December 28, 2018

Caregivers aren’t all cut from the same cloth—but the great ones all have common threads.

Some of these threads are apparent and easily recognizable, while others are more subtle and only reveal themselves over time.

At Companions for Seniors, when we’re looking to bring a new caregiver onboard, we look for these threads.

In our experience, the best caregivers almost always have personal reasons for choosing this profession. So often we hear them tell a story of how they took care of their mother or grandmother, and how that experience gave them the drive to be of service to others in need. At some point or another, they recognized that being able to connect with and be a support system for their clients gave them something most jobs can’t: fulfillment.

Below, we’ve taken the time to list out six characteristics we tend to see in the very best caregivers. What would you add to to the list?

1.) Willing to Sit Still

A caregiver has to just ‘be’ sometimes. At times, what a situation calls for is a caregiver who is able to just sit and be with their client. Great caregivers don’t always feel like they have to fix something all the time. They have the capacity to sit still, to be in the moment, and to get to know the person they’re looking after.

2.) Flexibility

If the family member of the client or, perhaps, the next caregiver coming on shift is running behind, a great caregiver is able to take it in stride and put the care of their client first.

Flexibility is a remarkably important skill in a caregiver. There are many elderly adults who are confused and cannot be left alone for even a few minutes. A gap in the schedule could mean someone with dementia leaving the stove on, or a diabetic accidentally eating the wrong type of food. There are countless stories of individuals calling 9-1-1 for help because they were left alone, then knocking on neighbors’ doors, frightened and lost.

3.) Able to Pay Close Attention

The doctor isn’t seeing their patient every day, so it’s often the caregiver that has to notice physical changes, perhaps, or the clients’ facial expressions, or even how much food they’re eating. Even without medical training, a caregiver can closely observe changes in the older adult, and making the agency and client’s family aware. This can help the client to avoid serious illness, allowing them to healthier, and more independent, for far longer.

4.) Not Afraid to Sing

The greatest caregivers are unafraid of singing their song. In other words, they’re comfortable stepping out of their shell. A great caregiver has to be able to put aside their self and their ego, and be willing do things they may be uncomfortable doing. For example, a caregiver might take the client out to a restaurant, where the client is a sloppy eater. Great caregivers never let such things affect them, because they understand that is what it is.

5.) Dependable and Drama-Free

You know that person who always seems to have something going wrong in their life? They’re not the ideal person to care for your loved one. There is absolutely no way that a caregiver should bring their problems and drama to their caregiving. There’s a powerful reason why: A caregiver who spends too much time focusing on and talking about their own personal issues and challenges only adds to the emotional burden of the client, who may feel compelled to help them. Everyone goes through things in their life, but the best caregivers have the ability to leave all of the negative sides at the door, so that they can be a positive presence for their client as soon as they enter their home.

6.) Similar Hobbies

Does your mother like to crochet? How perfect would it be if the caregiver who works with her does too? We know that matching up each and every client with a caregiver who shares their passions can’t always happen, even in a perfect world. But finding a commonality can help make the process much, much easier. The very best caregivers are able to find their similarities to clients, and make connecting with them that much simpler and more powerful for both parties.

About Companions for Seniors

If you have a loved one that you believe could benefit from the assistance of a caregiver, please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of the professionals at Companions for Seniors.

Our caregivers are trained, bonded, and insured, and are available to help seniors in the greater Chicago area, including the city and suburbs. Our experienced staff is here and happy to help work with your family to develop a personalized care plan for your loved one.

We believe in helping seniors to maintain a higher quality of life physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We’ll help the older adult in your life to lead an active and enriched lifestyle, by connecting them with their community and nurturing meaningful relationships.

As a company, we believe in fostering an open dialogue and sharing ideas; always going the extra mile with our services; and providing flexible care at the right price for every household. If you feel like Companions for Seniors might be the right fit for your family, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.