Five Lessons I’ve Learned Throughout My Career in Caregiving
Although I am still (relatively) young and still have a large portion of my career left, I have learned some valuable lessons that I want to share with you in hopes of preparing you and giving you more insight into this profession. Although not all situations have positive outcomes, all lessons learned can help create positive situations and outcomes in the future. As a Certified Home Health Aide, who started out at the New Jersey Caregiver Academy, I have come a long way. I learn something new each day but instead of overloading you with an extensive list, I’ve condensed it to five valuable lessons I’ve learned throughout my caregiving career.
1. Patience. Patience. Patience.
Sometimes even the kindest, sweetest souls lack the virtue of patience. Keep in mind that your senior client may be suffering from conditions like Alzheimer's or Dementia, or may be hard of hearing or suffering from a physical ailment. Slowing things down instead of rushing is beneficial for the both of you.
2. Not every day will be rainbows and butterflies and THAT’S OK.
Although we wake up each morning hoping for the best, sometimes we are met with obstacles and bumps along the way. Obstacles including bad attitudes, refusal of care, aggression, and other unpleasant things. When I first started, I was expecting smiles all around, but that’s simply not the case. However, I can tell you that for every unpleasant day you have, 3 good ones are right around the corner.
3. Its okay to say no sometimes.
During my first few months, I took on too many clients and was completely overwhelmed. If you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, it is okay to say no when you feel your performance may be jeopardized. You want to be able to give the best quality of care to your current clients and not be stressed out or over exhausted.
4. Write everything down, and I mean everything.
From medication schedules, changes in health, mood, or behavior, and even when to feed the cat. Write it all down. It helps so much to keep a notebook or anything you use to take notes. I am scatterbrained as it is so having written documentation is a huge help. Also, you are responsible for
5. The smallest thing can make the biggest difference.
This may sound cliche, but a small kind gesture can go a long way. One of my clients was feeling down because she couldn’t visit her family for Thanksgiving. She only had access to a house and non-smart cellphone. I used my iPhone to let her facetime her children to see them face-to-face, and it was like you told her she won the lottery. She was elated, and I felt awesome. The reason that small acts of kindness go such a long way is because it shows that you actually take time to get to know your client and value them. A personal touch approach to caregiving is the way to go.
If you are interested in becoming a caregiver but unsure how to proceed, follow in my footsteps by enrolling in the New Jersey Caregiver Academy. We have a Certified Home Health Aide Program that offers online classes to fit your busy schedule. Even if you aren’t sure that this is the profession for you, give us a call at (609) 416-2442. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have about this amazing profession! Alternatively, you can visit our FAQ section on our website to learn more!