1. Community
  2. /
  3. Seniors
  4. /
  5. Senior care tips
Find Senior Care

6 Traits Every Senior Caregiver Should Have

Sally Farhat Kassab
March 21, 2018

How many of these characteristics does your caregiver share?

Debby Bitticks' father-in-law was in a bad caregiver situation until she and her husband rescued him and brought him home. Now Bitticks, producer of the documentary Saving Our Parents, is sharing her knowledge with the world. Her two favorite traits: kindness and compassion.

"This lets the person feel safe and understood by the caregiver," Bitticks says. "It protects a person's dignity."

Find for an elderly caregiver for your loved one.

Here are six other characteristics to look for:

1. Willing to sit still 

"A caregiver has to just 'be' sometimes, just sit and touch the older person's hand," says Kari Berit, author of The Unexpected Caregiver: How Boomers Can Keep Mom & Dad Active, Safe and Independent. "They shouldn't feel like they have to fix something all the time. Sometimes, they just get to know the older person's history."

2. Flexibility

"If you or the next shift is running behind, would that be a problem for them?" says registered nurse Diane Carbo, founder of aginghomehealthcare.com. "There are many elderly who are confused and cannot be left alone for even a few minutes. A gap in the schedule could mean someone with dementia leaving the stove on or a diabetic eating the wrong type of food. There are many more stories of individuals calling 9-1-1 for help because they were left alone, then knocking on neighbors' doors, frightened and lost."

3. Pays attention

The doctor isn't seeing the older person every day, so it's often the caregiver that has to notice changing skin color, perhaps, or facial expressions, or how much food she's eating. Even if you've found someone who doesn't have medical training, "observing changes and getting the care recipient seen by a physician early can avoid serious illness, and helps keep the recipient in optimal health," says Angil Tarach-Ritchey RN, GCM, owner of Visiting Angels, a network of home care agencies in Ann Arbor, Mich.

4. Not afraid to sing 

In other words, are they comfortable stepping out of their shell? "You have to get out of your own self and your own ego, and do things you are uncomfortable doing," Berit says. "For example, you might take them out to a restaurant and they are a sloppy eater. You have to let go of that. It is what it is."

5. Drama free

You know that person who always seems to have something going wrong in their life? She's not the ideal person to care for your mom or dad. "There is absolutely no way the caregiver should bring their problems and drama to their care giving," Tarach-Ritchey says. There's a powerful reason why: "A caregiver who spends too much time talking about their personal issues and challenges adds to the emotional burden of the older adult who may feel compelled to help them," says Diane Keefe, former president of A Plus Aging Advantage, a geriatric care company.

6. Similar hobbies 

Is your dad a NASCAR fan? How perfect would it be if the caregiver is, too? We know that can't always happen in a perfect world, but finding a commonality will make the process much, much easier.

READ NEXT:

Comments
Alyanna in Miami, FL
May 10, 2017


You may find this article helpful:
http://www.seniorsmatter.com/s...

User
March 20, 2016

I have been a caregiver for over 20 years. I took care of my father in law and mother in law in their last days. I've work in private homes , nursing homes and group homes. I have dealt with alot of diffrent types of people and some really difficult people. I manage to find a way to het thru it and make them smile. They are a part of my family. Now I'm dealing with my own Mother who is very opinionated no matter how many times I race to her side things get turned around I talk to loud, I yelled at her or the new one is I stold some of her medication in 20 years I have never been put in a situation where No matter what I do I'm at fault. I LOVE my Mother with all my heart but I do not know what to do now any suggestions would be so appreciated.

User
Nov. 13, 2015

quite inspiring I would like to dignify our seniors the best way that they deserve.

User
Feb. 4, 2015

Very helpful article.So very often the simple things are the most useful in providing good care. Of course it is also important to learn and be well prepare to calmly provide assistance in case of emergency. Patience, sense of humor, respect and above all compassion are the traits needed the most. It helps to sing too.:-)

User in Hesperia, CA
Jan. 27, 2015

Good to know Olivia B.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

Sign up