The Caregiver Resume
Friday June 30, 2023
Most likely, when you used to think about your future, you never thought about caring for a loved one with dementia. But now that you have found yourself in those shoes, you have done things you never thought you would do. (Or if you haven’t yet… you will!)
Considering all those new skills, we figured now would be a good time for you to update your resume. It’s a lot more impressive than you think it might be. Here are some job titles we suggest you add:
Recreation Director – facilitates activities, entertains, and finds ways to fill the time
Nurse/Doctor – successfully diagnoses urinary tract infections 95% of the time (no test required); cleans and bandages minor wounds; manages all aspects of healthcare, including, but not limited to, medications and appointments (both of which there are many)
Lawyer – spends several hours per week working with attorneys, has an understanding of the ins and outs of the eldercare legal system
Chef/Nutritionist – prepares an array of foods to please the pallet of the pickiest eater, offers a balanced diet, provides all meals and snacks
Risk Manager – a certified safety officer, assesses the risk for elopement, mitigates fall risk, evaluates the environment for any potential dangers
Handy-Person – fixes toilets, hangs pictures, repairs leaky faucets
Mind-Reader – Ponders the answer to questions, like: Why did she say that? I wonder what she really wants? Who does she think she is talking to since there is no one there?
Researcher – researches side effects of medications, Googles symptoms, gathers information on how to handle financial assets
Behavioral Analyst – answers the question: Why? Why is Mom pacing in the afternoon? Why isn’t Dad sleeping at night? Why does my husband get anxious at mealtime?
Bathroom Attendant – provides personal care with the utmost respect to preserve dignity, creates a great bathing experience, assists with hair washing and shaving
Dementia Educator – educates self, family, neighbors, and friends to set everyone up for positive interactions and avoid negative interactions
Mediator – when the dementia education doesn’t stick or it’s just a bad day, keeps the peace and provides a buffer
Correspondent – daily answers the question: “How is your Mom/Dad/Wife/etc. doing?”
Financial Planner – manages the finances of the household, makes money stretch and appear from thin air (sometimes)
Record Manager – keeps up with all the papers and documents from physicians, services, etc.
Scheduler – plans for the year ahead, plans for holidays, plans for daily tasks, ensures appointments are made and don’t conflict
Chauffeur – drives loved one to appointments and social outings
Cheerleader – provides continual encouragement in the face of adversity
Guide – guides loved one through the day; prompts for taking medication, using the restroom, consuming fluids; provides step-by-step directions to navigate the home
Housekeeper – changes the linens, sweeps and mops the floors, washes the dishes, coordinates laundry, etc.
Personal Shopper – keeps stock of all necessary items and purchases as needed: disposable briefs, Ensure (french vanilla, NOT chocolate), new pajamas, etc.
This is a LONG list, and it’s far from all-inclusive. Are you exhausted from just reading it?
No single person can do all these jobs. The simplest (and sometimes hardest) solution is to ask someone to help you. Ask a sibling, an adult child, a niece/nephew, or a close friend. Hire a housekeeper. Enlist a friend to do the handiwork. And adult day program can help with activities, bathing, and nutrition.
Even with help, you still have a lot on your plate. Please take a moment and recognize all that you do to care for your loved one. If these were paid positions, you would be making multiple salaries. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. Instead, you are paid in love and the knowledge that you are making a positive difference by devoting yourself to caring for another person. You have our complete respect and admiration.
If you are feeling like you have too much on your plate, and you need someone to talk to, please give us a call. We would be happy to listen and help you brainstorm solutions.