Senior Care Careers: Is In-Home Caregiving the Right Path for You?
The home health aide and personal care aide field is one of the fastest growing employment sectors. With a projected growth of 40% between 2016 to 2026, employment for these fields is growing faster than average for all other occupations. The forecasted growth is attributed to the aging Baby Boomer generation. As the Baby Boomers age, the need for elderly care and services increases, creating a need for caregivers. In considering a career as a caregiver, it is important to understand the types of job duties, work environments, the education/training involved and the best qualities to possess.
A caregiver’s duties depend upon the needs of the client. Most caregivers assist clients with daily tasks, such as cleaning, helping clients dress, and assisting with meal preparation. Caregivers play an important role in a client’s ability to remain in their own home.
Most caregivers work with clients in the client’s private home. Some may visit several clients in one day while others may work with one client, all day. Many transport clients to appointments or help them with errands. Caregivers are a lifeline for elderly clients who no longer drive. By taking them to the grocery store and events, interactive caregivers help the elderly remain socially active.
Education and Training
A high school diploma or equivalent is usually the standard requirement for a caregiver career. Safety training is often provided by the employer and many vocational colleges offer certification courses. Given the personal nature of being a caregiver, there are certain qualities a candidate must possess when considering this career path. These qualities include:
- Interpersonal skills – Having good interpersonal skills is especially important to be a caregiver. Working closely with clients who may be in pain or who are resistant to help requires compassion and a genuine love of people.
- Integrity – Clients and their families trust caregivers by allowing them into their private homes. Clients rely on the care they receive so being dependable is a must. Needing help with what was once easy tasks doesn’t come easy for elderly patients. Treating them with respect and dignity is essential to providing great care.
- Detailed Oriented – Following rules and procedures when providing senior care are critically important while working as a caregiver. A caregiver relies on the expertise of healthcare professionals in following protocol such as watching for changes in condition. While a client may test a caregiver by supplying them with false information to get out of a task or taking a medicine, a well-informed caregiver will know when they are being tested.
- Physical and Emotional Stamina – Being in good physical shape is great for any occupation but even more so for a caregiver. A patient may need to be lifted, turned over, or physically assisted in some other way. As a compassionate caregiver, it is easy to develop caring feelings for your client. In addition to their clients, a caregiver may have their own type of personal caregiving happening at home.
It’s important to balance work and life with scheduled fun time. Also, relying on the surrounding support system of other caregivers is a great tool when feeling overwhelmed.
Being a caregiver is a highly rewarding job. Realizing that you made someone’s day a little bit easier is a great feeling. Clients have a variety of issues and needs so each experience teaches you something new. With the caregiver field being one of the fastest growing segments of employment, now is a good time to evaluate your career path.
If you enjoy making people smile and consider yourself compassionate and trustworthy, then being a caregiver is a great choice. To learn more about a caregiver career, you can contact the team at Comfort Keepers today via online contact form or by phoning 610-543-6300.