What Makes A Good Carer?

What makes a good carer in today’s society? What is it about some people that means they seem better than others at caring for young children, disabled people or the elderly? Is it due to good training or is it a natural gift?

When many of us become parents, we can choose from a plethora of training manuals, parenting advice books, websites, television programs, and radio debates. We can attend ‘mother and toddler’ groups to learn from other parents, we can ask our own family and friends for advice, we can compare our toddler with other children. Admittedly, the advice can sometimes be unwanted and overwhelming but the fact remains that it is readily available.

It can sometimes be a different story when a parent gets older and one day, he or she requires regular care. The requirement may be a regular provision of companionship, reminders to take medication or help with personal care. While an adult child can offer companionship, he or she may live a considerable distance away so a daily visit is not possible. Some adult children are not able to provide a parent with personal care, it may be that the parent or the child isn’t comfortable with it and they may prefer to use a professional carer.  In comparison with early parenthood, there isn’t the same discussion or help available in terms of caring for an elderly parent.

A professional carer will have undertaken the appropriate training courses such as manual handling so they know how to lift a person without injuring themselves or hurting their client. They will have knowledge of first aid and will have completed courses in caring for the older person. However, as any happy client will tell you, there is more to training that being a good carer.

A good carer must be kind-hearted, caring, considerate and cheerful.  I think a happy, cheerful disposition is a must. We all know people who ‘darken’ a room as soon as they walk into it and we all know people who ‘brighten’ a room with their sunny smiles and cheerful greetings.  Having a good chat with someone can be a tonic. Carers will often have a timetable of a number of clients to visit so they must be reliable and have good time-keeping so they can spend sufficient time with each person.

Later in the week, we will be sharing an interview with you. Eithne, the winner of the Carer’s Award, told us why she loves being a carer, why she sees it as such as enjoyable and satisfying career choice and we see what a typical day for a carer can involve.

What do you consider to be the qualities necessary for a good carer? We would love to hear your thoughts.