Essential Qualities All Caregivers Need

Oct 19, 2017

Essential Qualities All Caregivers Need

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For those who are new to caregiving, this role may seem a bit foreign and even overwhelming at first. Although there are lots of people who find caregiving comes naturally, you may be wondering just what this important responsibility requires…

The caregiving experience is shaped by several factors, such as their loved one’s health condition and the amount of assistance they need day to day. Beyond taking into account all of their various medical needs and lifestyle preferences, there’s a certain essence that caregivers seem to embody which allows them to really provide for those in need. While the following may not be the definitive qualities caregivers need to possess, they’re certainly among the universal traits in caregivers. 

Practice Empathy 

Honestly, devoting such a large portion of your time to someone else as a caregiver is one of the most selfless things anyone can do. With that said, such an incredible feat is made much more difficult for both the caregiver and their loved one without practicing empathy. It can be the case that medical situations involve a very objective approach to providing solutions, however, true results often come from caring through the eyes of the person on the receiving end. 

Being able to provide caregiving services while incorporating the thoughts, feelings, and experience of a patient or loved one can go a very long way. Not only does empathy allow a healthier relationship to form, but it can also improve your ability to respond to tough or confusing situations as a caregiver. 

Be a Problem Solver 

While it’s important to stay mindful by approaching situations empathetically, caregiving also requires a great deal of objective problem-solving. You may be hard-pressed to recall a day when your caregiving routine went exactly as planned, thereby prompting you to resolve various issues and tensions along the way. This is perfectly normal, despite how irregular things may become from one day to the next. 

Remembering that you’ll need to remain cool in tense situations will help to ensure the right course of action for both you and the person depending on your care. The worst scenario is for both a caregiver and a care receiver to panic at the same time! Although certain scenarios can become a bit concerning when someone’s health is involved, your job as a caregiver should always be to remain steady and work to solve each problem with a level head. 

The Virtue of Patience 

As a way to gel our first two points, patience definitely requires an empathetic understanding and a logical, action-oriented approach. Whether or not someone is open to your caregiving can greatly impact the degree to which they choose to cooperate while receiving care. At times, you may feel as though you’ve reached an impasse, and yet your reactions to stubbornness or difficulty should only really take a constructive approach. 

To say it frankly, most people don’t choose to put themselves second — we’re sort of limited to experiencing our own thoughts and desires before perceiving those of others. Still, getting angry or frustrated with someone you’re caring for should rarely (if ever) be expressed to them. It is natural to experience these stressful emotions, yet letting them influence the positivity of your actions won’t yield the best results for someone in need. Remember to take deep breaths and formulate logical solutions while incorporating a loved one’s point of view. 

Communication as a Caregiver 

The uniting idea of everything we’ve discussed so far is establishing a healthy way to communicate with your loved one as a caregiver. Whether it’s discussing the day’s plan, listening to their concerns, or imparting crucial medical information or concepts to them, it comes down to one’s ability to clearly and compassionately communication. 

Words are very powerful things that allow us to share incredibly complex concepts or sentiments with one another in an unrivaled way. Considering that human speech has no inherent meaning beyond the intentions we seek to express, it’s often not what you say but rather how you say it. As a caregiver, your job is to ensure your loved one is understanding of the goals that need to be accomplished. At the same time, this means listening to the person receiving care to really gauge their needs and whether these goals are creating positive results. With the added layer of things like “doctors’ orders,” communication really relies on blending constructive information about how to care for someone with their understanding of what this care entails. Or it may just come down to them feeling safe, loved, and cared for.

Overall, keeping a positive attitude on the surface, even if you have your doubts or frustrations, can maintain a sense of security for those receiving care. This isn’t to say that you should ignore your emotions about a situation, but rather choose the best way to respond to tough situations. Caregiving can be stressful, but it is a very rewarding and humbling experience. Practicing these ideas as a caregiver can hopefully help throughout your journey or be just what you need to get started today!

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