Do I Have What It Takes To Be A Professional Caregiver?

With so many caregivers in the field, how do I know if I’m competent and credible in performing my job?  Today’s blog will discuss professionalism in the caregiving industry and why we should pay attention to this issue.

What Is a Caregiver?
A caregiver is someone who provides care in the home for an older, chronically ill, or disabled family member or friend. The time spent caring may vary from a few hours at a time to many days. This takes dedication and time, and requires a genuine passion for helping others.

What Do Caregivers Do?
Some common tasks include:

  • Personal care such as bathing and dressing the client.
  • General housework such as food preparation, cooking, cleaning, laundry, and gardening.
  • Assisting with medical needs such as giving shots and other medications and changing dressings.
  • Assisting with other needs such as handling finances, running errands to stores and businesses, and scheduling & accompanying the senior to appointments with the doctor, dentist, etc.
  • Providing pertinent information to a client, his or her friends, and family members
  • First aid interventions and recognizing of safety hazards to ensure a safe environment for the client.

Trained vs. Untrained Caregivers
While most of these tasks sound easy, it takes finesse, management ability and special training to be able to perform them effectively. For example, the simple act of lifting a person from the chair can cause strain on the back lower and legs of the lifter if he or she is not trained and aware of the proper body mechanics that must be used. This is why a caregiver should continue to train in their field.

Mental Challenges
Aside from the physical efforts, there are also the psychological burdens that the caregiver can face, such as feelings of anger and irritation at the elder for being a burden, which leads to guilt and depression. These feelings are normal, and are part of the spectrum of what is called caregiver fatigue. Stress management and conflict resolution skills are pivotal for the caregiver to develop. Having a supportive network, such as those that develop within the ATFY teams, can help alleviate the buildup of stress and negative energy.

Essential Skills
Human Resources and Skills Development Canada has identified some essential skills that are needed for a caregiver. These include, but are not limited to, literacy, numerancy, communication skills, and ability to work well with others.

What Angels There For You™ Looks For in Their Caregivers
The ideal Angels There For You™ caregiver exhibits strong knowledge of their field, willingness to continuously learn new techniques pertinent to the job, and a genuine passion for helping their clients. Underneath their professionalism must be a passion for assisting those in need, particularly when confronted with ongoing chronic diseases or other issues.