As a Registered Nurse and family caregiver with a Ph.D. in human services, Dr. Eboni I. Green specializes in health care administration. She co-founded Caregiver Support Services with her husband in 1997 to provide training and support for families and frontline direct caregivers.
Dr. Green loved providing direct care but wanted to reach more people. She chatted with us recently about self-assessments for caregivers and other aspects of her rewarding profession.
What are the essential qualities of a top-notch in-home caregiver?
Compassion, commitment and a positive attitude are at the top of the list. Compassion is by far the most important quality as clients and their families are depending on you to provide care that preserves dignity, privacy and affords the opportunity for seniors to reach their highest level of functioning.
Commitment to the client and family. Having the ability to put the needs of the clients first, having the ability to multitask and prioritize based on the client's most pressing need is vital. Being punctual and reliable is equally important.
Commitment to caring for themselves. Caregivers who are not afraid to ask for help or reach out when there is a question or concern also tend to have greater longevity.
A positive attitude goes a long way!
On the other hand, what are some things that make someone not right for that line of work?
Caring for seniors is more than a job! You may not have the characteristics or longevity if you are not coachable or open to teachable moments, if you are not dependable (clients are basing their lives and schedules around what you say), and if you have a negative attitude. If you are prone to being stressed or high strung you might want to reconsider.
How important do you think self-assessments for caregivers are?
Self-assessment is empowering! It is vitally important to the longevity of caregivers. Just as your client's needs change over time, so too will your needs. Having to ability to assess your situation and locate proper resources or training will benefit your clients and enhance your well-being.
What should self-assessments focus on?
Self-assessment should focus on the in-home caregiver's well-being. Tools that keep in mind that the needs of the caregivers change and vary depending on where they are in the caregiving cycle.
How can one use self-assessments to do better at their work with seniors?
Assessing your needs creates a benchmark, it is empowering and it increases likelihood that you will care for yourself while you care for others.
What are the most common mistakes caregivers make?
Trying to be everything for everyone. Doing tasks or providing supports when you are not properly trained. Not communicating when you have a concern or need help.
How can a caregiver most effectively improve their abilities and qualifications?
Training, training, training!
Do you have any advice for those who want to become caregivers?
Make sure that you seek out a reputable organization, get training prior to performing task and make sure that you are comfortable - even if you need someone to review something with you a two or a three times. Much of what you are doing is personal but it is important not to take negative responses or attitudes to heart. Most of the time another's attitude has more to do with the situation and not you personally.
Is there anything else you'd like our readers to know?
Self-care through self-assessing is empowering and is the best way to increase your longevity as a caregiver. You cannot take care of others if you do not take care of yourself.