The Role of Emotional Intelligence In Caregiving

February 10, 2015
Virgil Thomas,


Street smarts, book smarts, knowledge, intelligence, there are a lot of ways we classify being “smart.” A recent article on the subject by Dr. Travis Bradberry got us thinking about the relationship between emotional intelligence and caregiving. Really, EIQ is the cornerstone of person-directed care.

I won’t go into the whole article (but I highly recommend you give it a read), instead I’m just going to talk about some of the main areas of focus. To those of you reading this going “Duh, caregiving is ALL about emotional intelligence” bare with me.

For everyone who doesn’t know what emotional intelligence is, this is a great starting block to get it figured out, and if you do, use the information as a measuring stick. Are you as intelligent as you thought you were?

Essentially, the term breaks down to mean you can accurately identify emotions in yourself and others and that you have developed appropriate and healthy responses to them. Here is an excerpt of just a few of the criteria Bradberry mentions.

You’re Curious about People

It doesn’t matter if they’re introverted or extroverted, emotionally intelligent people are curious about everyone around them. This curiosity is the product of empathy, one of the most significant gateways to a high EQ. The more you care about other people and what they’re going through, the more curiosity you’re going to have about them.

You Embrace Change

Emotionally intelligent people are flexible and are constantly adapting. They know that fear of change is paralyzing and a major threat to their success and happiness. They look for change that is lurking just around the corner, and they form a plan of action should these changes occur.

You Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Emotionally intelligent people don’t just understand emotions; they know what they’re good at and what they’re terrible at. They also know who pushes their buttons and the environments (both situations and people) that enable them to succeed. Having a high EQ means you know your strengths and you know how to lean into them and use them to your full advantage while keeping your weaknesses from holding you back.

A few other relevant criteria are:

  • You Know How to Say No (to Yourself and Others)
  • You Give and Expect Nothing in Return
  • You Neutralize Toxic People
  • You Disconnect
  • You Don’t Seek Perfection

A lot of these points boil down to language you may have heard before from us. Be curious about people = Become well-known and get to know others. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be open to change = continue to grow throughout every stage of life. You give and expect nothing in return = be kind, giving, and seek mitzvahs. Being empathetic = treating the elder as a person not a condition.

Everyone has their ticks, their flaws, and not everyone is going to ace this self-assessment. But growth is part of what we do, and knowing which way to grow is an important piece of the journey.

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2 Comments. Leave new

Some excellent insights here. The concept of EIQ does fit so well with the Eden Philosophy because it’s all about relationships. I plan to dig into EIQ to learn more because I want to be better and forming and growing relationships. I think there is some real gold here to help me.


Thank you for the reminder on the value of continuing to seek our own personal growth, each and every day. I am excited and encouraged that there are so many ways we can grow through The Eden Alternative and I try to take advantage of them. Some other small things that have served me well is engaging in “Google Alerts”. This is simple: set up your alerts so that daily google sends you links to articles and publications in whatever field holds your interest. This can professional or personal. I love it. I also take a virtual trip to a book store every week by visiting Amazon and checking out the newest titles. Through some (somewhat scary) software Amazon can pretty targeted in knowing their customers interests. Growth: one of the essential domains of well-being.


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