One of the newer trends in this country is the growing amount of caregivers out there, not just in Manchester but elsewhere as well.
According to the AARP, about 1 in 5 Americans have provided traditional and end of life care for someone in 2020, which is about 21.3 percent of the total population or 53 million adults. This figure rose from 16.6 percent or 43.5 million adults in 2015.
The team at Above and Beyond Home Health Care and Hospice salute these types of caregivers. Yes, what we do is provide comfort and interaction to our client, along with observation and other nursing services. Everyone on our team has plenty of experience working with clients along with various academic credentials and professional certifications.
But in more and more cases, we see caregivers who are doing so without pay. Many of them also don’t have any experience or formal training as caregivers either, but simply want to help a loved one. It can be challenging, especially if you’re new to this type of work, but can also be rewarding in a lot of ways.
Caregiving can take all types of forms, from someone who is simply nearby and within shouting distance in case of emergencies to someone who is asked to help with mobility, grooming, or other hands-on services. Caregivers can help with meal planning and preparation, plus housekeeping tasks like cleaning and making sure the environment is safe and secure.
They also sometimes work closely with home health staff or other therapists who can provide scheduled visits and offer more advanced assistance such as physical therapy or wound care.
While some caregivers may only have agreed to help until a person improves, others are asked to be around during someone’s final days.
A caregiver in a hospice situation can provide basic caregiving duties since sometimes that’s mostly what clients need at certain times. But then there may be some other ways they can provide help as they approach the end of their life.
- Help with paperwork. There are all sorts of details that are involved in death and beyond, and someone in declining health would appreciate a helping hand keeping track of them all. A caregiver can take notes while a client shares things like the details of their funeral or memorial service, such as music, inspirational readings, or what to wear. They can also discuss items with a funeral home for final arrangements, or an attorney for final legal arrangements like an estate. Having a caregiver take clear notes can be useful after the client’s death when people try to figure out his or her final wishes.
- Help with physical tasks. Their strength may decline as they get closer to death so having someone nearby to help them move around can be invaluable.
- Help with medication. They may be in increasing amounts of pain or have memory problems or both. So assistance with which pills to take and when to take them is useful as well as safe. This can avoid getting dosages wrong which could either lead to having strong pain or a potential overdose.
- Help to bring people together. A caregiver can take a role in gathering friends and family who should come over to say their final goodbyes. Even if they don’t want to, such as in a situation where there is resentment or estrangement, or the client doesn’t want to make this effort, a caregiver might be a neutral part to extend an invitation. They can also control when people visit, how many and for how long, based on the client’s energy levels throughout the day.
- Help listen. Someone heading toward the end of their life likely will want to talk about what they’re feeling and concerned about. This could be everything from speculation about what the next part will be like, or even happen at all. Even if a caregiver doesn’t subscribe to any particular faith topic and the client does, they can still listen.
- Help record and share stories. This may be the last time that a client has the energy to tell stories of their life, including significant or previously unknown moments. So it’s an occasion to capture these could create a story either in a single session or multiple telling. As a caregiver, you can have a role in deciding when to wrap things up if the client is getting tired. Or if they’re doing fine. These storytelling opportunities can be occasions where several people are present for the occasion or a private telling that will come as a surprise later when presented to any heirs or family members.
Overall, caregivers can play an important role and should be celebrated. One way to do so, or even learn info, is to visit National Caregivers Day. The official day each year is the third week in February which is Feb. 19 The site can provide details about the importance of caregivers in general.