Qualities of a Caregiver
I always ponder if anyone can be a good caregiver for an elderly. Can you become a good caregiver by reading a book, attending special trainings or simply gaining experience through hard knocks and trial-and-error? I believe it is a combination of the inherent qualities, experience over time in providing care and learning from others that makes a caregiver superb. Hands-on experience will hone your skills and continual education will deepen your knowledge and understand in elder care.
Now, possessing suitable inherent qualities is something else. In my opinion, these inherent qualities form the foundation for one to become a quality caregiver. If a person is quick-tempered and inpatient, I will argue that such a person will have an uphill task to become a reasonably good caregiver. As the Chinese saying (江山易改,本性难移) goes: It is easier to alter the mountains than to change one’s character.
Qualities of a caregiver
When I hire a caregiver, I will always test the heart and less of the head.
To be compassionate means to feel the emotions of another person which, naturally, is a vital quality for working in social care. Once you are able to put yourself in the person’s shoes, you will be self-motivated to make things better for the person. A good caregiver will empathise with their conditions and inabilities to follow through tasks effectively. Hence, one must step up and assist them to accomplish the tasks jointly.
Handling elderly people, particularly those with memory disorders, can be frustrating. They are in their own worlds and have their temper and idiosyncrasy. As if these are not enough, they will go into a long rigmarole about tackling different issues and problems. Seemingly simple tasks can take much longer to complete which opens up to frustration, irritation or argument. A good caregiver needs to be patient enough to handle each situation that arises calmly, without getting flustered or resentful.
Elderly people are generally frail, feeble and vulnerable. They are unable to physically retaliate or escape in the face of danger. A good caregiver will not take advantage of their conditions and bully them. In fact, showing respect of their seniority is so paramount in providing care. Who knows, we may be able to learn from them a tip or two about handling and embracing life.
Image starting a day showing a grouchy face to the elderly. The atmosphere will be tense and unlikely any positive things will come out from it. Like all customer service industry, having a happy and cheerful persona regardless of situations will always carry a positive attitude and motivate collaboration.
The high quality of care to the elderly depends on the conscientious actions and well-intended efforts by caregivers. The qualities and personalities of a caregiver remains a crucial foundation to enhance the care experience and professionalism. Having said all these, all caregivers must continuously learn from others on caregiving and upgrade themselves to pick up new skills and techniques to handle tough and unexpected situations.
I will leave you with a quote from the Bible:
Galatians 5:22-23 RSV
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.
Written by Tommy Tan
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