The Duties and Responsibilities of a Senior Caregiver

Written By: William Rivers
Reviewed By: William Rivers
Published: January 19, 2024

Taking on the role of a caregiver takes a lot of responsibility. It’s not easy taking care of a senior– a lot of effort and patience is needed. Caregivers directly attend to the needs of the elderly who cannot care for themselves. Some caregivers take care of their loved ones at home, while, most commonly, some take care of their loved ones in a professional setting, such as a senior living home.  

Read on to learn more about the responsibilities, duties, and benefits of having a caregiver. 

5 Responsibilities of a caregiver

Each unique individual has particular needs and care tailored to their life– such service is a personalized care plan created by many senior living communities. Given that the essential responsibility is to look at and care for seniors who are incapable of living independently, in the sense that they can do things for themselves, caregivers are given the role of giving the necessary attention and care for seniors with the responsibility in making the lives easier for each resident. 

Here’s a list of the main responsibilities of a caregiver:

  1. ADLs 

One of the primary responsibilities of a caregiver is to provide support with ADLs– bathing, dressing, grooming, etc. A lot of the additional support with the activities of daily living is focused on the resident's well-being, more specifically, to stimulate their mental and physical capacities. Support for ADL keeps an adult creating or maintaining an active lifestyle. 

  1. Mobility assistance 

Additional assistance for mobility is part of the ADL plan; however, mobility assistance is more specific as it involves the full cooperation of the physical body to move around or be wheeled around. Caregivers would sometimes either help an elderly walk with their stick, or have them sit in a wheelchair while moving them around, and being able to provide transportation from point A to point B. 

  1. Medication Management

As its name suggests, medication management involves managing or having the authority to provide the necessary medication for the resident based on the medication list given by a physician. Medication management helps control the unnecessary effects of medication that could bother a senior’s usual thinking. Having a list of medications that will be maintained and managed is the key point that allows residents to live a stress-free life. Caregivers or nurses take the necessary steps to ensure that residents are cared for by giving the right medication. 

  1. Meal assistance

Most senior homes that offer independent living usually do not receive a specific meal plan delivered to their doors daily; these seniors head on to the dining room to choose a meal they want to try out. Typically, any residents outside of independent living have meals delivered to them for convenience instead of having to be the ones themselves to walk to the dining hall. 

  1. Offer companionship

It’s considerably a lonely time in one’s life to be away from family; incredibly sad hearing from your loved one that you need to be relocated, as they could not take care of you anymore; they still love you, of course, but it has presumed to be draining for both of you. That said, many families relocating to a senior home provide complete attention and care;  one of the main priorities of being in a senior living community is allowing oneself to feel vulnerable. Many senior living residents find importance in friendships and family, so they have encouraged a vibrant social life between seniors and caregivers. 

4 Duties of a Caregiver 

Caregivers are responsible for taking accountability for following an obligation found in their duties relating to taking care of the elderly. Following responsibilities at par with practicing their duties allows for a strong foundation of mutual respect and trust between seniors and caregivers. 

Here’s a few list of duties expected to be performed:

  1. Care 

As the name suggests, a caregiver must promote genuine service built with care and empathy to their needy resident. Care also comes in compassionate service; why dare provide service and attention to someone you feel indifferent or careless about? Professional care staff of every senior living home are expected to have and provide genuine care for their responsibility to the elderly residents. 

  1. Fair

Caregivers are just like teachers: there should be no favoritism that sprouts inequality for the residents when care and attention are given, as there are those considered more favorable than others. Caregivers should ensure that all residents are treated equally and appropriately. While it could be that there are inevitably charming seniors with favorable characteristics, it is essential to strike a balance between respect and admiration– in which case, a caregiver should maintain such duties reasonably to all residents. 

  1. Respect - trust, safety, and security

Respecting all residents and other caregivers is a duty expected to follow through. Maintaining respect among residents can garner a mutual courtesy of deep admiration. Caregivers can do this by understanding each resident’s unique individuality with no sense of judgment and entitlement to authority. Residents and caregivers (or staff) can build trust, safety, and security among the co-existing relationships by promoting respect within the community. 

  1. Candor 

Similar to offering respect, caregivers are expected to create an open environment where residents and staff can safely voice out their concerns and other issues.  Promoting an honest environment for everyone allows for a mutual understanding in the relationship between residents and caregivers– and that mutual understanding is also known as communication. Caregivers must create an atmosphere of open-mindedness and a judgment-free zone. 

Benefits of caregiving 

Assuming that your loved one is located in a senior living home, the central benefit of having a caregiver is the same reason for relocating at a senior home: additional and comprehensive care assistance.  You cannot find at your family’s home the guaranteed 24/7 attention you’ll find at a senior living home. Caregivers only have to worry about putting the resident at ease, going above and beyond for the senior to feel safe and secure in the community. 

Aging comes with the price of weakness; as people age, they slowly succumb to a period that progressively disables them from caring for themselves, an inevitable experience waiting to happen. Understanding the necessary steps or strategies for it includes considering having a caregiver. In retrospect, caregivers– depending on the quality of the senior home– have the responsibility and duty to ensure an elderly’s senior daily living is more accessible and hassle-free. 

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William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.
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