8 Characteristics of a Respected Senior Caregiver

As you evaluate various individuals to hire as senior caregivers for your elderly loved one, it’s good to keep a number of criteria in mind. The following eight characteristics are ones that you can use to evaluate the fitness of a senior caregiver. It’s important that your parents, relatives, or elderly friends get the best care that you can provide for them. While a caregiver does not need to be perfect on all these points, they can serve as a good guide to evaluate the caregiver’s overall quality level.

  1. Concern for elderly and desire to help: Perhaps the most important characteristic is simply a desire to give care to a senior. The caregiver should have a genuine desire to help. A respected senior caregiver is a compassionate person who is motivated by that compassion and concern for their clients to give excellent care. This is a quality that you can gauge by simply talking to the caregiver and asking them what their attitudes toward their job are. You should be able to tell by their responses how genuinely they are motivated in this respect. This basic enthusiasm for the work they do is one of the most important qualities in a caregiver in regards to their professionalism, respectability, and appropriateness for the job of caring for your loved one.
  2. Friendly attitude toward clients: In addition to this, the caregiver should have a friendly attitude toward their clients, meaning both the children or other individuals responsible for initiating the care and the individual receiving care. A respected and respectable senior caregiver is friendly and easy to do business with. This could be considered a kind of “customer service” quality of the caregiver and a good caregiver will exhibit the quality. They should answer questions in an open and friendly manner and be honest and cooperative. Both talking to the caregiver and getting references can help clients evaluate them in this manner.
  3. Certification: It is usually not legally required that a caregiver be certified. For the most part, certification courses are fairly minimal in what they cover because home health care professionals are usually not responsible for important medical decisions. Certifications may be required if the caregiver is working for agencies that are reimbursed by Medicare or Medicaid. However, a good and respectable caregiver will often have a certification or degree of some kind. So this is something to look for as well. They may have education in nursing, nursing assisting, or medical technology. Or they may simply have a minimum level of certification just in caregiving.
  4. Clean criminal record: It is fairly obvious that a respected caregiver should have a clean criminal record. They certainly should never have been convicted of any crimes involving care of seniors. Unfortunately there have been caregivers who have taken advantage of their positions and engaged in criminal behavior. This will be reflected and on their records as long as they were prosecuted. Unrelated criminal behavior is not too encouraging when it comes to the fitness of the care provider either, though the circumstances should be looked at carefully before jumping to conclusions. In general, the cleaner the care provider’s record, the better.
  5. Experience with elderly and disabled: Experience is important. Higher level caregivers usually have a fair amount of experience under their belts. They are thus able to handle a wide variety of elder care situations. While again they are generally not responsible for large scale medical decisions, they definitely do play a part in responding to emergencies, monitoring care and recovery, and offering moral support. Experience helps them excel in these areas.
  6. Good communication : Good caregivers communicate well. They make themselves clear to both people receiving care and those who have employed them in the capacity of a care provider. At the very least they have good language skills in the main language being spoken by those involved (whether it is English or another language). They may even speak several languages. Communication skills play heavily into the position and good care providers have them.
  7. Punctuality and reliability: Punctuality is an important characteristic in a well-qualified caregiver. They generally show up for work on time and can be counted on to be responsible and responsive. They are straightforward regarding their availability and keep their word. Clients want to be sure that when they have hired someone to care for a loved one, that individual will conscientiously show up and be reliable.
  8. Good references: In light of all the other qualities mentioned here, senior caregivers will generally have good references from other positions. This is not to say that they never have made any mistakes. Just as with any other profession this one is learned by experience. So past mistakes may be part of an individual’s learning process. However, respected caregivers often show a genuine desire to correct mistakes, and in getting better at their profession, gain good recommendations from their previous clients.