A friend of mine from college who lived in the US and had her parents
living alone in India, used to call me and ask me questions about how to tackle
her parents’ doctors, help and medicines. Since I was looking after my father in
Pune at that time, I had a lot of experience with looking after old people and the
ways to tackle the problems that came with it. So, when I started giving her
advice on how to deal with her parents, she came up with the idea that I should
charge for the service. Initially I was opposed to the idea but later on, I found it
was a very important need that didn’t exist in India.
1)Patience is a very important skill as old people require a lot of
understanding and patience.
2) Mentally fit is another skill that is needed as you need to understand what the
doctor states and implement it to the client. If you are mentally fatigued, you can
complicate things by writing down the wrong instructions that the Doctor has
given for the client and that can have serious consequences. So, a good night’s
sleep and a peaceful, clear state of mind is very essential for the well-being of the
3) Compassion is the third important skill needed to look after an old person.
Geriatrics cannot manage a lot of things by themselves, especially technology, so
one needs to show them how it works or make it work for them. One must also
understand that a lot of what they do isn’t their fault and not blame them for
certain things like dropping things or soiling themselves or not wanting to take
medicine. There are ways and means to tackle these problems with compassion,
empathy and kindness.
A caregiver is someone who feels the need to look after people who are frail,
old or ill with a humanitarian aspect, not a commercial aspect. The caregiver
must look after people without making them dependent on them. The less the
the client needs the caregiver, the better for the client.
A caregiver is also someone who needs to take into consideration all opinions,
the client’s, the relatives and the friends of the client. Just because a caregiver has
the experience, does not mean that she/he is right at all times when giving advice.
Also, a caregiver should only give advice when asked unless it is an absolutely
important issue where the caregiver feels they need to voice their opinion without
being asked. The ultimate goal of the caregiver is to make their client and the
relatives of the client, happy and destress them. The family of the client must
have “peace of mind” knowing the caregiver from Prime Health Support is
looking after their relative.
The most important challenge for the caregiver is not to get too attached
and too emotional with the client. One needs to remember that the caregiver is
there to make the client better physically, and to keep a level head and make sure
that happens. No point mimicking the mood of the client, Eg: If the client is
depressed, the caregiver gets depressed or if the client is in happy, only then is
the caregiver happy or if the client is upset emotionally, the caregiver gets upset
emotionally. The caregiver has to understand the mood of the client and make
sure the right amount of care is given, and not get pulled into the various moods
of the client. The caregiver is there to enable the client recover, which means the
correct doses of medication, physiotherapy, body hygiene are undertaken so that
the goal which is the overall good health of the client is achieved.
The caregiver also has to deal with the client’s family, relatives, friends, maids,
servants etc., with a cool and open mind and make sure there is as little friction
as possible between everyone, and maintain the right kind of equilibrium, to
sustain the overall happiness of the client.
Another important point that a caregiver must remember is to look after
themselves first, before looking after the client. It is only when the caregiver is
physically and mentally fine, that he/she can look after the client positively.
The motto for a caregiver is compassion, compassion, compassion.
There are various ways to look after a client who is not functional or
1) In many instances, clients refuse to take their medicine, so the caregiver
needs to mash the medicine and pour it over the client’s food or dessert, or
add it to the client’s soup or juice. This way, it is ingested by the client without
2) If the client refuses to eat all their food, it is best to stop feeding the client and
NOT force feed them as the client usually knows when they are full. Force
feeding the client only gets them angrier. If the client is hungry, they will eat.
In case the client does not eat at all, then one needs to speak to the doctor
about it and do as the doctor says.
3) If a client is physically abusive with the caregiver, the caregiver should not let
the client continue to behave in this manner and should tell the client that this
behavior is unacceptable. This could help deter the client from being
physically violent, but it may not help at all. In that case, the family needs to
be informed about this behavior and the client should be looked after
according to what the family says.
1) To make appointments with the necessary doctors, remind the client of those
appointments and take them there. In case a car needs to be booked, that too
will have to be done by the caregiver.
2) To write down notes when at the doctor, and send them either through
whatsapp or email to the family of the client.
3) To check if all medication is being administered properly by the respective
ayabais and ward boys or nurses.
4) To check if the client is eating his/her meals properly or not.
5) To check if the necessary liquid intake is going into the client’s body in case
the doctor has prescribed it.
6) In case any blood tests have to be taken the caregiver needs to coordinate with
the necessary pathology labs and the doctors for the same.
7) Follow up with the pathology labs for the reports of the blood tests.
8) In case of emergency call a doctor and if necessary, take the client to a
9) Monitor the client while he/she is in hospital until they are discharged.
10) To make sure the overall health of the client is either improving, or remains
steady and does not deteriorate.
11) To inform the family if the client is being abused physically or mentally by the
caretakers and to constantly check if there are any bruises on the client’s
12) To make it very clear to everyone that the caregiver is not a doctor or a nurse
and will not prescribe medicines or give IV fluid or any fluid by IV to the