June 05, 2002 11:00 pm

By Alice Perry Linker

Observer Staff Writer

What kind of personality traits are needed by people who care for the elderly?

It depends.

"The person who works for Evergreen Vista may need traits different from the person who works for Grande Ronde Retirement (Residence)," said Doug Overlock, who is directing a Community of Care workforce assessment.

Community of Care is sponsoring the survey-assessment of caregivers and care homes in Union County to learn which personality traits fit best into which care home situation.

Evergreen Vista cares mostly for people with Alzheimer's Disease and other dementias, while Grande Ronde Retirement serves a variety of needs, ranging from healthy elderly to those in declining health.

An Internet company, Profiles International, has organized the assessment, but all surveys are being taken at the Center for Human Development.

Participants, who are paid $10 to complete the online survey, are asked to register at the CHD front window between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. weekdays. The deadline for taking the survey is Monday night. Overlock said completing the forms takes about an hour.

Overlock hopes to survey all types of caregivers, from those who work in full nursing homes to those who care for one or two people at home.

"We'd like to hear more from the in-home care providers," he said.

Participants must provide their names and addresses, but Overlock said all information gathered through the assessment will remain confidential. Participants will receive a copy of the assessment results.

The assessment analyzes individual reasoning, verbal, math and social skills, as well as level of physical and mental energy and decision-making abilities.

"This is not judgmental," Overlock said. "It's not if you're good or bad, it's how well you function in a particular environment."

Overlock hopes the assessment will result in a labor pool that matches employees with employers. Eventually, the Community of Care hopes to establish a Web site where caregivers can find job opportunities.

Matching employee skills with employer needs could lead to less turnover, Overlock said.