one of those times that you will become a hero to these golden agers and their families.
There are various stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia, so you will need to adjust your activities to your senior’s level of ability. Be flexible so that you can alter your plans. People with memory issues generally have more trouble following instructions later in the day. They function better when they are fresh and well rested.
- Look through your senior’s family photo album with them. It’s okay if you ask questions that they can answer, but don’t press them because that can cause frustration.
- Watching reruns of old movies or television series can be comforting to seniors with memory issues. Make it more fun by providing popcorn or another snack.
- Listen to music! It’s therapeutic and helps the brain with cognition. Even people in the later stages of Alzheimer’s benefit from music. Music & Memory is a non-profit organization that helps create playlists for people with Alzheimer’s. It’s soothing and activates part of the brain in a way that it helps them recall lyrics, even when they can’t remember names, or dates, or places. Find out what type of music your senior liked in the past and play it for them.
- Have your senior help you fold laundry. People with Alzheimer’s often fidget and need to do something to feel like they are contributing. Ask them if they’d like to help you fold laundry, but give them the easiest things to fold, like towels and washcloths. Avoid giving them anything that would cause frustration or confusion. It’s best to use a laundry soap with which they are familiar because the sense of smell can trigger feelings of comfort and familiarity. By the same token, avoid any smell that could trigger a negative reaction, like smoke or gasoline, especially with veterans who could have PTSD.
- Ask the family of your senior for favorite recipes that you can make. Taste is another sensory trigger that can bring fond memories to your senior’s mind. Let them tell you all about it. They will be very grateful for your thoughtfulness.
Before proceeding, review the qualities of a caregiver. If you like making deep connections with other people, then visit our site. If you enjoy nurturing others, take a moment to apply with our agency.
The search for the right fitting career can be daunting. Healthcare professionals come in all different shapes and sizes, but each is essential to the individual receiving care. For dependable pay and priceless memories, contact us now. We will be happy to help you in a new phase of your life as you help our wonderful seniors.