What does it take to be an exceptional caregiver?
Caregivers do more than just look after their clients and attend to their needs. They nurture and foster a bond that makes them a part of the family. While their tasks may be to tidy living areas or remind a client to take their medication, the things they do without realizing they are doing them often make the biggest difference. Things that may seem small but are not, such as listening to the client tell a story or reassuring them that it is okay to move a little slower on a difficult day.
Clients that caregivers look after are often unable to do everyday things on their own, so it is important for a caregiver to have the strength and stamina to assist. A good caregiver knows how to make sure the needs of the client are met even if the client is unable to communicate their needs. Paying close attention to the client’s needs is also critical because often, the client is unaware that they require help. At the same time, it is also important for the caregiver to be encouraging because this helps clients do more than what they think their capabilities allow. Changing bed linens, socializing, washing dishes, preparing meals, doing the laundry, and running errands are some of the things that a caregiver can do to help a client. Each client is different, and their care will not all be the same. For example, there are some clients that forget to take their medicine, so it is the caregiver’s job to make sure that his or her client is reminded to take the correct medication at the right time while other client’s still manage their own medications. Some clients go for walks daily but there are others that will need their mail checked for them, as walking to the mailbox has become a challenge. Exceptional caregivers notice the difference in each client’s abilities and care for them accordingly. This benefits the life of the client and reassures the family that their loved one is being taken care of.
Often, there are obstacles along the way. Patience and flexibility are qualities that every person caregiving must possess. Sometimes the client will be stubborn and uncooperative, or the schedule does not go as planned. A caregiver who is very rigid will find it challenging to deal with these circumstances in a positive way. The ability to be flexible to meet the client where they are on that day is a must as an exceptional caregiver.
A caregiver knows how and seeks out ways to empathize. This requires active listening to hear and understand the client as the person they are and what they are going through or have been through in their life. Being able to empathize allows the caregiver to put themself in the client’s shoes and identify and ease their fears or discomforts. As a senior, helping other seniors, it is easier to relate to each client.
Exceptional caregivers have a deep passion for what they do. They genuinely care about and for, people in need. A passionate caregiver takes the necessary measures to make things easier on the client because they want them to live as independently and safely as possible. Caregiving involves conditions that more people would find hard or challenging, a passion for helping puts these challenges into a different perspective. Caregivers who are passionate about their jobs enjoy what they do, and the client can sense that.
Communication is vital in all of life and especially true when it comes to the relationship a caregiver has with his or her client. Being able to communicate details regarding the client’s care makes a big impact. Trustworthiness is a big part of communication as a caregiver because part of a caregiver’s job is to be aware of information about the client and the client’s family. A great caregiver knows how to balance keeping the information they see and hear to themselves and sharing critical information with the family or loved ones when it is essential for the safety and well-being of the client. While it is difficult for caregivers not to be emotionally affected by their clients, it is also natural for a caregiver to form a genuine bond with his or her client. The ability to learn about and maintain personal boundaries is an indispensable quality for a caregiver. An exceptional caregiver handles this awareness with patience, dignity, and respect for the client and themselves. They are able to keep some space without allowing the client to feel the distance. The bonds formed with a client and the impact that you make on their life as a caregiver last forever. Finding a healthy balance of attachment and space makes for a solid relationship in which a client gets the care they need and the caregiver knows they made a lasting contribution.
A compassionate personality and the sincere desire to help others are the primary ingredients in an exceptional caregiver. Being a caregiver involves more than just having adequate training and experience. Many capable caregivers have had little or no formal education as a caregiver. At Seniors Helping Seniors, we provide the education, support, skills and ongoing training to set you up for success as a caregiver. If this sounds like an excellent fit for you and you feel that you would be a great addition to our team, visit our website at www.seniorcarecharlottenc.com to complete an application. If you have questions before you apply, please give us a call at (704) 573-6838.