No one has ever said being a caregiver is easy work. However, it is one of the most rewarding jobs. Not only can you allow your senior loved one to remain in their home, but becoming a caregiver for them will also provide them with a higher quality of life.
If your senior loved one is showing signs that they may require additional assistance, caregiving may fall to you as the next of kin. If being a caregiver interests you, you’ll need to ensure you possess these five traits that all the best caregivers share.
Depression can happen to anyone. At times when your loved one may be going through the loss of a friend or spouse, or experiencing health-related issues, it’s important to stay positive.
Becoming a caretaker to your loved one can allow for your positive demeanour to rub off on your loved one to help elevate their mood and spirits.
2. Excellent Communication Skills
Many seniors have some form of difficulty communicating. Whether they are hard of hearing or have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and struggle with their speech, as their caregiver you need to be able to adapt your communication skills to suit their needs.
It’s important to listen to your loved one while they are speaking and ask them to repeat anything you haven’t understood. Additionally, you may need to repeat yourself, increase your volume, or decrease your speed if your loved one is hard of hearing. Make sure you always maintain eye contact, as this makes conversing that much easier.
It’s also important to remember that the majority of communication is non-verbal. See what your loved one’s body language is telling you that their words might not be.
Senior isolation is a major issue facing Canada’s aging population. Fifty percent of seniors feel lonely and seniors who experience isolation are also at a higher mortality risk. As such, being a caregiver means you should be encouraging your senior loved one to get out there and enjoy life.
You should be encouraging your loved one to engage in as many social activities as they can. From water aerobics to bridge tournaments, there are many options for your loved one to get involved in the community. Find a class or event that interests them and encourage them to partake in the fun.
As your loved one’s primary caregiver, you’ll be the first to notice if there are any changes in their mood, eating habits, or physical health. This will be vital information to pass onto the doctor and may require you to seek immediate assistance.
In order to notice these changes, however small they may be, you’ll need to be very attentive.
5. Not Afraid to Ask for Help
Realistically, you’re not going to be able to care for your loved one 24/7. Being a caregiver means you also have to care for yourself, including taking time to pursue your interests, hobbies, and social activities, as well as getting a good night’s sleep. You can’t do this and be an around-the-clock caregiver.
For the days when you’re not able to look after your loved one, it’s important that you’re not afraid to ask for help. Whether it’s a family member or an in-home service provider, make sure you take the necessary steps to look after yourself first.