Caring for a family member with a disability can be rewarding, but it can take a toll on one’s health and psychological wellbeing in the long run. Numerous studies have found family caregiving is positively linked to anxiety, depressive tendencies, and poor physical health. This outcome is especially true for those who need to balance other responsibilities on top of taking care of a disabled loved one.
If the information above resonates with you, you should consider hiring a disability support worker to take the load off your shoulders. Engaging in-home support is a decision you should not feel guilty about, considering that it is a reasonable alternative to ensure that you remain physically and mentally fit to continue supporting your disabled family member.
There are online platforms available that you can use to find a support worker. While these agencies have a vetting system to screen their disability care providers, you should still take the time to find the right person for the job. Here are things you should know when looking for a reliable support worker:
What Qualities Should You Look for in a Support Worker?
Just like any other profession, there is a specific set of qualities that makes an individual suited for a job in the caregiving sector. Here are key traits that you should look for in a support worker:
Caring for a disabled person can be challenging. While there is a fixed list of things to do, there are also many unknowns. As such, you need a disability support provider who can readily handle any situation and can adjust his/her strategy depending on the circumstances.
- Able to Compartmentalize
Compartmentalization means not letting feelings affect the task at hand. This attitude is crucial in ensuring that the support worker remains focused on what needs to be done and not to take things too personally.
A person with a disability has internal struggles that can manifest outwardly. He/she can have mood swings and say hurtful things to the people around them. While empathy and sensitivity are good qualities to have for a support worker, these traits should be combined with the ability to compartmentalize.
- With a Good Sense of humour
Given the stress as well as physical and mental challenges of caring for a disabled individual, your support worker should have a good sense of humour to remain positive. Numerous studies revealed the self-healing benefits of humour. The ability to find something to laugh about despite the circumstances can aid in stress-relief, decrease pain, and boost the immune system.
How Can You Find the Ideal Support Worker?
When searching for the right support for your loved one, consider the following pointers:
- Make sure that the person you are considering has the basics covered, such as ability (and license) to drive, relevant credentials, and experience in working with disabled people, and effective communication skills.
- Conduct a face-to-face interview to have some idea about the person’s attitude, demeanour, and likability. Prepare questions beforehand and make sure that you include situational questions to gauge their competence in handling different situations.
- Consider contacting former clients and those who know the support worker well so that you can have a better idea of what type of person he or she is, both as an individual and as a caregiver.
Taking the time to find the right disability support worker is crucial, given that it can significantly impact the life of your disabled loved one. Getting help from someone who truly understands the physical, emotional, and psychological needs of people with disabilities can empower your disabled family member to overcome difficulties.