9 Characteristics of a Good Senior Care Worker

A list of standards and expectations is key in receiving satisfaction from anything you desire. When looking for services that may benefit a loved one, this rule of thumb is especially important. Therefore, looking for a care companion for an elderly loved one is not a time to cut corners on your list of expectations. When you know what to look for, you can ensure you'll get someone who will ensure your loved one is comfortable, safe and happy. In-home care providers strive to make the aging process easier for both seniors and their families, so it is important that seniors and their families discuss the specific qualities they would like to see from the elderly care services that they are choosing.

You’ll know a caregiver is committed to your loved one if the following things are true:

They are committed to service. A good service provider should match its caregivers with each senior based on personalities and interests. This helps create comfortable relationships for the seniors, their families and the caregivers themselves.

They are compassionate. Caregivers should be naturally compassionate and caring. They should have the highest degree of respect for their clients and aim to enrich their lives.

They are creative. Creativity allows the caregiver to create an environment that keeps your loved one active and cheerful, which is crucial to their physical and mental well-being.

Maintaining the elder's dignity is important to them. A good caregiver understands that many older people are embarrassed that they can no longer fully care for themselves. A simple test of this quality is to include your loved one when interviewing prospective caregivers. Good caregivers will address your loved one by his or her name and include them in the discussion. If the prospective caregiver speaks to your loved one as they would to a child or as if he or she isn't there, they don’t have the elder’s well-being as an utmost importance.

They understand your loved one's condition and how that condition expresses itself. For example, if your loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and tends to become hostile, the caregiver you select should know how to deal with tense situations and create a comfortable environment for everyone. If you need the caregiver to assist with bathing, toileting or dressing, they should have experience with those tasks and perform them with professionalism and ease.

They are willing to do menial tasks. Maintaining a clean and neat living environment is essential to the health and safety of your loved one. Be up-front about the amount of housework the job will entail in interviews and pay attention to the potential caregiver's response. A good caregiver should be willing to do tasks such as cleaning the toilet and understand the importance of seemingly small tasks like it. They should also be honest about any agency rules that limit what services they are allowed to provide.

They know their professional limitations. Because companion caregivers are typically not medical professionals, they cannot dispense medications, apply medicated creams or provide wound care. A good caregiver can remind the elder to take his or her medications, but cannot legally do tasks like filling pill boxes or sorting pills.

They know proper emergency procedures. When accidents and emergencies happen, it is important that caregivers can react calmly and responsibly. A competent home care provider will have established procedures in place for handling any crisis situation.

They are employed by a licensed or certified caregiver agency. Caregivers are human and are subject to making mistakes like all of us. You want your caregiver to have enough insurance coverage to pay any bills that might result from a mistake. A caregiver employed by an agency will almost always be covered by the agency's corporate or group liability insurance. Licensed providers are not only monitored by the state they also can evaluate a senior’s home care needs, alter the services offered depending on the person’s situation and send another staff member if the regular home care provider is not available for their shift.

When it comes to choosing care for your senior loved ones, take your time and be thorough. Involve your loved ones in the process and ask them about their preferences and needs in order to select a caregiver who will meet all of them.
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