Start the New Year with a New Career
Do you have what it takes to be a great professional caregiver?
“Caregiving is so much more than a job – it’s truly a calling,” said Teresa Steinfatt, vice president of business performance at the HomeCare Advocacy Network (HCAN). “Our caregivers are very special people who are committed to making a difference in people’s lives.”
With more than 25 years of experience in the home care industry, Steinfatt knows what it takes for a caregiver to be successful. She said the “must-have” skills and personality traits include:
A great caregiver is, above all else, compassionate. It’s essential that you have a kind, caring heart and consistently seek out ways to improve the quality of care you deliver.
It’s important to try and understand each client’s unique situation. Think how you would feel if you were in their situation – older, frail, and no longer able to perform some of the activities of daily living. Showing empathy can break down awkward barriers and help you connect with your clients.
Good caregivers have excellent communication skills and are able to effectively interact with the client, the family, co-workers and perhaps medical professionals.
Most of the time, it will be just you and the senior in the senior’s home, so it will be up to you to complete all of the necessary tasks.
During home visits, you’ll be expected to watch for and take care of potential hazards that could lead to trips, falls, burns, etc. You should also pay close attention to your client’s physical and mental condition, noting any changes that may be concerning.
You don’t have to be an extrovert to work as a caregiver, but it helps. A bright, cheery attitude will help you establish rapport, build trust and develop a lasting relationship with your client. It can also help dispel any feelings of loneliness or isolation.
You may only have a few hours to complete everything that needs to be done during your shift. You need to know how to prioritize, work efficiently and avoid getting bogged down when time is short.
When you work in a senior’s home, it’s important to know where to find their important phone numbers, medications, etc. If there’s an unfortunate event or emergency, you may need to locate something in a hurry.
Some days will be easy. Others may be frustrating and challenging. Even on the good days, it’s important to practice patience – remembering that your client may take a little longer to do something. Instead of doing it for them, let your clients work through whatever they’re doing – as long as they’re safe.
A client’s needs will often vary from day to day or week to week. As a caregiver, you need to be flexible and adaptable to ensure you’re providing proper care each day – especially when you’re working with dementia patients. This flexibility also extends to scheduling, as most caregivers rarely work regular business hours.
Whether you’re putting away groceries or vacuuming the carpet, you’ll likely be on your feet most of your shift. Prioritizing your own health and well-being will help you be a better caregiver.
If you think you have what it takes to make a difference in the lives of seniors, we want to hear from you! Click on the “careers” button at hcanthrive.com to learn how you can join the HCAN team.