Senior Caregiver Tip: Be Dependable

by Eric Corum

If you are looking to either get into or become more proficient in the senior care space, there is one quality that you must absolutely have: Dependability.  The importance of this cannot be overstated.  Regardless of how well you may get along with the senior that you are helping, if they cannot depend upon you, your employment relationship will falter.

It is very easy to say “Be Dependable”, but how does a senior caregiver actually do it?  I think there are a few easy steps you can take to make yourself more dependable:

  • Be honest about your availability and willingness to perform various tasks.  What does honesty have to do with dependability?  Well, I have seen time and time again where a helper indicates that they are willing to do something, but in reality, they are not eager to do the job because it will be a hassle.  What inevitably happens is that the helper ends up finding all sorts of excuses for not being able to perform the task.  This is a major let-down for the senior.  Be honest with the senior up front and tell them if you are not keen on working the hours asked or performing the task requested.  If you do accept the request, though, you must follow through with it!
  • Keep your car running well.  Transportation issues can hit anyone, but they are much more likely to hit those who are not performing regular maintenance on their car.
  • Have childcare contingency plans.  This one is relevant for the mom’s out there who do caregiving/helping while their kids are in school, daycare, or being watched by a babysitter.  What I have often see is that when the babysitter gets sick, the helper has to take off to watch the kids.  This is all understandable, but, at the end of he day, it is disruptive for the senior who needs some help.  The best thing a caregiver/helper can do is try to line up some alternate child care plans.  I had one caregiver ask the senior client whether it would be OK if they had to bring their child with them from time to time.  It was a great discussion to have because the helper was able to determine how realistic of a contingency plan this was.

At the end of they day, I see dependability as being a function of honesty and preparedness.  Knowing this, it is very possible for helpers to take concrete steps in making yourself more dependable for the seniors you care for.

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