Being a caregiver can be incredibly rewarding. Whether it is your actual job, or you found yourself in the position of having to care for a loved one, caregiving is an important and necessary job. It is done with love, patience, and intention to give the person you care about the highest possible quality of life.
The need for caregivers in America has grown in the last decade. Half of all American adults have at least one chronic condition for which they need help from a caregiver, family member, or friend. To be a caregiver, you need to know how to connect with the person you are caring for, and you need to learn strategies for planning and problem-solving, all while you are taking care of yourself.
If you are a caregiver and are looking for better ways to do your job, here are some tips and qualities to follow to be a great caregiver.
Build Internal Confidence
Moods are often infectious. When it comes to caregiving, your approach to a situation can determine the reaction of the patient to the treatment plan. Help the person you are caring for by strengthening their confidence and helping them believe they can get through their treatment. Be optimistic and support them in the belief that they can get better. Growing this desire to get better will ultimately help the patient, the family, and yourself.
Work on Planning Skills
Life is unpredictable; however, maintaining a schedule can help you provide better care by reducing stress and improving efficiency. Plan days by assigning priorities and set realistic goals you want to accomplish. Once the daily plan is completed, start doing the most important things first. Also, make sure to pace yourself so you can have the ability to give adequate care without risking your own health.
When planning your priorities, consider the patient’s hobbies and likes, breaking up the routine and providing entertainment options like field trips or introducing board games to the patient will help in relieving stress and lightening the mood.
Aging can be hard on people when they are slowly losing their independence, function, and friends. A great caregiver knows how to empathize with these feelings and help the patient feel better about their situation. Empathy will grow the relationship between the patient and their caregiver, by establishing trust.
For empathy to grow in a relationship, be a good listener and show you understand the other person's situation while encouraging them to believe it will get better. Empathy can also grow by sharing past experiences and making new memories together.
Respect the Patients Autonomy
It is important that you not make the patient feel like they have lost all control of their life. Respect their autonomy by allowing them to continue to do activities they enjoy that would not put their health at risk. It doesn't matter if you are caring for a client or a loved one.
It is important not to underestimate their abilities. Grow trust and facilitate open communication to determine what they can and cannot do for themselves. Remember that most of the time the person you are caring for still wants to do things for themselves, and just may need encouragement.
A good caregiver is calm and understanding about the patient's ability. It is important not to get frustrated or exasperated when dealing with patients. Take the time to allow them to move at their own pace without making them feel rushed.
A flexible mindset is a valuable caregiver trait. Needs and wants change over time. Medical conditions can worsen or become better overnight. A caregiver needs to understand the enormous responsibility their job entails and adapt to changing situations.
Be a Good Listener
No one can read minds, and there is no way to understand a patient's needs and pain unless they communicate it to you. Remember, not all patients are open and trusting. That is why being a good listener is crucial for a caregiver.
It is good to get to know your patients and, over time, get used to their way of communicating. Not everyone will openly admit they need help. But they might throw some hints at you - expressing they would appreciate the help.
Take Care of Yourself
The common quality of a caregiver is forgetting to take care of themselves. There is no way to give support to someone unless you are strong yourself. Make sure to take breaks, communicate your needs, and work on your health. Even while taking care of others, don't forget that your own needs are also important.
Let Deano’s Senior Transit Help
Introducing home care does not mean that you must keep a loved one from doing what they enjoy. Ensuring that your loved one can still attend social gatherings, visit with family, and accomplish typical daily routines provides them with the opportunity to live a fuller life. Our mission is to provide safe, comfortable transportation for seniors while easing the burden this responsibility may create for family members. Request your ride with us today!