Are you compassionate, a good listener and always eager to lend a helping hand? You may have the personality traits suited to working in aged care. However, working with the elderly also requires a few skills that need training and perfecting. A job in aged care can be challenging, it’s true, but it’s also extremely rewarding. Furthermore, this industry is growing as Australia’s population continues to age, so there are plenty of jobs available for those who are genuinely interested. Read on to find out the skills you need to care for the elderly, and how you can obtain them.
Patience & compassion
Working with the elderly requires a great deal of patience and compassion. Many elderly people, especially those who require full-term care, may experience an array of mental health issues such as depression and memory loss. There is a possibility that you may be caring for elderly persons who aren’t entirely aware of where they are, or who have a tendency to repeat themselves. It’s important always to remain patient, to be able to explain things without becoming frustrated and to be compassionate enough to understand the world from another’s point of view. A carer who possesses these skills has a significantly positive impact on the elderly and can make them feel valued and heard at all times.
Physical and emotional strength
Another important skill that is required to take care of the elderly is that of physical and emotional strength. Physical strength is needed to be able to operate assistive devices such as hoists. It is also needed to help elderly persons with daily activities that involve movement, such as getting in and out of bed and getting dressed. Emotional strength is necessary to be able to make real connections with people and come to learn and value their unique characteristics. Learning about another person’s past can sometimes be a difficult journey, but being able to lend a listening ear also lifts a significant burden off of one who may be lonely or suffering. You will need to be able to offer compassion and remain positive even when those you are tending to are having a bad day.
A proficiency with technology
You will need a certain level of understanding of technology to be able to operate assistive care equipment. This may include hearing aids, mobility devices, audio equipment and modified driving controls in vehicles customised for the elderly. Training on how to operate each device will be provided, but a natural ability to understand such devices is a good skill to speed up the process and troubleshoot issues with the equipment should they arise.
Experience caring for others
When you undergo training to become a carer for the elderly, you will most likely draw on your experience in caring for others. This can be anyone from your children, to your own parents and grandparents, to elderly neighbours and friends. Most people will have experience caring for someone! It’s just about utilising what this experience has taught you, and making use of it to transform your skills in this area into a career.
A genuine respect for the elderly
This seems obvious but is absolutely critical to the role of an aged care worker. Understanding that seniors still desire independence and privacy is an invaluable trait. It is essential to be able to look past a person’s exterior, and into the mind and soul of the individual within. Listening to a person’s experiences, and how these have shaped their lives and personality is the first step to making them feel respected and appreciated.
First Aid Training
During your training, you will also be required to learn the basics of first aid, and areas specific to aged care. To do this, you will need to be able to concentrate, learn and memorise specific procedures and techniques. You will also need to have the potential to keep calm in an emergency situation.
Be able to make a good cup of tea
We’re just kidding! But it won’t hinder the job, that’s for sure! Synonymous with sitting down for a good cup of tea, however, is the ability to have a decent chat with someone. Whether it’s talking about the weather, the past, the news or simply commenting on the garden outside, part of the job of a carer is to keep the elderly company. Being able to engage in conversation is a trait that’s often overlooked, but ever so important to the mental well-being of everyone! And who knows, you might learn something new about life from the colourful stories that are shared with you!
If you think you have the skills and traits needed to work in aged care, but still require the qualifications and formal training to be able to land a job, contact Career Keys today! We offer affordable courses, with flexible study options suitable for a range of people.