When it comes to being cared for, regardless of our age, we all like to know that there is someone there to look after us and support us when we need it. There is no denying that the elderly are more likely to need this support, to enable them to continue to lead fulfilled and happy lives.
Be it medical, practical or emotional support, elderly people deserve a care companion who can understand exactly what they need and deliver support in a personalized and empathetic manner. A live-in care companion, with experience relevant to personal care for the elderly is often the best option and this is the reason home carers and companions are so much in-demand.
So, if you are also looking to become a carer or companion, consider whether you have the relevant skills and attributes to carry out the following duties efficiently…
5 qualities of effective carers / companions for the elderly
1. Personal Care and Safety
Ensuring safety and providing personal care for the elderly is a key aspect of this role. Everything you do as a care companion rests on providing a safe and caring environment, giving support that enables the best possible quality of life. You will need to be compassionate and kind and you will believe in treating others with dignity and respect. The need for personal care may be minimal or may involve haircare, keeping nails tidy, help with dressing, bathing, showering and intimate personal care.
The degree to which you will need to provide Healthcare varies greatly, from supporting taking medication to more specialist areas requiring qualifications and training. You have a responsibility to ensure that prescriptions are administered correctly and medical and dental appointments are made and attended. As a minimum, you will need a knowledge of basic first aid, knowing what steps to take in an emergency.
3. Preparing food
This involves getting to know personal likes and dislikes (including any special dietary needs), supporting shopping for food, ensuring value for money, preparation of meals and snacks and managing a well-balanced and healthy diet. A knowledge and enjoyment of cooking and an understanding of nutrition and health and safety are essential.
4. Managing the home
Cleaning, washing and ironing are often an important part of the carer’s role. This can also extend to liaising with other services, such as window-cleaners, gardeners, etc. Experience in this area is important. In some instances, you may be responsible for ensuring that bills are paid on time and you will need the ability to manage money and keep basic financial records.
5. Wider duties of the role
You will need to be both proactive and responsive in helping to maintain engagement in interests and relationships. This may involve driving and a valid driving license can be essential. Trips out, visiting friends and supporting interests are important aspects of the carer’s role. You may need to undertake some household admin as well. It’s all about providing quality of life, being reliable and knowing when and where to get additional help if necessary.