Taking care of people is something that takes a lot of different strengths. When it comes to taking care of the elderly, the job has a number of challenges that can only be met by a certain type of person. However, it can be an incredibly rewarding career, giving your time to take care of those who cannot care for themselves. You can provide a friendly ear to listen to, and learn from someone who has been on this planet a lot longer than you have, and sometimes hearing about someone elses life, knowing you’re helping to keep them well looked after, is a reward that money cannot buy.
However, not everyone has the capabilities necessary to provide care to the elderly, and here we discuss the key characteristics aged care workers should have.
Keep reading to find out.
Are you responsible enough?
One of the most important traits a caregiver should have is responsibility. Knowing that another person depends on you can be scary, but a responsible person knows what this responsibility means and will always take care that things like regular medication times are adhered to and appointments, though perhaps not convenient, are attended on time. This will inspire trust in the elderly person you are taking care of, and they will know that you can be relied on for care.
Are you caring?
Looking after an elderly person requires a caring nature. Knowing how to make someone feel well cared for is key in making sure they are happy, settled and secure. Words are not enough. Kind actions go a long way towards being caring, and can make all the difference to an elderly person. Kind, thoughtful gestures will let the elderly person know that they are not a burden, and that you care enough to look after them properly.
Are you flexible?
You may be required to attend to your patient at times that are not necessarily convenient to you. Working flexibly will be key to making your patients feel secure, as they know when they need you, you will be there for them. Additionally, flexibility in terms of the way you work is important. Different patients have different needs, and you cannot treat different people all in the same way. A flexible approach to the way in which you take care of an elderly person will go a long way towards establishing a good relationship.
Are you respectful enough?
Respecting our elders is something that comes naturally to many of us, but it may surprise you to know that some people were not brought up this way. The ideas, thoughts and feelings of an elderly person are just as valid as your own, so it’s imperative that respect is given to their needs, wants and feelings and privacy where required. Whether that is to allow them some privacy when dressing or washing them, or being respectful enough to ask how they are and converse with them, respect is a virtue that all good elderly caregivers must possess.
Have you got the patience?
Extreme patience is required to be an effective caregiver for an elderly person. Not being able to do this so well, or as quickly as they want to may frustrate elderly patients, and they will need your patience to ensure they don’t feel hopeless. Being patient over a long period of time will help to grow a bond between you and your patient and you will likely see an improvement in mood and temper should something go wrong.
Are you supportive?
Growing older can be difficult for elderly people, particularly if they begin to lose their independence. Supporting them throughout this time, by either being someone to talk to about their feelings, or helping them to retain some independence can make an elderly person feel happier and more at peace with the situation. Many elderly people have no family, and you could be the only person able to provide the support they need to live comfortably and happily.
The above characteristics are those that are needed to provide a level of care to the elderly that can help them not only deal with growing older, but allow them to feel like they are still a person, and are able to be treated as such. Looking through the list, if you feel you possess some or all of these characteristics, perhaps a career in caregiving could be for you.