How to become a professional caregiver?
It’s more than just a job. Sometimes the patients just need a touch on the hand, a touch on the shoulder, a smile; just let them know that we are there for them. – Suzanne Hazelaar
The long and short story of becoming a professional caregiver concerns patience, compassion, and care. More than it’s expressed in a paycheck, helping people in need and seeing them get well or cope better with their conditions is extremely emotionally rewarding, especially for very compassionate people. Seeing that you make a big difference in someone’s life, and feeling appreciated by your care recipients and their families for your dedication and hard work makes the job well worth the effort. In case you are seeking more detailed information, here are some things you need to know before pursuing this career.
Why become a professional caregiver?
Caregiving often seems like a non-profitable act of kindness, because in most cases, it is closely related to unpaid family caregiving. Yet, as a vocation, it has been earning more professional attention over the years. Almost 56 per cent of American caregivers are already pursuing it as a full-time career prospect. With the constant increase in the elderly population, there is an increased demand for caregiving and related services. Whether you are an indulgent philanthropist or want to pursue this career professionally, caregiving offers ample opportunities to make a difference in a person’s life. While financial acknowledgement is an add-on, this is something here that cannot be expressed in money value.
Read the full list of reasons why would you want to become a caregiver.
How to become a paid caregiver?
13% of the American caregivers belong to the 18 to 29 year age bracket. This statistic reveals the insistence towards pursuing this as a paid career prospect. Therefore, if you are younger deciding about your future career and want to become a paid caregiver, the first step should be to obtain the Caregiver Certification. Once acquired, you can either connect with a specialized agency and various institutions or practice independently. The great thing is that there are no age or gender preferences – it’s never too late to decide to put to use and upgrade your knowledge, or to get a professional accreditation.
What is Caregiver Certification?
Families seeking assistive help for the elders and other dependent members who need assistance prefer certified caregivers. Certified professionals have better interpersonal and observational skills, making them sought-after choices. This is one of the reasons why caregiver certification becomes all the more necessary.
How to become a Certified Caregiver?
If you want to become a certified caregiver, you can enrol in an accredited training course. Several certifying and training institutes identify caregiving as a professional skill. Having other related certificates and skills is always helpful, such as Certified Nursing Assistants/Aides (CNA certification). You can also locate online training programs offered by credible service providers. Regardless of choice, it is advisable to opt for institutes and schools officially recognized in your region. Getting accreditations will undoubtedly help kickstart your career in this field.
How many years does it take to become a professional caregiver?
As an aspirant, it is advisable to set aside six months or even a year for getting certified. Then again, the time frame depends on the locale, and if you want to add another certification and other skills.
What are the benefits of becoming a caregiver?
Professional caregivers are more and more in demand.
With the increasing aging population and the impact of the global pandemic on all health and care institutions, caregiving is more in demand. This industry sector is blooming, and this tendency seems to continue to expand, so it is a good moment to evaluate caregiving as a professional career. There are many facilities, services and specialized private agencies to look in for employment, and you can always practice independently.
It is a sure way to supplement your income.
If you are undecided to pursue caregiving as a full-time job, you can do it part-time to see if it fits you. Depending on the level of care that you are giving, the financial reward can be worth your while. However, particularly for this profession, the drive to make more money should not be your primary motivator. There are specific intrinsic values that you need to have before opting for a career in caregiving. Also, there are several challenges that you will encounter. If you are not up to the task, you may end up having a very short-lived career.
You determine your work schedule.
A caregiver gets to choose when and how long they should work. Unless you work for an agency, your work schedule is entirely up to you. Of course, this will depend on each care recipient’s case and the requirements of their situation. You can combine caregiving as a part-time job with your primary job, but have in mind that this can be an exhausting option for you.
You will acquire new knowledge.
Caregiving is a constant learning experience. As a profession, caregiving is evolving with every passing year. It is no longer about preparing meals, assisting with mobility and personal hygiene or administrating medications. More complicated tasks are making their way into the profession, like monitoring your recipient’s vitals and even performing emergency first aid should it be required. As you continue within the profession, you will interact with other professionals, and you may grab a skill or two from them. It is not uncommon for caregivers to acquire nursing or counselling certifications during their jobs.
Depending on the state of the care recipient, no two days are similar for a caregiver. One day you may be grocery shopping and movie watching with the person you are caring for. The other you are going to be in chaos and maybe question everything. The variety in tasks helps break the monotony of a regular job, making each day a new adventure.
You expand your social circles.
