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What Qualities Should You Look For In An In-Home Caregiver?

What Qualities Should You Look For in an In-Home Caregiver?

There may come a time when your elderly loved one needs extra help at home. It might be something as simple as house cleaning or a ride to a doctor’s appointment. And then, some elderly adults need ongoing, regular care.

Even if you can’t personally provide the care for your aging loved one, you want to make sure they receive plenty of attention and help from a professional. If this is the case with your loved one, you may be considering an in-home caregiver. If you are, you might wonder what to look for in a home caregiver. What are the qualities of a good caregiver?

First, let’s look at what a caregiver does and then review the ten qualities of an excellent caregiver to aid you in your search.

What Is an In-Home Caregiver?

Caregivers are family members or paid helpers who help senior patients with medical tasks, the activities of daily living, and personal care. This care can be short-term (for example, while a senior is recovering from an accident) or long-term because of illness, disability, or injury.

Tasks that caregivers help with include:

  • Preparing meals
  • Transportation (to the store or medical appointments)
  • Managing money, budgets, or taxes
  • House and yard work
  • Dressing, grooming, and/or bathing

Again, unpaid friends and relatives may serve as caregivers; however, there are also paid, professional caregivers who specialize in in-home senior care.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Caregiver

Although attending to physical needs is part of caregiving, a caregiver does more. The caregiver you choose will spend lots of time with your loved one. Offering support and encouragement, a caregiver should cultivate a bond with your loved one and be worthy of your (and your elderly loved one’s) trust.

A Good Caregiver Means Your Loved One Won’t Be Lonely

Many elderly are alone or isolated, and loneliness can accelerate cognitive decline. It has also been shown to be a factor in diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. While you may want to be there daily for your elderly loved one, sometimes that isn’t possible.

Caregivers keep their patients from feeling lonely and offer companionship and emotional support.  It’s often said that a quality caregiver is like family.

Because the caregiver you chose will be an essential part of your loved one’s life, you want to make sure to select someone with the qualities of a good caregiver.

What to Look for in a Home Caregiver?

The qualities of a good caregiver include:

  1. Compassion and empathy
  2. Attentiveness
  3. Flexibility and patience
  4. Trustworthy and dependable
  5. Professionalism and good composure
  6. Physically strength
  7. Humor
  8. Maintains confidentiality
  9. Good communicator
  10. Self-awareness

Let’s take a look at each of the qualities of a good caregiver and how they’ll impact your loved one’s experience.

1. Compassion and Empathy

Seniors are sometimes sick, uncomfortable, or in pain, or they can have emotional distress. A compassionate caregiver can respond accordingly to offer care and comfort.

Your loved one may sometimes feel embarrassed or frustrated. You want a caregiver who can empathize; one who can put themselves in your loved one’s position and consider things from their perspective. Through understanding and compassion, a caregiver forms a bond with their senior.

2. Attentiveness

Your caregiver might have to take swift action if your loved one is in danger or needs immediate help. They should be alert for changes in their patient’s health and emotional state.

3. Flexibility and Patience

Unexpected occurrences can throw off your loved one’s routine. Your loved one may become uncooperative or emotional or be in a lot of pain, so their caregiver needs plenty of patience and flexibility to adapt to changing situations. 

4. Trustworthiness and Dependability

Your loved one will spend a lot of time with their caregiver, so you need to be able to trust and depend on that person to give proper caring attention to your loved one. Reliability and trustworthiness are perhaps the two most important qualities of a good caregiver.

5. Professionalism and Good Composure

Sometimes, caregiving is stressful. Good caregivers keep their composure even in difficult situations when dealing with bodily functions and accidents. Caregivers also need to stay professional and keep any personal issues from affecting their job, which is to help your loved one.

6. Physical Strength

Caregiving is physically demanding, and your chosen caregiver will need the strength and stamina to cope. For example, caregiving may involve helping your loved one in and out of bed, bath, or a wheelchair.

7. Humor

Having a sense of humor can help your caregiver deal with challenges that come with the job. Also, getting your loved one to laugh is an excellent skill because laughter is good for your loved one’s well-being. 

8. Solid Perception

Your loved one’s caregiver will have access to a lot of personal and sensitive information. A good caregiver understands what doctors should know and what friends stopping by don’t need access to.

9. Good Communication Skills

Your caregiver needs to communicate in clear, simple terms with you, your loved one, and possibly medical professionals. They also need to share information between parties, so good communication skills are key.

10. Self-Awareness

Caregiving can be stressful., so caregivers need to be self-aware and know their limits. They need to be able to ask for help if they need it; otherwise, they may risk not getting your loved one what he or she needs.

Making the Right Choice for Your Loved One

Choosing the right caregiver is essential. You want to find someone with good qualities who will care for your loved one as if your loved one were theirs.

Finally, a caregiver should be bonded and insured (usually through their agencies). This means you are protected in case of theft, damage, or other financial losses associated with the caregiver.

If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area and Greater San Diego, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices throughout California including: Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CA, and San Mateo, CA.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.

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