A smile, a caring hand, a listening ear – A good caregiver has it all
Aixa M., a Help at Home caregiver in Pennsylvania, has been praised by her supervisors for the smile in her voice and her willingness to go the extra mile for her clients. Her clients praise her for helping them live independent lives at home – giving them just the right amount of support!
Aixa says that is just her personality. But she thinks that her passion for helping people does make her good at her job! As an at-home caregiver of 8 years, she has had lots of experience adapting to the needs of individual clients.
On the personal side: Putting clients at ease is part of the job
Aixa has had many clients thank her because she would let them try to do some things for themselves. For example, someone might need help washing their hair because they can’t hold their arms up over their head, but that doesn’t mean they need help washing under their arms. “I always say ‘you try first,’ and if you need help, I will help you,” Aixa said.
Some of her clients are at a high risk of falling and Aixa has developed some different techniques for helping them. Often if they are using a walker, it works best for her to stand by them, with a hand on their waist. For one client, they devised a system where the client was able to hold on to the arm of a recliner to give an extra bit of support. Aixa said this just requires careful observation and listening to the client – addressing both what they need physically and what will help them feel safe.
Caregiving: Fun and games and helping someone live a better life
One of the roles of a caregiver is to help the client live a normal life. For some clients that may mean taking them on walks or outings, watching movies together or playing games. Aixa said it’s important to think about your clients’ particular abilities while helping them.
For example, if a client has an issue with their hands that makes grasping game pieces difficult, you might have to play something like checkers with them, where they can just slide the checker into place. A client with dementia might not be able to follow a TV show anymore but would enjoy listening to some music and maybe dancing a little! (Even if dancing while seated.)
Summer is a great time to go on outings, but with ice and snow in the winter many of her clients need her to be creative to find indoor activities.
A passion-driven career that makes for meaningful moments and great days
Aixa said that like any job, some days require more patience than others. But that overall, she likes that she can end the day knowing that she made someone else’s life better.
“You need to love this job,” she said. “If you don’t love it, you’re not going to take care of the person the way they deserve. That’s how I feel. You need to love this job, to be able to do it.”