When someone gets older, sometimes their ability to be independent reduces, along with their cognitive function - this can lead to people around them becoming a little patronising. The best carers know that even if an older adult is struggling, that they are a person with a long life experience, who was once functional. Exceptional care is not about just providing physical support; it’s about finding a way to engage with people emotionally, and respect is the key to doing this well.
Compassion and empathy are amongst the most important qualities for a carer to have. As people get older, it can be a confusing, challenging and sometimes upsetting process. Things that people used to find easy can become difficult. The best carers have empathy with this and understand the emotions that people are going through, as they adjust to changes in their lives.
The best carers are often also the best communicators. Simply by communicating clearly and consistently, you can provide important reassurance for clients and their families. It is also essential when you are working as part of a wider team, who may include other carers, healthcare professionals or even family members. The more you communicate, the better the care.
A lot of carers have to be responsible for making sure that clients do things like stay hydrated, eat regularly take medicine and get to appointments on time. The consequences of these things not happening can be serious, and even life-threatening in some cases. That is why being dependable and committed is essential.
Sometimes spending time with older adults can be a little frustrating! Small things can seem big for people who are losing some of their mental capacities, and memory issues can also lead to repetition. Easy tasks can also take a lot longer to finish, which can make create irritability and frustration, and at times even aggression. The best carers are patient enough to cope with these situations when they arise and to stay calm and kind.
Some of the best carers we know are confident and generally optimistic people. If you have a sunny disposition, it can be very helpful, as many older people suffer from low moods, and can at times be challenging. A carer should ideally be someone who has confidence in what they are doing as well as having a positive tone. This type of person is often best at engaging with clients to cooperate in day-to-day tasks, for example, eating and bathing, at the same time as brightening their day.
The wellbeing of an older person can change very suddenly. The best carers will notice any signs of deterioration very quickly and address them immediately. Things like a lack of appetite, weight gain or loss, increased irritability or confusion, can all indicate a possible underlying problem.
Often people who become carers have personal experience of caring for a loved one or watching others in their families do so. This is not essential, but we often found that those who have witnessed this in their own lives have additional empathy for their clients, and treat them with the same compassion they would like their own loved ones to be given.
From mandatory training to the RQF Diploma the best carers are people who are excited and willing to study and train. With ever-changing regulations, and also advances in medical care and technology, this is a career we will always need to be learning.
It may sound obvious, but the best carers have to care! Providing care for other people can be a tough job at times, which is why it is essential that you genuinely enjoy looking after others. At Cambrette we are always looking for people who have this passion to join our team.