Bringing a caregiver in to help with a family member isn't always an easy task. Naturally, you want the most experienced and trained caregiver possible. Unfortunately, not a lot of families know what to look for as far as the qualities of a professional caregiver. Contact us online or call us at (919) 436-1871 to learn more about our services. The Qualities of a Professional Caregiver: What Makes Them Great? You want to consider a number of characteristics including specific personality traits and educational background to ensure they are the best fit for the job. Here are some qualities to look for in a great caregiver. Compassion Compassion and connection are part of the Aware Senior Care\u00a0WHY. Providing personal and non-medical care is part of how we meet our clients\u2019 needs.\u00a0 But, supporting them emotionally and taking part in daily activities are important aspects of care. Having compassion for someone means to have an understanding of what someone is going through. When choosing a caregiver, you want them to have compassion for not only the person they're caring for, but the whole family as well. This provides peace of mind to families. Above all, they know that their loved ones are being cared for as if they were our family, too. Trustworthiness Trust is essential to have with a caregiver because caregivers are in a position that allows them to have access to the home, as well as personal belongings. It is important that the caregivers are certified, trained, and qualified to meet the unique needs of seniors in the home. Furthermore, carefully vetting a caregiver is vital to reducing the risk of negative outcomes in care. State and national background checks, drug tests, and DMV records are helpful in this regard. Have a potential caregiver provide personal and professional references and check them thoroughly. You also want to be confident that they will not take advantage of the person they're caring for, or the situation they are in. Unfortunately, elder abuse can often go undetected if due diligence isn't done in screening caregivers. Not only will trust help ease your mind, but it works to lay the foundation of a strong relationship between your family members and the caregiver. Patience Being a caregiver is not always an easy job. No two people are alike and for some seniors, they may not initially be receptive to receiving care. A professional caregiver is loving and compassionate even during stressful and challenging times. It is a skill developed by consistently putting the needs of others over your own, which can be a difficult task for some. https:\/\/youtu.be\/hke8ek_aHkE There will be good and bad days, and at times the person they care for might be hesitant to receive care. Having patience is necessary to avoid frustration or acts of aggression. Empathy "Empathy fuels connection. Sympathy drives disconnection." "Recognizing emotion in other people and then communicating that. Empathy is feeling WITH people." -Bren\u00e9 Brown https:\/\/youtu.be\/1Evwgu369Jw It is possible that your loved one might become frustrated or embarrassed as their ability to care for themselves decreases. Your caregiver should be able to recognize that this is common among seniors who require care. Empathy gives them the ability to understand these feelings and maybe even share experiences that help your loved one feel better about the situation. Communication Skills There are two types of communication skills that you want your caregiver to possess; verbal and nonverbal. Verbal Communication We as human beings verbally communicate using sounds and words to express ourselves. A caregiver should have excellent verbal communication skills. They must be able to communicate with your loved one and with your entire family as well. It's natural to want to feel involved and understand the process of caregiving, so ensure your caregiver is equipped with the skills to help you do so. Examples of Good Verbal Communication: \tClear enunciation and speaking slowly enough to be understood \tResponses and questions are said in a calm and reassuring manner \tAlways identifying yourself and the person being cared for when speaking \tBeing encouraging, especially when your client is having trouble expressing themselves Nonverbal Communication This communication skill is important to have because many people can pick up on these social cues. From HelpGuide: Whether you\u2019re aware of it or not, when you interact with others, you\u2019re continuously giving and receiving wordless signals. All of your nonverbal behaviors\u2014the gestures you make, your posture, your tone of voice, how much eye contact you make\u2014send strong messages. They can put people at ease, build trust, and draw others towards you, or they can offend, confuse, and undermine what you\u2019re trying to convey. These messages don\u2019t stop when you stop speaking either. Even when you\u2019re silent, you\u2019re still communicating nonverbally. Examples of Nonverbal Communication: \tGestures \tFacial expressions \tTone of voice \tEye contact (or lack thereof) \tBody language \tPosture \tAny other way people communicate without using language You want to avoid hiring a caregiver who expresses frustration and disinterest with nonverbal communication. On the flip side, you want your caregiver to give positive nonverbal communication to make your loved one feel comfortable and heard. Professionalism The role of caregiving is no exception to requiring a certain level of professionalism. A caregiver should be on time, dressed neatly, and ready to assist according to the agreed upon duties. Part of being a professional caregiver is keeping the focus on the client. It can be easy to form a close relationship with your caregiver. However, you want to ensure they know when to be professional and when it's time to be relaxed. It is not permissible for caregivers to share their personal problems or needs with the client. A caregiver who understands professionalism will be able to clearly define their role as a caregiver. Integrity Integrity is about being honest and doing the right thing which is our most important core value \u2013 do the right thing. Definition: Integrity means following your moral or ethical convictions and doing the right thing in all circumstances, even if no one is watching you. Having integrity means you are true to yourself and would do nothing that demeans or dishonors you. Flexibility Life does not always go according to plan and caregiving is no exception. You want your caregiver to be flexible if there are changes to plans. Sometimes, a senior may need care for much longer than anticipated. Or they might not need care at all. It's important to anticipate things not panning out the way everyone was hoping for. Optimism It's common for aging family members who need care to start to lose their optimism. A caregiver who can radiate happiness and optimism can make a huge positive impact on your loved one. Joy At Aware Senior Care, we emphasize to caregivers the importance of bringing \u201cjoy\u201d into the lives of the clients they care for.\u00a0 Many clients are suffering from chronic illness, depression or Alzheimer\u2019s and it\u2019s difficult for them.\u00a0 There\u2019s nothing like a person that comes into your presence with a smile with a purpose of bringing\u00a0joy\u00a0to the person they are helping.\u00a0\u00a0Joy, in Aware speak has two aspects: \tOur caregivers get great\u00a0joy\u00a0in what they are doing (joy is \u201ca feeling of great pleasure and happiness\u201d) \tOur clients have the same feeling because they have a caregiver who genuinely cares for them and they can feel the \u201cjoy\u201d coming from their caregiver.\u00a0 So they experience\u00a0joy\u00a0when our caregiver comes to be with them. Expertise A caregiver's academic advancements and certifications aren't the only qualities that make them amazing at what they do. Check and see what training and certifications they have achieved so far in their careers. Continuing education and additional training on top of the state's minimum requirements are usually good measurements of quality. Specific Experience Finding a caregiver who has experience with specific conditions that your loved one has can be beneficial. For example, your loved one has diabetes. A caregiver familiar with caring for someone with diabetes is better equipped to handle the daily routine. Keep in mind that this quality isn't a necessity. But, it can be a nice bonus on top of their education and expertise. Where to Look for an In Home Caregiver Now that you have an idea of what qualities make up a great caregiver. You can begin your search to find the perfect match for your family. At Aware Senior Care, we are dedicated to helping your family through a difficult time. Please reach out if you need assistance with transitioning a loved one into in-home care.