Searching for home care services for your loved one can be a daunting task. No doubt you’ll have carefully weighed up all the pros and cons of the care options available and come to the conclusion that care in their own home is by far the best option for a much loved relative.
But how do you decide who to choose as a carer for your elderly loved one? It will help you to read our thoughts on what attributes a carer needs to have to meet the challenges involved in looking after a patient.
A Caring Nature
This may be stating the obvious but you need to feel that they care about your loved one as much as you do. Caring for people is more than just a job.
Qualifications and Experience
Not everyone is suited to caring for a person who may have complex health needs, or is disabled, or suffering from dementia or simply becoming frailer. Having qualifications to their name shows their dedication in learning about the task but the most important qualification is often experience. This is particularly relevant where there are complex medical or mobility issues and you should look for someone who is experienced in caring for those in this category.
They Should be Observant
A live-in carer is often the person best placed to notice changes or deterioration in their patient’s condition and behaviour. Older people can change very quickly and signs such as changes to appetite or weight, increased confusion or personality changes are all things which could indicate a problem requiring medical intervention. A good carer knows what to watch out for and when to call in professional help.
Respect, Patience, Empathy and a Sunny Nature
Caring for someone day in, day out is not just a job it’s a vocation and one which requires endless capacity for patience and good humour. Older people can be challenging to look after sometimes especially where there is dementia, confusion or anger and a carer with a sunny disposition can encourage their patient to cooperate and accept care.
Difficulty in doing previously easy things, memory lapses or physical limitations can lead to aggression or depression in the patient and caring in these situations must be done with the utmost patience and understanding.
A good carer will always demonstrate respect for the person their patient is and was, recognise that the patient once lived a life that was independent and free from the limitations and frustrations of old age and can connect and communicate easily with their patient in an empathetic way and without being patronising.
Reliability and Practicality
When you know your loved one relies on their carer for everything including personal care and taking time-critical medications it’s important to be sure that the carer is utterly reliable and responsible in how they carry out these important tasks. It’s also vital that a carer is never squeamish about helping with personal tasks like dressing wounds, bathing or assisting with toileting and never makes their patient feel awkward or embarrassed.