How to Have Manners and Etiquette When Caregiving

family caregiver and senior woman

Manners and Etiquette are essential to any civilization. The foundation of good behavior is to be gracious and polite in social, professional, and family situations. Good manners can mean the difference between success and failure in caregiving.  Treat others the way you would like to be treated in that situation.

Caregiving Etiquette Starts In The Family

Good etiquette starts at home with your family. When you go into other people's homes you treat their belongings as you would treat your own things at home. By showing good manners, you make caregiving a whole lot easier. You also learn that your loved one responds better when you say, “Please,” and, “Thank you” rather than when you issue an order and refuse to acknowledge cooperation. Children who have good manners and respect their elders take their lessons out into the world and become respectable contributors to society.

man with senior father

Basic Etiquette Rules for Family Members:

  • Respect each other's personal space.

  • Respect each other's belongings.

  • Don't interrupt when someone else is talking.

  • Be on time.

  • Say "Please" and "Thank you."

  • Don't text or talk on your cell phone.

  • Chew with your mouth closed.

  • Don't yell or call each other names.

  • Always make eye contact when you are in a conversation with someone. Avoid looking over the other person's shoulder unless you see potential danger.

  • Give and receive compliments with grace.

  • If you are sick, let the other person know.

    Woman helping elderly woman

Etiquette is important because it is the fruit of manners, kindness, and consideration. Etiquette presents an orderly way of doing things, saying things, etc. in caregiving.  Rules of etiquette are usually unwritten. But aspects of etiquette have changed from time to time.  Rules of etiquette cover most aspects of social interaction in any society. Though the term itself is not commonly used. A rule of etiquette may reflect an underlying ethical code in caregiving

The Difference in Manners and Etiquette

Manner is not the same as etiquette.  Manners are what you do in a specific way to be polite, and courteous. Showing proper manners means making the person around you not feel bad. Example: You say “please” and “thank you”, this shows your good manners.  Etiquette is more generalized, whereas manners talk about specific rules of conduct.

Etiquette Golden Rules in Caregiving

  • To think of others before yourself.

  • Make others feel at ease.

  • Speak when spoken to.

  • Do not talk excessively.

  • Be a good listener.

  • Maintain your loved one's independence.

  • Always be understanding and control your frustrations.

  • Maintain your composure and avoid stress.

  • Always focus on your loved one's needs instead of your own.

  • Smile and be a good companion.

  • Maintain confidence.

    woman helping elderly man

A good caregiver is authentic and sincere and cares a great deal about their loved one.  Maintain thoughtfulness and compassion, while having good manners and etiquette.

Good manners can make all the difference in accomplishing good caregiving for your loved ones.  Politeness and courtesy will simplify your work to create a healthy and happy environment for the comfort and well-being of your loved one.

About the author

Tena Scallan is a passionate healthcare professional, business owner, and published author with over 25 years of experience in the healthcare industry. Tena has dedicated her life’s work to working in hospitals, running her own in-home caregiving agency, and providing coaching and guidance for family caregivers. Tena firmly believes that both home and lifestyle can be preserved by in-home compassionate caregiving in the face of aging or illness. Check out her site for more caregiving resources.