Working as a caregiver is one of the most rewarding jobs there is. You get to make a real difference in someone’s life and this can be deeply fulfilling. However, there is also a great responsibility that you cary as a caregiver – especially if it’s for a senior. It’s your job to look after them physically, mentally and emotionally. Not everyone is cut out for the job of caregiving. If you’ve been thinking of becoming a caregiver, read on for more information on the skills you will need to have.
Perhaps the most important trait to possess, compassion is the foundation upon which caregiving is based. You’ll need an unlimited supply of it and be ready to give it out unconditionally. Many home care clients are is distressing or painful situations (they’re recovering from surgery, they suffer from dementia, they have a crippling disability etc.). You need to have plenty of empathy and a deep rooted desire to help other people.
You’ll receive initial instructions and a guide to what your patient needs in terms of daily care, medicine etc., but other than that, the daily routine – i.e. non-medical care – is up to you and your senior. You won’t have a doctor or someone from your caregiving agency to guide you. You will need to be able to take initiative and make informed decisions, especially in the case of an emergency.
This trait goes hand in hand with compassion. You need A LOT of patience. Most seniors will have some or another type of challenge that they’re dealing with – cognitive impairment or some form of ailment for example. These could lead to you having some interesting conversations, repeating yourself multiple times and even cleaning up after accidents. You need to be equipped with unwavering calm and remember to treat your patient with respect.
Having excellent communication skills will be helpful as a caregiver but more than that, you will need a keen eye. Some of your patients might not be able to communicate effectively with you about what’s going on with them. Some might even try to hide some things from you – a deterioration in their condition for example. You need to be able to detect differences in their behaviour and how they interact with their surroundings.
You will need a very good sense of both personal hygiene and general cleanliness. It will be part of your caregiver duties to do some light house cleaning and to help your patient with their personal hygiene like bathing and getting dressed.
If you feel like you meet these 5 necessary traits and want to become a caregiver, head on over to our jobs page and check out our open vacancies.
*Please note that these vacancies are only available to Canadian citizens.