What Makes a Great Caregiver?
What makes a great caregiver? For starters, compassion, competence and the drive to help others.
Another good quality? Being the same age/generation as the person/people in your care. In the case of seniors, who better understands your needs than another person of a certain age, someone who’s walked a mile in your moccasins?
Deciding who cares for you or your loved one is a very personal choice. Sometimes a peer can be the best advocate.
What to Expect From a Caregiver
So what can you expect from a senior caregiver?
For starters, agencies like Seniors Helping Seniors match clients with mature caregivers, certified home health aides and certified nurse assistants. Each helps people remain independent and living at home. Client needs range from socialization and companionship to transportation and personal care.
Specific needs drive each partnership, dictating how much or how little assistance is required. Help can be provided for a few hours or long term. Help includes:
Dusting, vacuuming, organizing, laundry, making and changing beds, leaving more time for activities you actually enjoy.
Activity is an important part of the wellness equation, but arthritis, imbalance and chronic illness can limit mobility. Senior caregivers can help with transfers, encourage exercise, or accompany clients on walks. Besides just making people feel better, movement improves circulation, helps control weight and keeps minds sharp.
Organizing and consolidating:
Cognitive and physical challenges can make keeping clutter at bay challenging. A fellow senior understands. Caregivers can stay on top of paperwork and laundry and keep things organized in your loved one’s home.
The fear of falling while dressing or bathing can cause seniors to skimp on personal care. A senior caregiver, who can empathize with that fear, can keep your loved one looking and feeling her best.
How many times have visited a loved one and found the previous three days’ medications still in the pillbox? Caregivers cannot, by law, administer medications, but they can remind clients when it’s time to take a pill. They can also explain prescribed dosages or open containers, if needed.
Meals and nutrition:
Nothing says comfort like comfort food. A caregiver can encourage better nutrition by finding new recipes to try. In addition, help can come in planning, preparing and serving favorite meals (meat loaf and mashed potatoes, anyone?!), shopping for healthy groceries, and purging expired foods from fridge and pantry.
Caregivers can be called upon to get Mom to and from the doctor, supermarket, hairdresser or diner.
If your loved one is passionate about the theater, movies and concerts, these activities don’t have to fall off the cultural calendar as he/she ages. A caregiver can transport and accompany clients to their favorite activities.
A great caregiver can help keep you or your loved one remain healthy, engaged and vibrant. To find the right one, contact Seniors Helping Seniors or a home health care agency near you.