6 Caregiver Qualities

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Updated: June 9, 2022


elderly care for your elderly parents

Many qualities are necessary when looking for a caregiver for your loved ones to keep them safe

Choosing an in-home caregiver for an elderly relative is an extremely important decision.  In this situation, you are looking for so much more than a licensed professional; you want someone who will treat your loved one with the same respect and kindness as you would. It’s also important to find a professional caregiver with a personality that will mesh well with your elderly loved ones. There are certain traits that every caregiver should have such as a good disposition, non-argumentative temperament, ability to deal with stress and overall compassionate nature. The following is a listing of additional qualities to look for as you interview potential caregivers.

1) Personality

Personality is the single most important quality to look for in a family caregiver, as all of the professional training in the world will not change an individual’s attitude.  Ask questions that will help you get a sense of a person’s compassion, empathy, patience, and selflessness. Some home care patients prefer a caregiver who is chatty especially if they are particularly lonely or love to talk. Or the opposite may be true, if they prefer a quieter person to spend their time with. Remember, if they require 24-hour companion care, you want to be sure they really get along with each other!  Also, be wary if a candidate immediately approaches you with a list of items they will not do.  With the exception of things that require medical expertise, a caregiver should be open to most assignments.

2) Experience

Another critical quality to look for in a caregiver is experience.  This does not necessarily mean you should hire someone with the most experience overall, but rather the type of caregiver  who has experience handling needs similar to those of your loved one. If your loved one is diabetic, they may need someone who is trained in fall prevention techniques and will be able to lift a certain number of pounds.  Or if they have Dementia, you will need a home care worker with that skill set. The home care company you choose should be able to match your aging loved one’s needs to a qualified caregiver.

3) Training

Both formal and informal training can result in an excellent caregiver.  However, if your loved one needs personal care assistance, such as with dressing, bathing, and using the bathroom or even running errands, you should seek someone who is a Certified Home Health Aid. It’s a good idea for your home care provider to be trained in CPR as well. You can check the minimum caregiving requirements by clicking here.

4) Honesty and Reliability

Never hire a caregiver without checking their references.  From previous employers, you can get a good sense of the caregiver’s honesty and reliability.  You want to verify that the caregiver will neither steal from your loved one’s home nor inaccurately portray the number of hours they have worked.  You also want to check to be sure the caregiver is known for showing up on time, every time, unless prior arrangements have been made. Always use a care provider who holds their caregivers accountable by clocking in and clocking out via the patient’s home phone. It’s also important to be sure the potential caregiver does not accept gifts from their patients especially those with any form of Dementia.

5) Accountability

Ask questions that will draw out the potential caregiver’s ability to accept personal responsibility for their actions.  If you get a sense that they are quick to place the blame elsewhere when things go wrong and do not hold themselves accountable, trust your gut instinct and look elsewhere.

6) Finances

Unless you are hiring through a home healthcare agency, you should be prepared to discuss financial payment arrangements with your caregiver.  Understand that it is only natural for those proving home care to ask for the pay rate they believe they are worth, and it does not necessarily mean they are in the field just for the money and not for the love of their work.

So, if your loved one has declined a senior living facility and would like to receive in-home health care, this list is a great place to start in finding your perfect match. Consider a medical alert device in conjunction with your caregiver for times when they can not be there. Our LifeStation reviews will give you the latest product information. We hope we’ve been able to help you know where to start with your care plan.