April 8, 2019

Are you looking to give your senior loved one the care and attention they need, while allowing them to remain in the comfort and security of their own home? Are you looking for help caring for elderly family, so that you can reclaim time to rest, recharge, and refocus? If so, in-home care might be the right fit for you.

In-home care – also called non-medical home care, respite care, or simply home care – can help your senior loved one to age in place safely, securely, and independently. Home care comes with countless benefits. It offers seniors the opportunity to live life with more freedom, flexibility, independence, and comfort. At the same time, it gives back peace of mind to family caregivers, and is typically significantly less expensive than institutionalized care.

In-home care, of the sort provided by Companions for Seniors, is a great way to connect the senior in your life with many different services, including:

  • Assisting with activities of daily living (such as using the bathroom, walking, or grooming)
  • Providing companionship
  • Playing games
  • Assisting with shopping, meal prep, and cooking
  • Providing laundry help
  • Offering light housekeeping
  • Providing driving and transportation services

As you begin to look into home care, you may find that there are many different providers and options out there. Choosing the right caregiver is an incredibly important decision, with the potential to make a big impact on your senior loved one’s health, happiness, and well-being.

As you get started, it may help to have some guidance on what makes a caregiver truly great. When you look for the in-home caregiver or companion who will be the right fit for your senior loved one, don’t hesitate to do some research and ask some big questions. Above all, it may help to look for some of the common characteristics that unite the best caregivers.

What qualities should you look for in a caregiver for your senior family? As you consider new caregivers, ask yourself if they meet the criteria that are most important to you. Are they…

… Dependable and Trustworthy?

A caregiver or agency needs to be available, on a schedule that works for you and your senior loved one. Can you trust them to be where they need to be, on time? Are they reliable and true to their word? Are they accessible? Can you reach them by phone, email, or social media?

… Honest?

Caregivers are often called on to spend hours with seniors in their own homes. It’s important that you can trust them to act with the utmost honesty and integrity at all times, including respecting your senior loved one’s belongings. You must be able to trust that you can hold this person accountable, and rely on them when it comes to recording their hours, discussing your loved one’s experiences, and more.

… Patient?

Patience is a virtue, but it is also a skill. We believe that the very best caregivers have the ability to simply be still sometimes. It’s important for caregivers to be accommodating, have the capacity to live in the moment, and always know to respect the wishes and boundaries of the person they’re caring for.

… Empathetic?

It’s important for caregivers to sit down and really get to know their clients. True caregivers bring love and compassion to their day. They find the joy in caregiving, and remember that the focus should always be on empowering their senior charge to live life to the fullest. It is essential for a caregiver to be able to put themselves in their clients’ shoes, so that they can truly connect and understand what they’re going through, and adjust their care to match.

… Attentive?

It’s often going to be up to the caregiver to keep a watchful eye over a senior. Day to day, this is going to mean looking out and meeting the elderly client’s needs, as they come up. Being watchful and attentive is also about looking at the big picture, as well. Many times, it will fall to a caregiver to notice physical changes in the senior, to keep track of accidents that occur, or to monitor how much food they’re eating. From there, the caregiver should be able to effectively report what they see to the senior’s family or medical team, so that the elder can remain as healthy, safe, and independent as possible.

… Flexible?

It is essential that a caregiver knows the importance of putting their clients’ needs first. Senior care is not a “one size fits all” proposition, and caregivers will often have to adapt to sudden changes and be accommodating. The ability to “go with the flow” is a crucial skill for many caregivers. A truly great great caregiver is able to put aside their ego, and be willing to do things they may be uncomfortable doing. For example, a caregiver might take their client out to a restaurant, where the older adult is a sloppy eater. Great caregivers never let such things affect them, because they understand that is what it is. At Companions for Seniors, we look for caregivers who are not afraid to step out of their shell and sing their song.

… Experienced?

As you begin to research different care providers and agencies, don’t hesitate to ask questions about their past experiences, and look for references. An experienced caregiver will be able to talk openly about the challenges and successes they’ve faced in the past, and provide a list of references. You may also want to look at different groups’ websites and social media, to get a sense of their approach to care, or find reviews on platforms like Yelp or Facebook. You should also feel free to inquire about any training that the caregiver has received. Do they understand risk management and fall prevention? Have they received training in helping seniors with activities of daily living (ADLs)? Do they have experience working with seniors with dementia, or chronic pain?

… Able to Lend a Hand Where It Counts?

Is a prospective caregiver able to provide the services that your elderly loved one needs, on a schedule that works for them? For instance, can they offer driving services in a fully insured vehicle, to help your loved one make it to appointments and social events? Can they help with food shopping and meal prep? What about assisting with ADLs and performing light housekeeping?

… The Right Fit?

WIll this person be able to click with your senior family? For instance, your quiet adult may prefer a more talkative companion, to help bring them out of their shell – or, conversely, they may prefer a caregiver who also appreciates a peaceful silence. Does the caregiver have any interests or hobbies that might align with your senior’s? It’s important to find a caregiver who will be able to connect with your senior, in one way or another. Finding commonalities, even little ones, can make the impact of care that much more powerful for both seniors and companions.

… Professional?

A caregiver should always comport themselves respectfully and professionally, and be ready to be held to the highest standards. The best caregivers know that the attention should be on the client. Truly great caregivers have the unique ability to leave all of the negatives at the door, so that they can be a positive and helpful presence for their clients at all times. Similarly, great caregivers tend to turn to this profession because they find fulfillment and meaning in it. Is your caregiver passionate about their duties? As you interview prospective caregivers, don’t hesitate to ask about the person’s goals, guiding philosophy, and why they’re interested in caregiving.

Ready to Ask for Help for Your Aging Loved One?

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

Our caregivers are trained and bonded, and are available to help seniors in the greater Chicago area, including the city and suburbs.

Whatever your needs, our thoughtful and accommodating 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. Our mission is to 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 online, or give us a call at 866-910-9020.