Caregiving can be an extremely rewarding career for people who enjoy being nurturers and tending to the needs of others, but it is not for everyone. It can be demanding, stressful, and even heartbreaking. For the men and women who do enter this field, they must feel that the benefits outweigh the tough times. It requires a lot of patience and dedication, and most importantly – compassion.
The duties of a caregiver might entail the following:
- Personal care (feeding, dressing, bathing, medication reminders)
- Meal preparation
- Assistance with household chores (laundry, grocery shopping, light cleaning)
- Help with mobility out of bed and to and from the bathroom
- Transportation to doctors appointments
The goal of home care is to help clients remain as independent as possible for as long as possible. Some clients may only need help with one or two of these tasks, others might need extensive assistance. Caregivers must be willing to take on a wide range of responsibilities, depending on the unique needs of the individual, while providing high-quality care.
The qualifications to be a caregiver will depend on the state you will be working in. Currently MAS Home Care has locations in Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. The types of professionals we hire may differ slightly depending on the state, but the goal of providing first-class home care is always the same.
Caregivers in Massachusetts for example may be hired as companions, personal care attendants, homemakers, personal care homemakers, certified nursing assistants, or home health aides. They need have at least six months of experience, plus:
- Clear CORI check
- Clear driving record
- TB test or chest x-ray
- Excellent references
- Verification of a CNA license
- CPR certification
Visit our Maine caregiver page, as well as those for New Hampshire and Rhode Island, to learn more about the requirements in your area.
Top 5 Qualities of a Caregiver
Even with all the right credentials and a willingness to do what is needed of you, there are some personal qualities that are necessary in order to succeed as a caregiver. They cannot necessarily be taught and not everyone has them. If you do, then they will help you to be the best caregiver to a person who really needs the support.
It is vital that caregivers have empathy and compassion for the people they are caring for. Many clients have illnesses or disabilities that prevent them from doing many things; perhaps activities that they once loved. While some families are there for them day in and day out, others live a more solitary life. They come from a wide range of backgrounds and it is important that caregivers are able to understand their situation and show them that they care. Caregivers should treat their clients with the kindness and consideration that they would a loved one, or that they themselves would like if the roles were reversed.
There is a reason people arrange to have home care. They cannot care for themselves as fully as they would like to, so they must rely on others. Caregivers need to be there when they say they will and put their full effort in while there. Imagine not being able to get out of bed on your own and your caregiver doesn’t show up, or calls to say she had to cancel? It is quite an unfortunate situation to be in, so it is crucial that they have someone they can depend on.
Not all patients are easy. Some are more difficult than others and will test you. They may move slowly, respond slowly, and forget simple things you told them. They can also have sudden changes in mood or behavior, that you must be prepared to handle. Caregivers must learn to work at the pace of the person they caring for, and not to take it personally if they can’t remember a past conversation or instructions you gave them.
Although you may think you have your time with a care recipient all planned out ahead of time, situations can arise that throw you for a loop. Caregivers must be able to think quickly and be flexible with their time with the person. It may turn out that the clients health has fluctuated since you last saw them, or they could be in a mood where they are uncooperative. Whatever the situation, if you are willing to be flexible it will help you both get through the day easier.
Yes, you have to be physically strong to help the person with mobility, but more importantly you have to be mentally strong! There will be bad days, but if you rely on your strength you will be able to go back and try again tomorrow. Care giving is not always easy. Clients will push your buttons, or you may feel very sad to hear of a client you care for who took a turn for the worse. It is more than normal to have feelings of sadness and frustration, but it is how you handle them that will determine if you are cut out to be a caregiver.
So do you think you have what it takes to be a caregiver? If so, then don’t hesitate to contact MAS Home Care. We are always looking for enthusiastic professionals to meet the needs of our clients. Use our contact page to find the location nearest you, or apply online right now below!