Posted: June 3, 2022
Assisted living communities are designed to enable residents to stay as independent as possible. Caregiver’s role in assisted living can include the activities of daily living along with housekeeping, grocery shopping, meal preparation, medication management, and scheduling medical appointments.
Unlike a nursing home, the level of caregiving in assisted living is up to the residents. Caregivers work with the individual rather than for the individual. Our mission is to empower residents for their unique strengths through the various services caregivers provide.
As people age, they may need a caregiver because of limited mobility, memory issues, illness, or conditions that make everyday activities more of a challenge.
While caregiving duties at an assisted living community will likely vary from day to day—and from resident to resident—some basic tasks are more common than others. These might include the following:
Memory and mobility issues can make activities of daily living (ADLs) more challenging for older adults. They may need support with bathing, grooming, and eating. Caregivers work with residents to determine how much extra they may need.
Caregivers are responsible for assessing the medical needs of those in their care. This can include noting pain levels, keeping track and dispensing medications, scheduling medical appointments, and managing chronic conditions. Caregivers talk directly with residents about their health, making a note of any changes based on these conversations as well as their own observations.
They keep track of vital signs. These records ensure consistent care and serve as documentation that the resident is getting the care they need. They can also show when an older adult’s care needs might change.
Older adults often take several prescription medications to treat chronic conditions, and caregivers assist patients by explaining potential interactions, and assist with ensuring the right dosages are being taken at the right time. This helps avoid medication mix-ups, which can be dangerous and sometimes even fatal.
As people age, maintaining a home can become more challenging, and older adults may find that they need with chores such as cleaning, washing dishes, doing laundry, or taking out the trash. These chores also take away from time that can be spent enjoying socializing, working on hobbies, or simply relaxing.
Caregivers in assisted living communities take over these types of general housekeeping duties. They may also be tasked with changing bed sheets, tidying patients’ rooms, or providing other light duties to help maintain a safe and clean environment. Residents of assisted living communities can do as much or as little as they’d like!
Companionship is one of the most essential parts of senior caregiving. Feelings of loneliness are common in older adults, and they can lead to serious health consequences, including depression and even physical illness. Being a caregiver in an assisted living community is essential to making residents feel like they are part of a community—and not alone. While alone time is also crucial for many residents, the opportunity for socializing is always there.
Good nutrition is essential for older adults, and those living on their own often don’t eat as well as they should because of challenges with food preparation. Some may lack the motivation or mobility required to prepare healthy foods. Assisted living caregivers prepare meals for the residents and can assist those who might need feeding therapy.
Many older people find that getting around on their own has become difficult—particularly if it is no longer safe for them to drive. Caregivers assist the residents with transportation to various places, including doctor’s appointments, shopping, church, and other activities. This ensures that active residents can still maintain a busy social life outside of the community.
They can also help ensure that those with mobility problems get in and out of vehicles safely. Falls are a serious risk to the health of older adults. Whether they are entering a vehicle or simply getting out of bed in the morning, caregivers can help protect them against falls.
As daily tasks such as housekeeping, cooking, and self-care become more challenging, assisted living communities can provide the lifestyle and level of care needed that addresses the unique needs, goals, and interests of residents. The caregiver’s role in assisted living is to create a culture in which the residents call the shots in their own life—and get the assistance they need to live an active, fulfilling life.