Providing care for an elderly family member is more of a calling than an actual career. It is a selfless vocation which demands both training and self-preparation. Daily activities include bathing, feeding and taking medicine to offering companionship and overseeing their emotional and safety needs. Since not everyone is cut out to do such responsibilities, it requires one to give their best so as to be effective. While we can provide intensive training, these innate qualities are also required to become a truly entrusted caregiver.
A good caregiver must be empathetic and compassionate to foster a genuine relationship with the patient. Being a family member figure to them makes them feel secure and nurtured, especially when the patient has been neglected by his/her own family. Some accept this harsh, miserable reality but deep inside it is really agonizing. You can start by asking their interests, sharing stories or engaging in certain activities together, such as watching a particular show or listening to music. Upon relating to them, they will start to open up, and it can make visits more enjoyable for both parties.
It may sound too cliché, but patience is a virtue. This holds true especially in the caregiving career. Your patience will be tested to the edge, even to the point of burnout. That is expected when taking care of the elderly. Such strenuous demands require a certain fortitude that it takes a very special kind of person to choose this line of work as a career. Good caregivers will tell you that planning ahead is key to keeping your sanity. Try setting some time aside each week for future planning. By knowing everything about your client from his medical condition to his background, you will be able to get an idea on how to deal with them with composure.
Good Communication Skills
Due to age. the elderly may have the tendency to communicate and comprehend poorly, which is why they are looking for someone to assist them in the first place. An effective caregiver can explain freely and conveniently how things are supposed to be done to the client. Some of them may be harder to deal with, but do not forget that they have illnesses that impair them and they do not possess that vigor they used to have.
Since you will be spending ample amounts of time with them, you should be able to assist in keeping them calm and comfortable. If they have relatives, you have to keep them updated by keeping the lines of communication open about any changes in their relatives’ care plan or condition. Problem-solving is a vital part of providing care for another person and requires excellent communication skills as well.
Dependability is a combination of many qualities a caregiver must possess, but in the real world, it is not as ideally fancy as it may seem. While you now know at this point that taking care of a senior will be too demanding, if you do not have the passion to do it for a long time, you will eventually lose motivation and the will to proceed further. You need to bear in mind that these needs are not similar to someone who got fever or flu, so make sure you are prepared to do this long-term.
The future is uncertain, and at certain times caregivers might have to deal with circumstances that are way beyond their control. It may involve you doing something out of the box, or just purely instinctive. The important thing here is discernment. You must be perceptive and be able to judge a situation outstandingly to execute proper action. After a period of getting to know the patient a good caregiver should be able to pick up on what is really happening.