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How Can I Be A Good Caregiver?

There are Caregivers all around us in Louisville and Southern Indiana.  But that doesn’t mean they are all great caregivers. What can separate the great caregivers from the rest is their attitude and work habits that stand out.

Here are some of the traits that make someone a good caregiver:

  1. Prior to agreeing to care for a senior, understand their needs, wants, wishes and routines. Make sure you are comfortable and able to assist the client with all of these areas. Map how far the senior is from your home to ensure you can arrive ten minutes prior to the shift start time. When you accept a shift or ongoing client, be dependable and show up on time. 

  2. Once you have accepted a client shift, place the shift in your calendar, arrive in clean scrubs, be well groomed and provide excellent care and customer service. 

  3. Upon arrival, smile, look the client and family members in the eye and introduce yourself with your name and company. Refer to them as Mr or Mrs unless requested to call them an alternate name. Ask where to place your belongings including your food and drink. 

  4. Follow the plan of care and the client’s wishes. Be proactive and take initiative to do things like cleaning, exercising with the client, or making a meal without the client or family asking. Give choices to the client. 

  5. Keep your phone and ear buds on silent and out of sight the entire shift. Do not conduct personal business while on the clock. Focus on the client and their needs. 

  6. If visitors arrive, ask the client if they would like some privacy and find some tasks within the home that can be completed – laundry, cleaning, meal prep…while the visitors are present. Offer the visitors something to drink. 

  7. Be caring and compassionate. Provide emotional support for the client. Use encouraging words to build confidence. It’s the little things and extra effort that make a big difference. 

  8. Use patience when working with the client. Understand their limitations, strengths and weaknesses. 

  9. Listen to what is being said and what is not being said through nonverbal communication. Communicate, be positive and aim to solve problems

  10. Get to know the client but avoid controversial subjects like religion, politics…

  11. Maintain professional boundaries with the client and family. Do not share personal struggles with the client. Do not share your personal cell or email with the client or family.  

  12. Keep client information confidential and private. Never discuss another client in front of anyone other than the office staff and a caregiver relieving you from your shift. 

  13. Clock in and out from the scheduled telephone clock in the system. Complete all administrative tasks. 

  14. Document all factual information and account for all activities completed with the client. Share a shift report with the next caregiver so that they understand what is currently going on with the client. 

  15. Be a team player and work well with other caregivers, the family, the facility, the office and avoid gossiping. Never yell or use profanity or threatening language. 

  16. Report changes in the client’s mental or physical condition immediately. 

  17. Maintain excellent hygiene – wash hands upon arrival, prior to and after conducting personal care, prior to making any meals, prior to leaving for the day, after cleaning and laundry. Wear all the protective equipment including a mask to protect the senior and you from COVID-19. 

  18. Ask for help if needed from the office or for clarification from the client or their family. 

  19. Prepare for changes as seniors’s conditions are always changing. 

  20. Know yourself and take care of yourself so that you have the energy to take care of others. Stay home if you are sick but call as soon as you know you are ill so that the advance arrangements can be made. 

  21. Plan ahead to schedule time off for vacations and holidays. 

  22. Make excellent decisions in your off time to maintain clean criminal and drug screenings.

  23. Aim to make a difference each and every day in the client’s and families’ lives.


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Elderly patient with her in-home caregiver


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