Today, more than one-third of the Us population is 50 or more, and it can get double within 30 years. With such a great increase in the older adult population, many families are currently facing the difficulty of taking the crucial decision about the care of aging relatives. Many are not quite sure about the Qualities of Great Caregivers, especially if they are considering live-in caregivers.
While caregivers take care of the seniors when they cannot wholly depend on themselves and need daily medical assistance, they are so much more than what everyone usually perceives. They can make a big difference in seniors’ lives by providing encouragement and fostering a strong bond with them. Moreover, they can play a significant role in socialization and communication for whom they are caring.
We have compiled a list of great qualities that every caregiver should have in order to provide the seniors with the best service.
Qualities to Look for in a Caregiver
Taking care of seniors requires patience because they can sometimes be very uncooperative and stubborn. They can be a bit slow in carrying out a task. Many things might not go as planned, and you might need to accept the change. Moreover, seniors with memory disorders might need an extra level of patience. Their repeating the same stories or requests should not disturb the caregivers.
Almost everyone agrees that this should be the number one quality that every caregiver should possess.
Compassion is a form of empathy. It enables the caregivers to see the senior’s problems as their own. They try to understand what the seniors are going through. This virtue makes caregivers’ work so much easier because they start accepting the seniors’ problems without any complaints. Compassion should come from the heart.
Listening and not arguing about their complaints is a great indicator of compassion.
Some even put this particular attribute on the top of the list, but I feel compassion comes after you have mastered the virtue of patience. While they are not hard skills, they are the ones that usually make a real difference.
Every caregiver should know how to put the patients’ needs before their own. They also need to be able to take the responsibility to put the seniors’ health and well-being first, even if the senior or the family were to disagree with them at that specific moment.
Caregiving is not a desk job. You cannot be half-hearted and hope to provide the best service. Having a deep sense of enthusiasm is vital to success in this particular field.
Being passionate means that you are ready to provide exceptional care and are always looking for ways to improve their experience and incorporate new and exciting activities. This particular caregiver trait is what prevents caregivers from getting burnt out.
Caregivers will have instructions from doctors and nurses to follow in terms of wound care, medications, etc. In medical situations, caregivers need to be comfortable being proactive- making informed decisions and taking action in an emergency. The doctor will not be available to monitor the patient’s every move.
The personal life of the caregivers should never interfere with the work they are doing. There might be days when they are affected by personal issues. This should not affect how they treat the seniors.
Feeling overly-attached to the patient’s problems is another caregiver trait you should try to avoid. While it’s quite normal to develop a bond with the patient, you need to be emotionally tough when required and let this emotion not affect your work.
Professionalism also entails a thirst for educating oneself. Caregivers should always try to educate themselves on the discoveries that are happening in this particular field. Scholars are running many studies, which might provide better ways to provide service, especially for people with special needs. Being up-to-date with the latest research findings will equip them with relevant knowledge to be champion caregivers.
6. Interpersonal skills
Caregivers need to have excellent social skills to make pleasant communication with seniors. This skill will surely make it easy for caregivers to establish a strong relationship with the seniors. Effective interpersonal skills are more important than anything else when caring for someone at such an age.
It’s long been recognized that caregivers are critical to the well-being of many individuals with disabilities. Sometimes, communicating with them can get very difficult if they have a memory-related problem like dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.
Caregivers need to come up with a simple and clear method of communication with such people. This is where education and creativity can play a major role.
Being attentive is one of the most critical cognitive skills that caregivers need to develop. True attentiveness is when we listen not to reply but to understand the problems.
This particular caregiver trait is crucial because sometimes, seniors might not be able to communicate themselves. Only through being attuned to their physical and emotional well- being is the way forward.
Staying aware of the client’s environment is also important. You surely want to avoid potential hazards like tripping, fire, etc.
8. Maintaining confidentiality
With such access to seniors’ private lives, it is normal that caregivers will come to know a lot of confidential information about seniors.
A good caregiver is always aware of what information he or she needs to disclose to people. They should be trustworthy enough not to reveal information that the seniors would not like them to reveal.
A trustworthy caregiver will not take advantage of the situation of the person he or she is caring for.
No doubt, every caregiver will have a daily or weekly schedule of what services they will provide. However, they should know that this schedule can and most probably will change now and then.
Flexibility is all about being able to accommodate the needs of the patients. A great caregiver is always ready for any sudden hurdles that interrupt the schedule.
Being rigid will only make it difficult to deal with these circumstances positively. Good caregiving traits include being ready to learn and customizing the care according to the specific needs.
Non-verbal cues are as important, if not more, as the words caregivers use to communicate with the patient.
The tone of voice, gesture, posture, and smiling are excellent body language caregivers should frequently use. Moreover, they need to be mentally ready for simple matters like meal or activity preferences of the seniors and find effective solutions with dignity and respect.
An ideal caregiver knows that sometimes doing a bit of housekeeping – doing laundry, cleaning the carpets, mopping the floor, etc. – is part of their job. Making the room clean and hygienic is essential to the patient’s overall health. Moreover, caregivers themselves should also make sure they maintain hygiene themselves by being clean and appropriately dressed.
12. Being fit and healthy
Starting from making up seniors’ beds to getting them a bath, helping them move around, and assisting them with exercises – caregivers are always busy helping the seniors.
It is surely a tough job that requires being both physically and mentally fit. This constant workload can sometimes be quite exhausting.
Caregivers need to be very aware of their own health. If you can not stay healthy, how can someone expect you to keep them healthy?
Caregiving is an important job and can be very rewarding, but caregivers need to take care of themselves.
The question of “What qualities should a great caregiver possess?” does not have a clear-cut answer.
Caregivers often go to greater lengths than everyone expects them to. Caregiving is more than just ticking some to-do boxes. It is a delicate job of being personable to the patients’ individual needs. It is about being truly passionate about providing the best possible care.
Connecting with the seniors on a personal level is the most effective way to fully understand and address their problems. Caregivers need to make the seniors feel that they are trying to help them lead a healthier life. An ideal caregiver loves his or her job, is patient and friendly, and puts the seniors’ needs before their own.
The list discussed above provides a comprehensive idea of the important qualities of an ideal caregiver. While a perfect caregiver will have these qualities, there is so much more to it than we can think of. Caregiving for seniors is a job that requires deep empathy from one’s heart, and if they have that, most of the essential qualities are sure to follow!
If you are considering Home Care, we can help you find a great caregiver!