Hiring a professional caregiver for your mom, dad, or grandparent is a major decision, one that’s not always easy to make. After all, you’re asking a stranger to look after one of the most important people in your life. If you’ve never hired a caregiver before, you might have no idea what to look for in an ideal candidate. 4 Must-Have Qualities in a Caregiver
That dilemma is one that Visiting Angels President and CEO Larry Meigs is familiar with. “I’ve worked in home care for more than two decades. In that time, I’ve met countless families who felt nervous about bringing a professional caregiver into their home. Putting them at ease and helping them find the right caregiver for their loved one is a big part of the home care process.” 4 Must-Have Qualities in a Caregiver
According to Meigs, many of these families are unsure what qualities they should look for when hiring a caregiver. The important qualities, he says, are the same ones that care agencies look for when hiring new caregivers. To help families find the right caregivers for their loved ones, we recently asked Larry what he considers to be the four must-have qualities in a caregiver.
The first quality that Meigs believes distinguishes great caregivers is compassion.
“When someone reaches the point where they need home care, that’s always a sensitive situation. Many seniors feel self-conscious and nervous about hiring a caregiver. They might be defensive about strength, mobility, or memory concerns, or they might be embarrassed about needing a stranger’s help with personal activities.
“Nothing makes a bigger difference in these situations than a compassionate caregiver. Having someone with the empathy to understand what seniors are going through — someone who will treat seniors with respect, no matter the situation — that’s someone who I’d want caring for my mom or dad.”
The second quality that Meigs highlighted was a caregiver’s experience.
“When I’m looking at caregiver candidates, one of the first things I’m looking for is past care experience. But quality experience doesn’t always need to come from a home care setting. Many of our offices have found some of their best care staff by focusing on non-traditional experience, such as caring for their own family member. We look for caregivers who demonstrate the personality, skills, and approach that we consider essential to home care. Looking at a caregiver’s professional experience will really give you a sense of how they treat others and what kind of person you’re hiring.” 4 Must-Have Qualities in a Caregiver
Along with compassion and experience, Meigs says that dedication is an invaluable quality when hiring home care providers.
“Caregiving isn’t always easy, and not everyone has the dedication that you find in successful caregivers. When I’m hiring a caregiver, I’m looking for someone who is going to stand by their clients through thick and thin, someone who’s willing to go the extra mile when it’s needed.”
Meigs says that one way to gauge a caregiver’s dedication to people in their care is to ask them about past clients. “The way caregivers talk about past clients says a lot about their attitude toward care. If someone’s willing to talk down about a past care recipient, they may not be willing to go above and beyond in service to other seniors.”
The final quality that Meigs includes in his top four is patience.
“There are situations that come up in almost any care relationship that demand patience from care professionals. When these situations arise, it’s vital that caregivers have the personality and temperament to maintain a calm, kind, and gentle presence.
“Whether they’re dealing with a frustrating situation, a repetitive or unpleasant task, or a care recipient who no longer has control of his or her own temper, caregivers need to be able to maintain that kind, gentle, and understanding approach that distinguishes superior care.”
Thinking of hiring a caregiver for your parent or grandparent? If so, we invite you to contact your nearest Visiting Angels office for a free, in-home consultation.
4 Must-Have Qualities in a Caregiver 4 Must-Have Qualities in a Caregiver 4 Must-Have Qualities in a Caregiver 4 Must-Have Qualities in a Caregiver 4 Must-Have Qualities in a Caregiver