Caring Careers: What Kind of Person Is Suited For Providing Elder Care and the Rewards of the Job?

Caregiving can be a challenging profession, but it has wonderful rewards!

Angil Tarach-Ritchey RN, GCM notes five core qualities that an excellent caregiver possesses. She says, “In a paid caregiving position there are those who have something special within them and those who are just making an income.  Not everyone is suited to provide care to the elderly.  So what are the characteristics that an excellent caregiver has?

  1. Empathy:   A good caregiver can totally put him/herself in the place of who he/she is caring for and then he/she will do nothing but provide excellent care.
  2. Dependability:  Someone who is in need of care has lost some degree of independence.  They have to be able to depend on the person or people providing assistance to them.
  3. Patience:  It takes a patient person to provide care when we can move and process quickly, but the person we are assisting cannot.  A good rule of thumb is to allow a person to do as much as they can for themselves, and to avoid doing things for a person they can do for themselves.  Every single time a person with dementia asks a question, they truly believe it is the very first time they have asked it.  Accordingly, a good caregiver will respond as if it’s the first time they heard the question asked.
  4. Strength:  When a good caregiver may be having a bad day, the care recipient may be having a bad day, and the caregiver may be burned out…times like these call for strength.
  5. Flexibility:  Caregivers have to some of most flexible people.  Things can change in an instant when caring for someone.

There are other qualities and characteristics that make a good caregiver, but they stem from the core five.  Being kind, and gentle stems from empathy and patience.  Obtaining the best healthcare possible is a result of empathy and strength.  Keeping the care recipient safe comes from empathy, dependability and strength.  Every situation and every caregiving moment spent will require empathy.”

So why would do people choose a career as a caregiver for the elderly?  Caring for the elderly offers many rewards and benefits!  Lynsey Keep, a writer for, identifies a few of the rewards caregivers receive:

  1. Experience:  The elderly have a wealth of lifetime experience and want nothing more than to share those experiences with their caregivers.  It often will surprise caregivers at how much they enjoy the opportunity to listen to the wealth of experience the elderly have and how entertaining it is as well!
  2. Gratitude:  The rewards of helping a needy elderly person are incredible.  Most elderly people are extremely grateful for the work done by their caregivers.  It brings smiles to both the caregiver and the care recipient.
  3. Making Friends:  Elderly people often require more one-on-one care than younger more able people.  That additional time for care presents a wonderful opportunity to create laughter and conversation with someone who may be lonely or frightened.
  4. It’s good to talk:  Elderly people are often “grouchy” because they are worried and unsure of what they are experiencing.  Caregivers providing a “home-like” feeling by talking with and engaging their care recipients feel good knowing that positive verbal stimulation is the one thing that can always lift both the caregivers and the care recipient’s spirits.

For a powerful perspective on caregiving for the elderly, I invite you to watch this video – “A Parent’s Wish.” Just click on the link below and be prepared and have a tissue on hand!

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