Compassion is a necessary skill for a rewarding career working with people. At Cherished Companions, we consider compassion part of the job qualification of a caregiver. If you care deeply about others and value relationships, a caregiver career path may be your calling.
What Makes a Caregiver Career Rewarding?
Like every job, caregiving comes with challenges. Caregivers serve clients with a variety of needs, backgrounds, and personalities. The one thing every caregiving career has in common is that you work with people.
If you believe people matter, caregiving will naturally have significance for you. We have also found several strategies that keep the positive, rewarding aspects of a caregiver career at the forefront. As a result, our caregivers have purposeful jobs and meaningful relationships with clients.
10 Strategies for a Rewarding Career in Caregiving
#1: Put People First
There are several types of caregivers, but every role has one thing in common: clients. When you serve a caregiver, you’re showing compassion to a human being. They are someone’s parent, spouse, child, sibling, and friend. Every client has a name, a story, and a personality. Since compassion is the heart of caregiving, always approach caregiving tasks putting the person you serve first.
#2: Keep the Big Picture in View
Caregiving responsibilities can be repetitive. Some tasks even feel menial or futile. It helps to keep the big picture in mind. The little things you do add up to make a big difference in your client’s lives.
#3: Practice Self-Care
In order to take care of others, you have to take care of yourself. Establish the kinds of habits for yourself that you would want any of your loved ones or clients to have themselves. Take the time to maintain your health physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially. Learn how stress affects you and what helps you combat it.
#4: Take a Team Approach
Most of the time, clients have more than one person invested in their well-being. You may be one of several family members or other caregivers who are supporting your client. A team approach will help you see how you are giving back and can relieve potential feelings of isolation as a caregiver. It also allows for different strengths to contribute to the overall well-being of the client.
#5: Connect With Other Caregivers
Whether or not you are part of a team of people supporting each client, it’s helpful to connect with other caregivers. They don’t have to have clients in common with you to be able to offer some support and advice. You can make connections with other caregivers employed by Cherished Companions or through caregiving networks like National Alliance for Caregiving or Caregiver Action Network.
#6: Go With The Golden Rule
Sometimes clients have difficulty expressing their gratitude or letting caregivers know they are doing a good job. Help yourself find affirmation and assurance in your role by asking “is this how I would like to be treated?” If the answer is “yes,” you’re doing great.
#7: Enjoy Your Work
About 83% of caregivers say they find their role to be a positive experience. One of the reasons is simply enjoying the work. Smiling, sharing humor, swapping stories, and listening well are all naturally positive elements of showing compassion to clients.
#8: Savor the Sweet Moments
Supporting clients through challenges can be wearying, emotional, and difficult. To help yourself hold onto the positive, meaningful parts of your work, savor sweet moments. Write them down, have momentos, and save things like thank-you notes you may receive.
#9: Keep Learning
The situations and responsibilities caregivers face will grow and change all the time. Continuing to learn helps you be more competent, compassionate and effective in your role, which will make you a better caregiver. Take advantage of training opportunities and stay up to date with information about caregiving, like what we post about on our Cherished Companions blog.
#10: Ask for Help
Don’t be afraid to ask others for help. Caregiving is the most rewarding when you feel equipped to do a great job and are well enough to extend genuine compassion. If you are overwhelmed, feel stuck, or aren’t sure what to do, reach out to your supervisor.
Are you looking to make a difference as a caregiver?
Consider joining Cherished Companions in our mission to provide compassionate home care. As a top-ranked workplace in Ohio and the nation, we are looking for caregivers who share our commitment to quality, compassionate care for seniors and their families. Call or apply online today!