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29 Jan 2018

11 Essential Traits to Being a Caregiver


Topics: Home Care

It takes a very special kind of person to be a caregiver. As a family member or friend of someone in need of care, you want only the best for your loved one. If you’re searching for a senior caregiver, make sure they possess these 11 qualities.

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1. Patience

When dealing with the elderly, it is essential for a caregiver to be patient. Older people may take longer to perform daily tasks, and depending on any cognitive diagnosis, may require a different level or type of communication. Patience is key to providing a safe and comfortable atmosphere.

2. Dependability

When the wellbeing of an elderly individual depends on your presence, you need to be there. If you are unable to make any of your scheduled visits, consistency is key. Consider having a backup, whether another family member, friend, or professional who can provide that care in your absence. Whether for physical or emotional support, your senior loved ones will benefit greatly from someone who is dependable.

3. Confidence

Being a caregiver can be a tiring and demanding job, but the best caregivers will never let it show. A caregiver who maintains a confident attitude will help your senior loved one feel more at ease with assisted care.  

4. Attentiveness

Half of being a caregiver is listening to and paying attention to a senior’s needs. Many elderly people do not want to inconvenience their friends and family members, which is why it’s important for caregivers to be attentive. This is even more important for anyone who suffers from cognitive disorders, such as Alzheimer’s or dementia. The more attentive a caregiver, the better they are able to assist them as their disease progresses.  

5. Trustworthiness

If your elderly loved one is communicating with their caregiver every day, the worker will likely have access to your loved one’s possessions and confidential information. It is important to find a trustworthy caregiver so you can rest easy knowing your loved one is not being taken advantage of. This especially important when considering whether to implement private help or use a professional home care agency.

6. Supportive

As your loved one ages, they may become discouraged with their loss of independence. It is so important for a caregiver to be supportive so that your senior loved one can feel encouraged with the achievements they can do, not what they can’t. With the proper support, both you and your senior loved one will be amazed at what they can achieve.

7. Compassionate

Every person’s situation is different. Some people may have more severe conditions than others, yet everyone wants a caregiver who can empathize with their situation. Compassion is critical to caring for anyone.  

8. Creative

It is important for a caregiver to come up with creative and original ideas to keep your senior loved one engaged, occupied, and entertained. This can be anything to trips, walks in nature, arts and crafts, or a movie day, especially on any indoor days with bad weather.

9. Exceptional Communicator

Communication with a senior loved one can become difficult over time. If their speech has been impacted by a medical condition or they simply have trouble expressing themselves, you want a caregiver who can push past the barriers and find a way to effectively communicate with them. Remember, there are many ways to communicate, even if someone is non-verbal. We can connect emotionally, with pictures and with signals.

10. Flexibility

While you want to keep the schedule of an elderly individual as consistent as possible, the reality is it can change at a moment’s notice. One slip or fall can impact someone’s life dramatically. Caregivers must be extremely flexible to accommodate the needs of your elderly loved one. A caregiver needs to be prepared for a change of plans at any time.

11. Enthusiasm

With all that is required of caregivers, they need to be passionate about what they do or they often times experience what we refer to as “burn out.” A passion for caregiving means they will provide exceptional care and will always be looking for ways in which they can improve and incorporate new and exciting activities.


Tennille Kerrigan

Tenille is the president of Senior Helpers Canada, the premier franchise that delivers on what families and their loved ones need most. She has bachelor’s degree in business administration from York University, and has over 10 years of experience as a business owner and director. With Senior Helpers, our franchisees provide the professionalism and expert care that families and their aging loved ones require.

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