The Greatest Generation is Counting on You.
As life expectancies increase, more of us will participate in the caregiving process of a spouse, family member, friend or by becoming a professional caregiver. No matter who you are caring for, being a caregiver is a labor of love. And with the uncertainties of the world around us, this is a great time for us to share a few things to help guide you along the way.
- Empathy and compassion. It is essential that the person you care for feels like you really care and want to help to keep them safe. An exceptional caregiver will also see to their mental and emotional needs as well. This comes by forging a deep relationship, really listening to their stories or answering their questions. How wonderful would it be for the person you are caring for to not only know you want to keep them healthy and safe, but to keep them mentally stimulated and emotionally fulfilled?
- Patience. We can’t overemphasize the importance of a caregiver having ample patience. When caring for a senior adult, it requires near endless patience to continue to show love and compassion through stressful and challenging moments. Showing patience over and over again will ensure that the person you care for feels appreciated, secure and loved.
- Reliable. As a caregiver, you are the eyes and ears. You must be able to speak up should you see anything that may be concerning. An exceptional caregiver is a leader and self-starter who is proactive about providing the required care and securing additional services if needed. The person you care for needs to know they can count on you.
- Finally, continue to look for ways to demonstrate that you respect the privacy and dignity of the person you care for. By maintaining as much independence as possible to experience a greater quality of life, through the smallest opportunities, will help them regain and maintain as much independence as possible.
Unfortunately, caregiving can take a heavy toll if you don’t get adequate support. Changes in the family dynamic, financial pressure and the sheer amount of work are just a few of the stressors involved in caregiving. Be sure to take time for yourself to decompress and never be afraid to ask for help.
Exceptional caregivers have always placed a priority on helping people to make the world a better place. Becoming a good caregiver isn’t something that will necessarily happen immediately, but if the basic qualities are there, you can develop these skills over time to become great!