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How to Become a Better Caregiver in One Day
Marissa Salvesen

By: Marissa Salvesen on November 21st, 2013

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How to Become a Better Caregiver in One Day

assisted living  |  tips for caregivers  |  caregiver tips  |  caregiver information  |  senior caregiving information  |  60-day stay trial  |  Aging & Caregiving

018320130724 112720 resized 600You become a better caregiver by making your loved one’s day a little brighter--a little lighter and a lot happier each time you care for them. And it’s the simple things that are often the most appreciated.

If you can “make their day,” you often unknowingly become a better caregiver.

Here are six care-giving tips that will surely help to brighten your loved one’s day:

Number 1:  Make a Promise to Be Patient

Patience is a virtue for a reason; it’s darn near impossible to achieve it; but it’s one you actively strive to reach.

The capacity to tolerate without becoming annoyed can make you a better caregiver and a better person overall. Be slow to react when mom criticizes your relationships; walk outside for a breath of fresh air when a tense situation develops. Make allowances for each other’s faults and with time and grace, you’ll be able to enjoy each other’s company.

Number 2:  Find Your Sense of Humor – We all have it!

There are more trials in a caregiver’s week than what you’d probably find in a legal court house. The point is that to become a better caregiver you’ll need to find ways to see humor in life’s testing moments.

If you can laugh more and not take yourself (and situations you don’t have control over) so seriously, you’ll also allow your loved one to relax under difficult times. As the proverb says…“A relaxed attitude lengthens life….”

Number 3:  Do the Unexpected to Get a Smile

Do the unexpected and make it your goal to get your loved one smiling. It requires a small sacrifice, but there is typically a “pretty good return” on this investment.

Tips: Plan a visit to mom’s or dad’s home or assisted living residence. Give mom a random compliment about her hair, complexion or outfit. Offer to paint her nails if she’d like. Bring along Dad’s favorite snack or a poster of his favorite sports team to hang on his door. Do a Sudoku puzzle together and compete to see who can finish first.

Number 4: Share an Activity Together

It’s amazing how often you spend time together without actually connecting. Do something you’ll both enjoy and connect with each other. Go out for lunch at your favorite diner, see the sunset, enjoy an afternoon at the park, watch some funny family videos or a drama series and simply relax in each other’s presence. It is often these moments that become the most treasured memories.

Number 5:  Listen and Make Eye Contact

Listening is an art. It’s at the core of any good relationship and it takes a lot of practice. Make it a habit to really listen to your loved one when they express their needs and wants. It can be one of the best ways to make dad or mom feel special. And just like listening, making eye contact is a good habit to develop as a caregiver.  It shows trust and demonstrates your effort to truly engage with your loved one.

Number 6:  Give a Hug or a Pat on the Back  

If you really want to brighten your loved one’s day, give them a hug, a reassuring pat on the back, a kiss on the cheek, or a squeeze of the hands. It’s such a warm way of making their troubles go away (at least for a moment).

Often you’ll find that becoming a better caregiver simply means being unselfish and responding with grace to the needs of the person you love. Chances are, you’re probably doing a lot of that already!ABC ebook blog


About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.