As your elderly loved ones go through their day-to-day lives, they may end up needing some assistance to overcome the challenges of aging and declining health. They may find it difficult to stand for long periods, walk, or reach high or low objects.
Furthermore, as much as you might like to, it’s often impossible for family members to provide all the support aging relatives need. Luckily, there’s an entire industry of caregiving available to help supplement this, and take care of your elderly loved one.
That being said, you do need to tread carefully. Not all caregivers or caregiving organizations offer the same level of care. In fact, some are negligent or downright abusive. So, here are five tips to help you choose the right caregiver for your senior loved ones:
Ask About Training And Experience
Caring for the elderly isn’t as simple as you might think. The whole process requires proper training and experience.
Sure, a charming personality is a big plus, but don’t forget to ask about their training and experience. For instance, you’ll want to make sure they have their ACLS certification, demonstrating they can respond to a cardiac emergency.
The professional caregiver of your choice should also know about safe procedures for senior care, such as the best methods to assist a senior who can’t walk to enter and exit a modified bathtub. Ideally, the caregiving expert should also be actively participating in training opportunities to maintain the freshness of their skills.
Get Family And Friends Involved
Consider getting your loved ones involved in the decision to hire the services of a particular caregiver. While you can conduct initial interviews yourself, it’s good to get other close family members or friends involved so they can provide additional feedback and clarify the decision.
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It’s also worth noting that you’ll want these people to be comfortable interacting with the caregiver as well, so they don’t feel a barrier to comfortably visiting your aging relatives.
Assess The Needs Of Your Loved One
Different people have different needs, and that is especially true when it comes to senior care. For example, a senior citizen with dementia will have different assistance requirements than an aging individual with diabetes.
On that note, the process of caring for dementia patients requires cognitive or comprehension exercises to keep the brain active. Conversely, diabetes patients may require special diets to ensure their blood glucose levels stay within normal levels.
The caregiver you choose should have the knowledge and experience to adapt their help to the specific needs of your senior loved ones. But, that individual should also provide emotional care, along with preserving the physical and mental well-being of your aging relatives.
Consider choosing another caregiver if the professional has the training and certifications you’re looking for, but doesn’t care for their patients’ emotional well-being.
Observe Patience Levels
One of the challenges of caregiving is exercising extreme restraint in the presence of patients. In other words, the caregiver should tolerate the personality of their patients even when they are being unreasonable and mean-spirited, among others.
For example, some elderly folks tend to lash out at people for no significant reason. Your elderly family members might become angry for seemingly minute events, such as finding a speck of dirt on the table. In this sort of situation, the professional caregiver needs to exercise patience. They shouldn’t retaliate with hurtful words and actions or lose their composure.
You can request for a trial run to see whether the caregiver you’re considering is patient enough during the job. Observe if the person you hire can handle different situations well without losing their cool. If the patience of the professional you choose breaks down after a few unforeseen events, then, consider choosing another caregiver.
Look for someone who has excellent interpersonal skills. Remember, proper communication doesn’t only tackle the verbal aspect of conversing with other individuals. It also has to do with being able to read body language and understand when your relatives might be uncomfortable, so they can proactively mitigate the source of discomfort.
Thus, the personal caregiver you choose should have excellent verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Aim to hire a professional caregiver who displays a positive attitude in all their communications, as they will be spending a great deal of time with your aging relatives.
You’ll also want to make sure the person you chose to care for your senior family members will be able to give you regular updates during times when you aren’t able to frequently visit them on your own. Furthermore, you need to have the confidence that you won’t be left in the dark as to the changes in their physical or mental well-being.
When considering which caregiver to choose for your loved ones, you need to make sure they have the right skills, experience, and personality. It’s well worth making sure they have up-to-date life support certification, and that they demonstrate patience in their interactions.
Most of all, make sure you and your elderly loved ones are comfortable with the caregiver. That way, you can sleep comfortably at night, knowing that your senior family members are in capable hands.
Updated: May 26, 2020