Giving Back: The Essential Qualities of a Caregiver for a Career in Caring

Written by
Rebecca Smith

Apr 15, 2019

Apr 15, 2019 • by Rebecca Smith

Are you a "tender"? Do you love making sure those around you are happy, healthy, and whole? Then, it sounds like you have the qualities of a caregiver.

You can take your innate nature and turn it into a beautiful career. 

A caregiver offers family members the assurance that their loved one is being tended while they're working their nine to fives and earning a living. It's a wonderful role to fill and something that may suit your lifestyle perfectly. Let's take a look at the various traits required by caregivers and see if the shoe fits. 


The first thing families are going to look for is an innate sense of honesty and trustworthiness. Can they rely on you not to pocket the silverware or pilfer the money stash?

While this is the most important trait, it's not something that can be deduced right from the start. But, it's something that will unfold over time and require the utmost of honesty. 


There's no "calling out" because you stayed out too late last night. If someone requires a caregiver, they cannot be left alone. And, if family members are relying on you to arrive on time so they can arrive on time for work, being late or calling out is not an option. 

Showing up on time isn't the same thing as showing up to work. You should also make every effort to arrive well-rested and ready to work. Meal preparation, the dispensing of medicine, and general activities will all be on the table.

So, it's important to come ready to spend your day ensuring peak comfort for your client. 


Throughout all those meals and activities, one thing remains - patience. If someone needs a caregiver, it's a given they're not at an optimal level of health. All those aches and pains may turn into a sour mood from time to time.

Remember that any small out-lashes are not personal. They're simply dealing with a lot. 

Every day (probably) won't include sunny afternoons full of tea and books in the garden. There will be trips to the doctors, and moments of lifting into cars and recliners. It'll be important to remain patient and calm as you help your patient deal with the ups and downs of their struggles. 


A license to caregive is not a license to hang out all day. Your client's needs come first for every hour you're on the clock. Sure, if they're enjoying an episode of The Price Is Right, you can kick back with them and relax for a little while. 

But, you should be using all your time to optimize their day. Maybe you'll prepare their lunch while they watch The Price Is Right. Or, you can use the opportunity to clean up their personal spaces a little bit.

Being attentive and "on the ball" is paramount to your success and theirs. 


This trait isn't exactly advertised, but it's important information that needs to be considered. By practicality, we're referring to the cold hard facts of life - bodily functions. When you're elderly or sick, the simple task of taking a shower or going to the bathroom can prove tantamount to climbing a mountain. 

As such, a great caregiver will be able to handle the sights and smells that come with bodily fluids and functions. It's the caregiver's job to make the person they're caring for never feel embarrassed or ashamed. These are just the (practical) facts of life that must be dealt with on a day-to-day basis. 


This brings us to empathy. The person you're caring for will likely feel fatigued, frustrated, and maybe even a few side effects from their medication. It's important to empathize with their situation. 

Imagine being unable to hop into a quick shower, throw in some rollers, do your own makeup, or make your own sandwich? It's beyond restricting; it's frustrating.

So, perhaps you wouldn't get frustrated over a simple ordeal such as a lack of Internet connectivity, but the person you're caring for might. Be able to ride the wave and exhibit a wealth of empathy and understanding.  


Of course, we're not saying you need to love every person you care for. But, a loving disposition will seal the deal. You're being welcomed into someone's home in the same manner in which a child or grandchild might. 

A person's home is their sanctuary. So, as you enter their home each and every day, do so with a loving attitude. This person is grateful for your care, whether you feel it or not, and it's a wonderful life - being able to give to those in need each and every day. 

You Have the Qualities of a Caregiver

If you've read this far, we bet you have the qualities of a caregiver. You're nurturing and in search of a meaningful profession. Why not consider a career in caregiving?

There are plenty of wonderful organizations out there looking to add an honest, hard-working individual to their team. 

You can live in a world where, at the end of every day, you know you did something that contributed to multiple lives - the person you're caring for and all their children. 

Keep coming back to our National Job Search here at Washington Post. We post a wealth of new positions day in and day out. Before you know it, you'll be living a life you love while you match your innate talents to a lifelong career.