Have you ever wondered what a day in the life of a caregiver entails? Whether you are already involved in Residential Assisted Living or just curious about this rewarding and fulfilling industry, surely it is something that most of us have thought about. These wonderful professionals who take care of the most vulnerable in our society are a vital part of any RAL business. And while it is difficult to truly depict a caregiver’s day as each varies based on the resident’s needs, the following is an example of a typical day for these busy and caring saints.
The Average Morning of A Residential Assisted Living Caregiver
7:00 am: Time to rise and shine. The caregiver wakes up, getting ready for the day, and if necessary wakes up any residents who many need assistance getting up. The caregiver gives special attention to any personal care or help with hygiene that residents might require after waking.
8:30 am: The caregiver and residents usually enjoy breakfast together, which is often prepared by the caregiver. This is also usually the time that many residents take their medication.
10:00 am: Fitness time. The caregiver may lead or assist a paid fitness trainer in leading exercises for any residents who are capable of exercise. Moderate daily physical activity is so important for the health of all residents. This may involve light aerobics, senior yoga, calisthenics or the caregiver might go on a walk with residents to get their blood flowing and keep their bodies moving.
11:00 am: The caregiver may organize or personally help their residents get to and from any appointments to doctors, dentists or other obligations scheduled for the day. They might also run errands for the RAL home and may be accompanied by a resident or two.
The Average Afternoon of A Residential Assisted Living Caregiver
12:00 pm: After completing various chores, the caregiver will prepare lunch. Lunch is a great time for friends and family to stop by for a visit. Lunch can also be a good time for any prospective residents and their families to come tour, so the caregiver will be busy assisting residents while helping on the tour and answering any questions that the families may have.
1:30 pm: Nap time! Depending on the health and energy levels of the residents, they may like to take a rest while the caregiver finishes up tasks around the house. This time is often productive for the caregiver, and can be used for tasks like scheduling doctor’s appointments, washing dishes or preparing for dinner.
3:00 pm: Often after a rest it is a good time to re-engage and exercise the mind. We know how crucial it is for seniors to get mental exercise and keep their minds active, so caregivers will usually lead or assist in activities that engage the resident’s mentally. Some activities may include playing cards, puzzles, board games, crosswords or other interactive elements rather than simply turning on a T.V. and vegging out.
5:00 pm: Depending on the weather or surrounding environment, the caregiver and residents may take a walk or spend some time outside doing a bit of light gardening or other light outdoor activities that stimulate their bodies and minds. Getting sunlight, fresh air and change of scenery is a welcome activity and a pleasant conclusion to the day.
The Average Evening of A Residential Assisted Living Caregiver
6:00 pm: Dinnertime! In many RAL homes, the caregiver is often the one who prepares dinner and they usually share the evening meal together with the residents. Engaging them in conversation and reviewing the day’s activities or challenges is a great way to exercise the mind and memory of the seniors. This is also another key time that may require the caregiver to dispense medications or tend to the other health needs of their seniors.
7:00 pm: Time to unwind and relax. The twilight period of the day might consist of reading books, watching a television show or participating in a hobby together. The evening is often a challenging time for those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s, so caregivers are often focused during this time on helping residents manage fleeting memories, confusion and anxiety.
9:00 pm: Bedtime. The caregiver assists with additional personal care needs before helping their residents get into bed. Depending on the needs of the seniors and the house schedule, the caregiver may stay overtime to hand off responsibilities to the caregiver who works from evening till morning, making sure there is someone on hand should assistance be needed throughout the night.
This is just a small, abbreviated glimpse into the regular life of a caregiver. While there are many similar elements, caregivers rarely have the exact same day, and are often faced with numerous unexpected challenges. All of these depend on the needs of their residents and the level of care and options that each individual RAL home offers. For example, some many hire independent contractors who specialize in memory care or fitness, while some RAL homes may offer a personal chef, allowing the caregivers to focus more on the constant needs of those in their care. Every caregiver will probably tell you that there is no “typical day,” but they continue to invest their time and their lives into helping our dear and beautiful parents and grandparents, and for this we love and appreciate them.
If you have the pleasure of knowing any caregivers, we encourage you to thank them for their hard work and if you are able, offer to give them a hand. And if you, yourself are a caregiver, we here at the RAL Academy want to thank you for your service and for the amazing work you do from morning to night.
If you want to know more about the life of a caregiver, listen to Gene describe how his caregivers operate. Also, check out many more informative videos at our YouTube channel, and don’t forget to subscribe.