Caregiving provides you with an opportunity to interact and meet new people each time. As a caregiver, you become a trusted member of the family to which you are offering services. Depending on the level of trust and bonds that you create, you have the opportunity to attend significant events in your recipient’s life. Their birthdays, weddings and holidays become part and parcel of your daily life. You will meet new individuals who can significantly impact your life, either socially or professionally. There have been cases where longstanding caregivers end up in more lucrative careers due to their dedication to the recipient’s family.
You will benefit from a more relaxed work environment.
In most cases, your work will involve you working at your recipient’s home. You rid yourself of the stresses of an office or other official settings that are the norm of other regular jobs. There is no filing, work deadlines, or internal memos that you have to deal with. The ability to work on random tasks while caring for your recipient can be more rewarding than any other structured work setting. You will end up feeling more at peace and carry out your duties diligently.
Caregiving is emotionally rewarding.
Keeping the financial perks aside, being a professional caregiver does come with its share of very emotional and altruistic benefits. Knowing that your work makes a huge difference in someone else’s life, you get a defined sense of purpose that concerns others. You will witness and be involved in many deeply personal and intimate moments with your care recipients and their families. With all the difficult moments you will endure with them, and the beautiful moments you will share, you will become richer, more experienced and stronger as a person. You can also help resolve the negative emotions for your care recipients and their families, and it can be beneficial for your emotional issues too.
What are the responsibilities of a caregiver?
In case you are planning to pursue caregiving as a career, it is only appropriate to understand the diverse set of responsibilities. These include:
- Assisting the elderly or people in your care with daily errands like shopping, meal preparations, house cleaning and more.
- Helping the distressed or injured with dressing, toileting, bathing, and grooming.
- Monitoring medications prescribed by doctors.
- Doubling down as the CNA, if you have requisite certifications.
- Assessing the care plan on behalf of a family member.
- Providing constant companionship and emotional support.
What qualities and skills make a good caregiver?
Except your will to dedicate yourself to a caregiving career, and being physically and mentally capable of doing it, here are some of the skills that you must possess to become a good caregiver:
- Exceptional reliability.
- Hardcore professional approach regardless of the remuneration.
- Ability to communicate clearly with the care recipients and their respective families.
- Sensitivity towards the elderly, disabled and all care recipients.
- Adequate educational levels to understand prescriptions requiring periodic administration.
- Basic knowledge of medical conditions.
- Technological awareness to use health monitoring devices and home surveillance systems.
- Ability to connect with attorneys, medical practitioners, and law enforcement professionals if necessary.
What does it take to become a good caregiver?
It’s not only what it says in your resume and your diploma. The good caregiver is the one who is willing to help, regardless of any external motivation. For a good caregiver, the patience, compassion, and kindness do hold a lot of value. To become one, you must thoroughly understand critical life situations and be efficient when the occasion arises. Besides, you should project honesty when it comes to approaching complex scenarios. You must also hone your supervision skills. To sum it up, it is the presence of the individual-first approach that differentiates a good caregiver from an average one.
Is being a professional caregiver ever a second job?
While lending assistance and care to the elderly and dependent people in need of assistance should always be the primary job, lack of financial perks might push it to the second position. As per stats, 25% of American caregivers work for less than 30 hours per week after completing their primary, financially-rewarding tasks.
What is the difference between a CNA and a Caregiver?
Despite sharing a comparable profile, caregivers aren’t supposed to have medical skills like a Certified Nursing Assistant. If you want to become a CNA, starting with a caregiver certification is advisable and not the other way around.
What is the title of caregiving?
The title of caregiving varies according to the responsibilities and the tasks managed. Some of the more appropriate titles include attendant care worker, certified medication aid, CNA, personal care attendant, companion, or housekeeping help.
What are the caregiving challenges?
Caregivers may suffer from burnouts, mental issues, sleep deprivation, physical stress, and depression. How you will handle these challenges will hugely depend on how you organize your work and how you will cope with given situations and circumstances. Think of doctors, nurses, police officers or firefighters. You will have good days, excellent days, bad days and the worst days ever. As a professional, you need to gain a certain level of control of your emotional involvement to handle the work challenges successfully and thrive.
How to build a harmonious relationship with the care recipient and their family?
Gaining your recipient and their family’s trust is one of the most challenging things to do as a caregiver. Since you will be privy to their most intimate details, you need to establish a relationship based on trust and integrity. Therefore, you need to be as genuine as possible from the get-go.
Becoming a good and efficient professional caregiver comes with plenty of humanitarian and financial benefits. But, to make the most of the both, certification is necessary. This career is not an easy one but also knowing that you are continually making such an essential difference in the life of dependent individuals is priceless.