Right off the bat, I see three basic attendant requirements. Attendants should:
- Possess a genuine caring personality. Although you are caring for someone, you are not there to take care of them. There is a difference. It’s in how you perceive the person you’re assisting. You take care of a baby or someone who is helpless. Chances are, if you currently are or want to be an aide, it will be with someone who is in charge of his or her own care, unless you are working for a family that is overseeing the care of a loved one. So please, care with sincerity and forget the pity!
- Be open to new experiences. The only thing you can count on in life is change! And, that’s an understatement when it comes to being a personal care attendant. Most working days are filled with bathing, dressing, chauffeuring, and keeping a household tidy. But in the business of caring for your fellow women or men, you have to be ready for anything.
- Be interested in more than just a job. Being an attendant is different from working in a restaurant, a bank, or a department store, although the common thread running through all these jobs is customer service. What’s unique about being an aide is that you are truly affecting someone’s life. You can make a big difference every day!
Attendants come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and color, with differing intellects, personalities, experiences, education, and levels of concern. The ideal personal care attendant should be:
- Able to laugh
- Able to cry
Anyone can have these traits. This isn’t rocket science. If you want to be a caregiver, you have to give of yourself with a caring attitude. Anyone can be an attendant, if they have the right mindset and some formal or informal training.
Your mindset affects how you treat your clients. If you’re always in a hurry, you don’t finish your required tasks, and you see your job as a personal care attendant as a burden—QUIT! Seriously. This work isn’t for you. At times, we all get frustrated with our jobs. That’s human nature. But if you are an aide, of any kind, find a way to overcome the difficult duties in assisting your client or family member. No one likes dealing with bowel and bladder care, but it’s often an essential part of the job. If you can’t stand the steam during your client’s shower, get out of the bathroom and find another place to work.
You really have to be a people person to be in this business. You have to have faith in others. You have to have hope for humanity. You have to care about yourself and your well being, as well as care for those you are assisting.
Some of my attendants and I have become great friends. The relationship starts out as employee and employer but, when you see the same person day after day for a year or more, good friendships can naturally happen. The best case is being friends while both individuals respect the working relationship.