Assisting with personal care, whether for a loved one or as a career choice, is demanding. But being a personal caregiver can also be extremely rewarding. The fulfillment of helping improve another person’s quality of life can far outweigh the challenges. 

If you’re starting as a personal caregiver or simply looking to improve your skills, these are our top tips for personal care providers.

What is Personal Care?

Personal care is a non-medical home care that allows homebound people to live as safely and independently as possible. It’s typically for people who are elderly, disabled, chronically ill, or those recovering from serious injuries or surgery.

Personal caregivers assist with essential yet crucial daily activities that a person may struggle to perform independently, such as bathing and dressing. This care allows the person to remain in their home rather than being moved to an assisted living facility or nursing home. 

A family caregiver often provides personal care. But a professional personal care provider can help with this type of care to offer relief for the family. 

A personal care provider performs services including:

  • Activities of daily living, e.g., bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Mobility, e.g., transferring from chair to bed
  • Companionship and engaging in hobbies and activities 
  • Medication reminders and documentation
  • Assisting with prescribed physical therapy exercises
  • Supervising safety around the house

3 Basic Rules for Assisting with Personal Care

Being a personal caregiver is a big responsibility. You have access to a person’s home and some of the most intimate aspects of their lives. Being as respectful, compassionate, and supportive as possible in every aspect of your role is vital.

3 rules to live by as a personal caregiver are:

  1. Respect Privacy, Dignity, and Client Choices. Remember that your client’s needs and wishes always come first. If they’re not comfortable telling you something or doing something, don’t force it. Help maintain their modesty where possible. Treat them with the respect and dignity you would want to be treated with.
  2. Foster a Relationship of Trust. Your primary role as a personal caregiver is to enable safety and comfort for your client, both physically and mentally. It’s crucial for a client to feel like they can trust the person spending time in their home and life. So ensure you spend time fostering your personal relationship too.
  3. Oversee Client Well-Being and Report it. As a caregiver, you must look after your client’s well-being. While you may not be qualified to assist with medical care, you should always report any health or personal safety issues you notice to your client’s family, physicians, and/or healthcare team.

Tips for Personal Caregivers

Whether you’re completely new to assisting with personal care or want to brush up your skills as a professional caregiver, below are some of our top tips for assisting others.

Maintain Proper Hygiene 

When assisting another person with their personal hygiene needs, you must maintain proper hygiene too. 

Proper hygiene helps reduce the spread of germs and bacteria from you to the person you care for. Stopping potential contamination is particularly essential if you care for someone vulnerable or with a weakened immune system. It also reduces the risk of potential infections.

Ways to maintain proper hygiene as a caregiver are:

  • Wear clean clothes to visit the client
  • Wash and disinfect your hands before touching the client
  • Wash and disinfect your hands before preparing or handling food
  • Wear gloves for bathing or toileting
  • Clean up as you go, e.g., in the kitchen and bathroom
  • Don’t visit the client if you may be sick with something contagious
  • Don’t use the same equipment on different clients without proper sterilization

Let Client Do as Much on Their Own as Possible

Every client is different. Not everyone requires the same level of help. As a personal caregiver, you must judge how much assistance is necessary on a case-by-case basis.

To foster greater independence, you should let your client do as much as they can on their own. Don’t let them become overly reliant on you just because you’re there. Your role is to assist where needed while keeping them as active as possible. 

Communicate Before You Do

When assisting with intimate personal tasks such as bathing, toileting, and grooming, it’s vital to communicate with the person you’re helping.

Let them know before you touch them. Communicate each step as you’re about to do it. Ask them if they’re comfortable or if there’s anything you can do differently to make them more comfortable. 

When working with the elderly or those with hearing impairments, speak loudly, slowly, and clearly (without patronizing). 

Always Have an Optimistic Attitude 

It’s not unusual for elderly or sick homebound clients to feel slightly pessimistic. They may get grumpy or even snap at you when you’re trying to help them.

As a caregiver, you must always remain optimistic and compassionate when assisting a client. No matter what challenges come your way, don’t get angry or snap back at them. Keep a positive attitude and use encouraging language to motivate your client too.

Stay Up to Date on Best Practices for Care Techniques

The world of care is changing and evolving. New techniques and technological advancements can help make your role easier and your client more comfortable.

You can stay current on best care practices by reading journals, articles, and blogs from credible sources. 

To further improve your knowledge and skills, you can also take specialized caregiving courses or additional certifications.

Why Families Should Hire a Professional Personal Caregiver

If you’re a family caregiver, some aspects of assisting with personal care may feel overwhelming. You want your loved one to receive the best care possible, but you’re unsure if you’re the most qualified person to provide it. That’s where a professional personal caregiver comes in.

Benefits of hiring a professional personal caregiver include:

  • Clients Can Stay in Their Homes. Having a personal caregiver come to your or your loved one’s home reduces the need for an assisted living facility or nursing home. They can feel safe in the comfort of their home.
  • Personal Care is More Affordable than a Residential Facility. Hiring a personal caregiver is more affordable than paying for full-time care at a residential facility. 
  • Get the Hours Your Loved One Needs. You can tailor your loved one’s personal care plan to cover the hours they need, whether one hour or 24 hours a day. If their needs increase or evolve in the future, you can change the amount of assistance they’re receiving.
  • Get Specialized Care. With a professional care provider, you can also get specialized care to suit your loved one’s needs. Many caregivers are trained to work with individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, etc.  
  • Gives Time Back to Family. Delegating personal care tasks to a professional caregiver allows you to spend more quality time with your loved one instead of simply taking care of them.
  • Builds Companionship. A caregiver is also a new friend and companion for homebound people who find themselves socially isolated.

Become a Personal Caregiver with Providence Home Care

Providence is a fully-licensed home care agency providing personal care services in the Oklahoma City area. We always seek passionate and dedicated personal caregivers to join our team.
Contact Providence today to discuss career opportunities.

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