November is a time to honor those who facilitate a lifestyle that offers giving support and as much independence as possible to older adults.
President Barack Obama declared November as National Family Caregivers Month stating, “Across our country, millions of family members, neighbors, and friends provide care and support for their loved ones during times of need. With profound compassion and selflessness, these caregivers sustain American men, women and children at their most vulnerable moments, and through their devoted acts, they exemplify the best of the American spirit.”
Statistics from the Administration On Aging show that the population 65-years-old and older is expected to grow from its current 13% to 19% of the total population by 2030. With the older population increasing, the need for elder care giving will continue to increase.
Outside of family caregivers, we need to salute geriatric caregivers who perform a wide variety of roles that tend to the needs of seniors who live at home and in facilities. Depending on the clients’ level of independence, job responsibilities of caregivers range from light housework, shopping, cooking, scheduling and driving clients to appointments, stores and social engagements, to reminding clients to take their medicine and assist them with bathing, dressing, grooming and using the toilet.
Certified Care More Important Than Certificates of Education
Although no specific educational degrees are required to become a geriatric caregiver, reputable care giving agencies require their job applicants to pass psychological and other tests, including background checks. Certified agencies, like Elder Connections, must meet strict federal requirements for patient care and management.
Providing Quality of Life Is Demanding
The physical demands of care taking can be rigorous. Duties may include light nursing, changing surgical dressings, giving medications, or changing bedpans. The emotional demands can also be rigorous. Patients may be difficult, depressed or violent and in as much need of emotional attention as they are of physical attention. But good caregivers derive great satisfaction from knowing they are helping their clients enjoy a better quality of life.
Celebrate Those Who Celebrate Others’ Well-Being
Our caregivers help the elderly live more comfortably at home or in a senior care facility. We ask you to please acknowledge them with a note, a gift of thanks or even an offering of your time to give them a needed break. Please let the people who graciously accept their duties to our beloved seniors that their service is recognized and appreciated.
Lois Young-Tulin, PhD, is an Assistant Geriatric Care Manager at Elder Connections