Looking for the ideal caregiver is not an easy task, but you may already have a good idea of what characteristics to look for, depending on the age and physical, mental, and emotional condition of your loved one. But whilst there are some standard traits and characteristics to look for, such as patience, reliability, and compassion, there may be other characteristics you may be overlooking as well. Some of these lesser-known characteristics can help ‘seal the deal,’ so it would be in your best interest to know what these traits and characteristics are.
The readiness to just ‘be’
What does this “readiness to just ‘be’” mean? It’s simple when you think about it. Some patients, especially amongst the elderly, do want to just have someone talk to and listen to them sometimes – basically someone to spend the time of day with them. A caregiver should therefore have the presence of mind to feel when their patient would just like to ‘have a little chat,’ and they should then be willing to set their tasks aside for a time and just sit down with their patient, listen to them, or hold their hand.
A certain amount of flexibility
Sometimes, it may happen that another caregiver who is supposed to take over the patient at a certain time is late or unavailable. So what happens then? You should perhaps look for a caregiver who is willing to be a bit flexible, especially with their time – or perhaps opt for 24 hour care at home. But unfortunately, if a caregiver is late in taking over, even with 24 hour care at home, and the previous caregiver leaves the patient, the patient may become panicky or confused.
The capacity to be observant
If the caregiver is taking care of an elderly patient or person with disabilities, it pays if they are extra observant – if they can pay particular attention to certain changes in their patient, especially a change for the worse. Physicians might not be able to visit the patient every week – so it’s up to the caregiver to be observant and notice changes such as a change in the colour of the skin, a change in appetite, or a change in mood. Even if the caregiver does not have the adequate amount of medical training, they should still be observant enough to notice distinct changes and report them when necessary.
Someone willing to step out of their comfort zone
You may also want a caregiver who is, more often than not, willing to step out of their comfort zone. This basically means doing things or tasks that they are not too comfortable with, such as entertaining their patient, reading to their patient, taking them out to a restaurant where the patient subsequently does something embarrassing, and so on.
Image attributed to David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net