How to be the best caregiver you can be

Good caregivers are those who naturally have an urge to help others.  Becoming a good caregiver isn’t something that will necessary happen immediately, but if the basic qualities are there, those people can develop their skills over time to become great. As a care giver you help to make the day a little brighter, a little lighter and a lot happier each time you care for them. And it’s the simple things that are often the most appreciated.

Here are fifteen care-giving tips that will surely help in becoming an excellent caregiver.

1. Take Care of Yourself
When you become a caregiver, the first and most important step is for you to take care of yourself. You can’t possibly give support to someone else unless you’re strong yourself. Set limits if you need to and make sure to do the things that keep you happy and healthy.

2 Always be patience
When you work with someone who needs homecare it is important that you are patient and understanding. It helps to sometimes put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see what it might be like to ask people for help.

3. Build confidence and repeat encouragement
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Help the person you’re caring for strengthen their confidence that they can get through their treatment. Support them in believing that they’ll benefit by undergoing the treatment or rehabilitation, as difficult as it can be at times. Tell them that they can eat some soup or take that short walk to the bathroom, and continue to reinforce the idea. Your encouragement should be realistic and repetitive.

4. Empathy and compassion
Working with people in a home care setting, it is essential that a caregiver feel the desire to want to help. By showing both empathy and compassion caregivers will let the person they are caring for now that they care about the person and want to do what they can to help them.

5. Reliable
A great caregiver is someone that can be counted on to be there. If the caregiver says he or she is going to be there to provide home care every Thursday morning, then the caregiver shows up, unless there is an emergency. Those needing home care services need a reliable and dependable caregiver.

6. Trustworthy
Most people who need home care services are in a vulnerable position. They are inviting someone into their home to be near their valuables. A good caregiver is someone who is trustworthy in this regard, as well as in being trusted to keep the client’s information confidential.

7. Flexible
As with most things in life, home care needs may change and unexpected events can happen. A good caregiver will be prepared to go with the flow, being flexible, so that they continue to provide good home care, even if a rigid schedule isn’t being followed.

8. Start with small steps
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For example, encourage someone dealing with chemotherapy to take just a few sips of water or soup so they get needed fluids, even when nausea or lack of appetite makes it difficult. If they have had a stroke or other mobility problem, help them take just a few steps, with the ultimate goal of getting to the bathroom.

9. Remember their successes and praise them
Even when they feel that it’s impossible to eat any soup or take any steps today, remind them gently that they did it yesterday and can do it again today. Praise them every time they accomplish a task, even if it is something small, to them the littlest things matter.

10. Exercise Compassion
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When the person you’re caring for is going through a difficult treatment, sometimes the best way to help is to just sit and talk with them during their treatment—that helps take their mind off the process. Think of things that may have helped you through difficult situations in the past and share them. This may be something as simple as sharing a favourite quote from a book that helped you put things in perspective or gave you hope in difficult times. Such words of encouragement can help the person you’re caring for cope with their own challenges in treatment. You can also share your experiences about things that have helped you be resilient and bounce back during challenging times.

11. Avoid Useless Gestures
Try not to say things like “let me know if I can do anything” or “call me if there is anything I can do.” When someone is sick, they’re unlikely to ask for help. Take the initiative to provide concrete help.

12. Connect with other caregivers
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As soon as you can, connect with other caregivers. Support groups for caregivers are a great way to exchange tips and advice. Support groups also offer a way for you to express your concerns and get backup for some of the hard decisions you'll have to make along the way. Ask at the doctor's office or at a hospital about community support groups. Or get in touch with a caregiving organization.

13. Look for Non-Verbal Clues
Body language is a big part of human communication and interaction. Even if they are  unable to verbally tell you that something is wrong, their body language can still be used to pick up on changes in their mood and comfort level. If you adopt the attitude of, "Well, if you're not going to tell me what's wrong, then I'm not going to worry about it," you might be missing a critical health problem or personal care need. Be sensitive to subtle non-verbal cues. Their responses, no matter how simple, open the door for you to more accurately understand what they need.

14. Communicate with Touch
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As we get caught up in the day-to-day tasks of caregiving, we sometimes forget to show affection. Everyone needs some human touch. Giving a hug, holding their hand, or patting them on the arm can make all a difference. Attention and affection make the person you are caring for feel reassured and important.

15. Ask questions about care procedures you are not comfortable doing
You may have to provide hands-on care that you are not comfortable doing such as giving someone an injection or taking care of a wound. Do not be afraid to ask questions of health care providers, even if you have been instructed previously on the procedure.  Make sure you feel comfortable and confident so that this type of care does not cause you anxiety or stress.

 

Working as a carer is a highly rewarding role which provides immense satisfcation. if you are interested in joining our team of passionate carers or want to find out more information about the role, click 'join our care team'