How To Determine If You’ve Hired A Good Caregiver
I have worked with many families over the years and have met good and bad caregivers. There are certain traits that were common among good caregivers.
Signs Of A Good Caregiver
- Respectful: A good caregiver treats your aging parent with respect and kindness, regardless of your parent’s cognitive ability. He/she looks your parent in the eye, speaks directly to him/her and addresses him/her directly in a respectful, not condescending tone.
- Patient and Flexible: Not everything will always go according to schedule. Our caree may be difficult because they are frustrated with their situation. A good caregiver is patient and flexible and understands the challenges of caring for others and allows their caree to go at their own pace.
- Able to Empathize: The ability to empathize is an important, yet challenging skill for many. To be able to understand what a client is going through and be able to ease their frustration or discomfort helps your parent let them in and share concerns with them.
- Trustworthy: You are not only entrusting this person with your parent’s care, you are letting them into your parent’s home. Knowing you can trust them with both your parent’s life and their valuables is critical. You don’t want to constantly worry about either.
- Passionate: Caregiving is not a high-paying job. Even if you are paying more than $30 an hour for a service, the caregiver is likely making minimum wage, or just slightly above minimum wage. There are many jobs that pay the same rate but are easier to do or don’t require the level of commitment that caregiver requires. Make sure your caregiver is in it because they truly care about helping others and not because they like the idea of relatively unsupervised work (particularly if your parent has cognitive decline or communication challenges).
- Forward-Thinking: A good caregiver comes up with ideas or addresses potential problems before they arise. They can see changes in your parent’s demeanor or well-being and bring it up immediately, rather than just going through the motions and waiting for your direction.
- Thick-Skinned: Even the sweetest, kindest person may be not-so-nice to their caregiver. A good caregiver understands that it isn’t about them and doesn’t take the behavior personally. They understand that the behaviors may be due to not feeling well or frustration over the situation.
- Creative: Sometimes, particularly when working with someone with dementia, a caregiver needs to find unique ways to cajole a client into doing important activities of daily living. Additionally, a creative caregiver will find activities to do with a caree outside of sitting them in front of the TV.
- Professional: A good caregiver always remains professional, even when dealing with embarrassing issues. They don’t make your aging parent feel shame about a health condition, physical or mental decline or inability to perform activities of daily living.
- Organized: A good caregiver is able to manage many tasks in an organized manner. They can keep track of medications, dosage information and scheduling needs of your parent.
- Reliable: A good caregiver arrives on time and ready to work. They don’t frequently call in sick, show up late or leave early.
- Physically Strong: Caregiving isn’t just about emotions and professionalism. Many caregiving tasks require physical strength. Caregivers need to be able to safely move their clients, assist with bathing, etc. Your parent may not require these tasks immediately, but if their condition declines, your caregiver will need to be able to handle the changes safely.
There are many other signs of a good caregiver, but these 12 characteristics are a good indicator that your caregiver is the right person for the job.