Home care is an integral part of the U.S. healthcare system projected to grow more than 30% in the next ten years. The demand for home health and personal care aides will only continue to rise as more and more Baby Boomers reach retirement age. In addition to being recession-proof, a career in caregiving may provide you with benefits that include personal growth and development, job satisfaction and flexibility. What does it take to be a good caregiver? Read on to learn more about the top qualities that professional caregivers should have.
Taking care of a client’s most personal needs can get frustrating, while a condition like dementia may cause agitation or significant memory loss. A good caregiver is someone who practices patience in all types of situations by learning how to manage their emotions.
A responsible caregiver is a mindful, conscientious person who truly cares about their clients, someone who can step in and respond to specific needs without always being asked. Responsibility also involves dedication to company requirements like being on time and attending employee training.
A good caregiver takes pride in what they do while having a clean and neat appearance, acting with respect and using language that isn’t inappropriate or offensive. Another aspect of being professional is setting boundaries so that clients don’t get too emotionally attached and view you as a family member rather than a personal assistant.
Integrity means being honest. Sadly, there are plenty of stories about dishonest in-home caregivers who took advantage of older clients. Some are even guilty of elder abuse. No matter how good a caregiver is, they must have integrity.
Empathy and Compassion
Empathy is the human emotion of understanding and sharing another person’s feelings. An aging client’s life experiences may be quite different than those of their caregiver. A compassionate caregiver can empathize with feelings like loss of independence, function and friends while building a trusting relationship with their client.
Good caregivers also advocate strongly for those in their care. They aren’t afraid to ask questions, for example, while accompanying a client to their doctor’s appointment to ensure their client gets the best care possible.
A sense of optimism is the belief that the glass is half full. While the expression of optimism might differ with each caregiver, it should be an underlying emotion of positivity. This is notably important in a situation where the client relies heavily on the caregiver. In general, optimism is a necessary caregiver quality to encourage a better mood and improve functioning.
Every caregiver brings a unique set of skills to the table. An exceptional caregiver possesses a flexible mindset and can quickly respond to a different set of client needs even within a single day. When a client provides feedback to their caregiver, they need to hear what is being said and adapt accordingly to ensure a higher quality of life.
Successful caregivers are also good managers of their time. They create and stick to tight schedules, plan well for emergencies and organize responsibilities beforehand so they don’t have to scramble at the last minute. Being detail-oriented is notably important when caring for a client with memory loss or a terminal illness.
A good caregiver is someone who functions well while serving as part of a caregiving team. While communicating what they’ve learned with fellow members, they may be asked to coordinate care with professionals that include doctors, home health nurses, physical and occupational therapists, social workersand others.