If you’re thinking of hiring a professional caregiver for your loved one, you’re on the right track! Professionals have many advantages over informal caregivers, so you are wise to seek out these individuals. But with so many to choose from, how do you decide which one (or which agency) is right for the older adult in your life?
You want the person looking after your loved one to be a cut above the rest. So what do the best caregivers have in common? Read on to find out!
Caregiving takes more than just a naturally nurturing personality (although it certainly never hurts to have this as well). It takes expert training, skill, and experience in order to be able to do the job well. Most states have some sort of licensure or certification for professional caregiving. This ensures that the person you hire has a minimum of education and practice when it comes to your loved one’s specific needs. Always make sure that their licensure is in good standing, and that there are no unresolved or suspicious complaints against them. In addition, if they work under an agency, it’s ideal if that agency provides ongoing education. This way, the caregiver can keep their skills sharp, as well as stay updated about the latest innovations in their field.
It goes without saying that a caregiver should come to work with a smile and a positive attitude. However, you need more than that if your loved one is to receive the kind of care they deserve. Positivity points to a collection of attributes that mean your caregiver a joy to be around. It makes older adults smile when they think of them and look forward to seeing them every day. It turns acquaintances into friends and friends into practically family. It encompasses enthusiasm, joie de vivre, optimism, and confidence.
Job satisfaction is something we all crave, but it’s especially important when it comes to caregivers. It is not only desirable, but essential that they love their jobs and working with older adults. This is necessary in order to understand an aging population’s special needs, abilities, and concerns across the spectrum – from the super-active power walker to the Alzheimer’s patient. Although many aspects of caregiving can be challenging and yes, even tedious, the right professional will not shy away from them. Instead, they will approach these tasks in a timely manner and with a “can do” attitude. They are always ready to bring all their skills and expertise into the work that they were born for.
A sense of responsibility
Caretaking is one of many jobs in our society that can literally mean life or death if something goes wrong. We don’t say this to alarm you – the majority of the time, caregiving goes smoothly, and no one is harmed. However, it is still imperative that the person you hire feel responsible for your loved one, and always on the lookout for hidden dangers. In addition, you want them to not only solve problems, but takes ownership of the problem. For instance, if they notice that your loved one is having trouble remembering which medications to take and when, they might recommend a visiting nurse consult. Or they might see your loved one growing more frail, and alert you that a visit to their geriatrician may be needed.
The best caregivers do more than just give care
The best caregivers do more than just cook, clean and look after older adults. They add friendship, camaraderie and meaning to a person’s daily life. They provide mental and physical stimulation in the form of conversations, games, walks, stretches, and more. They remind their clients that they are still worthy of being treated with respect, dignity, and admiration. Most importantly, they ensure the safety and wellbeing of these individuals so that others can continue to benefit from their wisdom, experience, and love.
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home care for older adults. Contact us to find out more.