Throughout our lives, our relationships to our family can change drastically. When you’re a child, your family cares for you before you strike out on your own. As an adult, you may form a family of your own and help to raise your children or work with your spouse to provide. However, there can also come a time when you find yourself caring for the very people who once cared for you.

As the elderly approach their twilight years, physical or mental conditions may prevent them from being able to live independently. This calls for a family caregiver who can help them. But what exactly does it mean to be a family caregiver?

What Is a Family Caregiver?

A family caregiver is technically any family member who cares for another who is unable to live independently. They do this unpaid. While this can include parents caring for their children, nearly half of family caregivers care for adult members of their family, often seniors or those with conditions that make them unable to care for themselves. In some cases, family caregivers find themselves caring for their parents or grandparents while they still have underage children living with them. This caregiving can go on for months, while the loved one recovers from an illness or injury, or can go on for years, until the end of that loved one’s life.

What Does a Caregiver Do?

The duties of a caregiver can be different depending on the individual being cared for. It may mean going grocery shopping for them if they have mobility issues or helping them to get around. It might mean preparing their food or ensuring that they take their meds at the proper times. Some common caregiver duties include:

  • Managing the living situation for that loved one.
  • Performing medical advocacy and sometimes serving as POA.
  • Helping with personal care like bathing, grooming, or feeding.
  • Overseeing your loved one’s medication intake and medical appointments.
  • Driving them where they need to go or running errands for them.

Above all of this, a family caregiver offers companionship. Senior citizens who are retired and have conditions that limit their activity can often struggle with loneliness and feel cut off from their family and friends. A family caregiver is a regular companion who helps them to feel less alone and more actively cared for.

Becoming a Family Caregiver?

Sometimes the transition into becoming a family caregiver can be a sudden one. A diagnosis or an unexpected injury could drastically change the life of your loved one — and you, by extension. You may find yourself at a loss for how to handle caregiving. Fortunately, just as your loved one has support, CJ & Associates Care Consulting is here for you. Our professionals are experts when it comes to geriatric care including assessments, conceiving a plan of care, and assisting with reevaluations and ongoing care management. We also offer caregiver counseling for new or struggling family caregivers. Contact us today to learn more or to set up an appointment.