It takes a special person to provide seniors with excellent at-home care. Some people excel in playing the role of senior caregiver, while others simply aren’t cut out for the job. For anyone considering a new career in the field of elder care, a certain set of characteristics must be present.
Successful senior caregivers proudly possess the following traits:
The ability to show empathy is likely the most important characteristic of a senior caregiver. While some can empathize more than others, all caregivers should be able to step back from a situation and look at things from the senior’s point of view. For those who provide care, taking a moment to ask “If it were me lying in this bed, how would I want to be treated and cared for?”
Senior caregivers have a lot of pressure on them. Their patients have suffered a loss of total independence, which puts them in a rather vulnerable position. They’re forced to rely on caregivers to complete daily tasks that used to be simple. For example, many seniors are unable to prepare a meal, bathe properly, get dressed each morning, or go to the bathroom without assistance.
When someone’s job is to provide in-home care, the caregiver must be dependable. That part is non-negotiable. In short, never promise to do something and fail to follow through; a senior’s life might depend on it.
In-home caregivers must have both mental and physical strength. There will be days that completely test personal limits. The caregiver might be having a rough day, the senior may be extremely agitated, or a bit of both. Personal strength is the only thing that will keep someone going forward, refusing to give up and admit defeat.
When charged with the task of caring for a senior loved one, flexibility is critical. Life happens when we least expect it and situations can change in the blink of an eye. As an adult child providing in-home care to an elderly parent, be prepared to rearrange schedules, should the need ever arise (and it will).
Caregiving is a good fit for people that adapt quickly and embrace change. It’s important to come to grips with the fact that, once plans are made, something is sure to change. For schedule and routine sticklers, the role of senior caregiver could quite possibly be maddening.
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