Becoming the Best Caregiver You Can Be

March 26, 2021

Article exclusively written for joyshouse.org by Alicia Shawn

Caregivers are fast becoming some of the most needed workers in the US. In contrast to the falling fertility rates, the number of seniors in the country continues to rise. Because of the quickly growing aging population, it is expected that the demand for caregivers will also increase. Already half of those above the age of 65 require some sort of long-term care.

This is where caregivers come into the picture. Caregivers are tasked with helping seniors and others that need assistance live their life to the fullest. Aside from that, caregivers also provide their clients with emotional support in all matters. In this post, we’ve listed below a few tips that can help you become the best caregiver that you can possibly be.

Nurture a Relationship Built on Trust

When tasked with taking care of an elderly person, you should be able to create a relationship built on trust. Aside from gaining your client’s trust, you should also have faith in your abilities. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been working as a caregiver. Whenever you’re faced with a new client, you always have to start from square one.

A lot of clients don’t feel comfortable sharing their current life situation, family relationships, or medical records ⁠— and this might make it difficult to provide them with the amount of care that they need. In this regard, be sure to talk to your clients and figure out their needs. From there, you can create a safe and comfortable environment for your clients and help them realize that you’re there to help them live a fulfilling life.

Create Personal Boundaries

Additionally, you should also set your own boundaries. Being a good caregiver doesn’t mean compromising yourself in order to provide your client with round-the-clock care. However, this might put you in a difficult place as your client might feel dissatisfied with your services if you don’t jump up every time you are called. If your client has a non-urgent issue that you can’t attend to right away, be sure to acknowledge them and tell them that you’ll get to it as soon as you’re available. This way, your client won’t feel ignored and you won’t have to sacrifice time attending to personal matters.

Deepen Your Knowledge in Caregiving

You don’t stop learning as a caregiver as soon as you finish the training program. Your knowledge in caregiving will expand as you encounter different clients and experience the ins-and-outs of the caregiving industry. However, some clients have special needs that you might not be able to fulfill with a basic caregiver training program.

For instance, taking care of people who have Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia will prove to be especially challenging for caregivers that don’t have the right training. If taking care of clients with cognitive disabilities is something that you want to specialize in, you might want to receive training from gerontology and geriatric nurses.

For those looking to become a nurse, the good news is that today’s careers in nursing are not limited to hospital settings, and you can choose to specialize in specific areas such as geriatrics, informatics, genetics, and community health. All these will help you provide better care for seniors both as a nurse and as a future caregiver. For instance, becoming a geriatric nurse will help you understand how cognitive diseases progress over time and teach you how to provide the best care for elderly clients that live with these conditions.

It also pays to update your knowledge in caregiving from time to time. New findings in the world of caregiving emerge every day, so be sure to check out caregiver resources to deepen your caregiving knowledge and improve your skills.