7 Essential Characteristics of In-Home Caregivers For Seniors That Promote Person-Centered Care

Image of Dr. Macie Smith, as she discusses tips for supporting someone living with dementia

Person-centered care is an effective approach for optimizing quality of life as well as outcomes for people receiving care. This involves treating the person, not their condition, by taking the time to get to know the person and incorporate who they are into the provision of care – an approach that creates a bond between the caregiver and care receiver.

Related to that is the importance of respecting a person’s current abilities. Rather than focusing on what someone can no longer do, the ideal caregiver tries to be in the moment with them and meet them where they are.

Other Person-Centered Care Characteristics:


Caregivers genuinely care about the people they care for and have a desire to make their lives as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. This compassion is one of the defining characteristics of a caregiver.


People receiving care may be scared or insecure about their need for care so it’s helpful to reassure them by exhibiting confidence and competence. If a person believes in your abilities, they will feel more secure, safe and engaged.


Good caregivers advocate for their loved ones. They ask questions and expect answers. They also learn about their loved one’s condition, and they make sure their loved one gets the care they need.


Caregivers understand that there will be good days and bad days. They try to focus on the positive and find the silver lining in every situation. This positive outlook is contagious and can often help the people they’re caring for feel better about themselves.


A good caregiver recognizes that they are part of an extended care team that may include doctors, family and friends. Being understanding and flexible goes a long way toward being a successful team player focused on what’s best for the person receiving care.


Good caregivers are effective managers. They create schedules, plan for emergencies and organize information so they don’t have to scramble. Being responsible doesn’t mean you have to do it all yourself though. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness – a good caregiver lines up friends, family, or professionals to step in when they need a break.


This is the most important because it is key to providing a safe and comfortable atmosphere. People who need care often take longer to complete simple tasks, and they may ask the same questions over and over. Quality caregivers need patience to deal with anything from a loved one’s memory lapses to angry outbursts. They practice staying calm and avoiding frustration.

Caregivers likely will not be exhibiting all seven characteristics at once. Instead, they draw on the appropriate quality based on the situation. That’s why having a well-stocked caregiving toolbox is invaluable for caregivers.

Dr. Macie P. Smith is a licensed gerontology social worker who is focused on helping families support their aging loved ones through long-term care. Specifically, Dr. Smith educates caregivers on how to care for seniors with dementia. She is an advocate for specialized care and assists others in finding a way to provide a better quality of life for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia. Dr. Smith has dedicated over 22 years of her life working in gerontology and assisting families in finding personalized solutions for dementia care. For more articles by Dr. Macie Smith, go to https://synergyhomecare.com/blog/.


For more information about SYNERGY HomeCare, visit www.synergyhomecare.com. Download the Family Caregiver Ultimate Guide.

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