Caregiver Employment Continues to Rise

The Rising Number of Childless Seniors Spells Opportunity for Caregivers

Caregivers have another reason to celebrate their career choice, according to a report issued this week, which forecasts a growing demand for full-time care professionals.

The U.S. Census Bureau report, An Aging World: 2008, explores trends in aging across the globe, revealing that the proportion of older people will double from 7 percent to 14 percent of the total world population in just over 30 years. This translates to long-term job security for caregivers.

“The average age of the world’s population is increasing at an unprecedented rate,” according to a U.S. Census Bureau release. “The number of people worldwide 65 and older is estimated at 506 million as of midyear 2008; by 2040, that number will hit 1.3 billion.”

Caregivers might not be surprised by the staggering projections for a growing senior population, but there’s a new twist. Many U.S. citizens who are approaching their senior years do not have children to call on to provide care.

“Twenty percent of women (ages) 40 to 44 in the United States in 2006 had no biologic children,” according to the release, which raises questions about who will one day care for this sizable group of citizens.

Seniors will increasingly count on caregiving professionals in the next 20 to 30 years. Check out the senior caregiver job description, take a practice
C.N.A. test and apply for a caregiving position in your area.

Both part-time and full-time positions are available in senior care and as some seniors need around-the-clock care, many times part-time and back-up caregivers are needed for weekends and evening.


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Minimum Wage Increases Today But Caregivers Already Earn More

Today the federal minimum wage increases to $7.25 per hour.  While each state offers their own minimum wage law, if it is less than the new federal minimum wage, they must now match this higher amount.  This means 13 states will increase their minimum wage to $7.25 today:  Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah.  

Four other states also increased their minimum wage in the month of July (some did it just before the federal deadline - a nice political opportunity for the state government to look better to employees by beating the Feds to this):  Illinois, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, with Illinois increasing their minimum wage to $8.00 per hour.  These other 3 states just matched the federal level of $7.25.  The old minimum wage was $6.55 per hour.

Which states pay the highest minimum wage?  Oregon at $8.40 per hour and Washington at $8.55.  Only 13 states, plus DC, pay more than the federal minimum wage.

Regarding the people who say this is going to put people out of work - - - - unless they are an actual business owner who can't figure out how to save 70 cents in another area, in order to keep their employees happy and able to pay for their basic costs of living, then take their feedback with a grain of salt.  And if it is a business owner who can't figure it out well, maybe he shouldn't be in business?  Employees are the backbone of any business, find away to pay them a fair wage or don't be in business.

Those of us who are business owners and have had more than 100 people working for us, know you can always cut costs someplace, and, if necessary, if you offer a great service, you can always increase your pricing to cover a necessary increase in costs, including increases in costs of living.  And one of the best ways to have great service is to have happy employees, which is worth a few cents.  

The good news?  Senior caregivers are paid more than minimum wage along with benefits by senior home care agencies nationwide.  Senior caregivers are usually paid from $9.00 to $14.00 per hour, depending on the area of the country.  Pay is more in New York than Alabama, for example, as the costs of living are more. In addition, caregivers who are certified as nursing aides or home health aides also receive higher pay when performing those duties.  In addition, many quality senior care agencies provide performance bonuses, incentives, ongoing training and support.

You may apply for a senior caregiving job in your area on Caregiverlist and also find the details on minimum wage laws in your state.



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Find Certified Nursing Aide Schools in Your Area

Caregivers interested in furthering their education and securing top senior caregiving positions may want to consider becoming a Certified Nursing Aide, also referred to as a C.N.A.  Some states also offer certifications for home health aides and personal care assistants who work in senior's homes.

What are the requirements for admission to a nursing aide program?

  • High School Diploma or Equivalency
  • Minimum age of 18
  • Background Check
  • Drug Test
  • English Comprehension for reading and writing
  • Basic math skills

Community colleges and vocational schools and some universities offer classes for certification and sometimes hospitals and nursing homes provide classes.  You can find a nursing aide certification program in your area on Caregiverlist, along with the costs and admissions requirements.

Tip:  schools tell us there are many financial aide, grants and tuition reimbursement programs available as long as you plan ahead and apply early.  As there is an ongoing need for senior caregivers with the aging population, sometimes employers also pay for the certification.

You may also take a Sample C.N.A. Test or complete a C.N.A. Practice Test to learn about the types of skills taught in these programs.  After attending classes and performing work in a clinical setting, students must pass the state's nursing aide certification exam.  Caregiverlist's practice test contains the certification exam questions.


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Certified Nursing Aide Test Questions

Many senior caregivers are Certified Nursing Aides, Certified Home Health Aides or Certified Personal Care Assistants (the Department of Health in each state establishes the guidelines for caregivers staffed by licensed nursing homes, assisted living companies and senior home care agencies).

The training requirements for certification allow the hiring senior care companies to know the person will understand how to interact and care for seniors appropriately, both physical care and emotional care.  If you are a caregiver interested in obtaining certification or already have certification status in your test (you must complete a certification course at an accredited school, complete clinical assignments in the field and then pass the state exam), you may take answer Caregiverlist's "Question of the Day", take the 10-Question Sample Nursing Aide test or take the full Certified Nursing Aide Practice Test.

What kinds of questions are asked on the Certified Nursing Aide test?  You will find questions about what temperature bath water should be, use of a catheter and feeding tube, memory loss, range-of-motion exercises, bed sores, taking someone's temperature, managing for bed sores and questions about how to properly report certain items to managers and interacting with difficult clients.

Take our Sample Certified Nursing Aide test - it is free and you'll probably learn something and even if you know all the answers, being told you are "brilliant" is kind of nice!




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C.N.A. & Caregiver Practice Test

Are you considering becoming a Certified Nursing Aide? Or, are you interested in developing your nursing aide skills as a senior caregiver?

Hdmaster administers the nursing aide certification exams in many states, providing tests which are developed by Registered Nurses and approved by industry professionals and the health departments in each state.  Senior caregivers seeking to work for senior home care agencies may be companion caregivers or may be required to be certified for certain cases (many long-term care insurance companies require the care to be provided by a certified nursing aide).

You can now take their official nursing aide practice test to find out the skills the nursing aides develop in their nursing aide training programs and you will enhance your own caregiving skills in the process.

Caregiverlist's nursing aide practice test can be found in our Caregiver Career Center, where you may also apply for a senior caregiving position in your area.

You may also sign-up for membership in the Professional Association of Caregivers and receive a 10-hour online training course and once passed at 80% pass rate for each module, will receive a certificate of completion.

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Caregiver and Nursing Aide Testing

Senior caregivers assisting seniors in their homes may be companion caregivers or may be certified home health aides or certified nursing aides, depending upon the state where they are working and the licensing requirements for that state's department of health.  If there is no hands-on care required, the majority of states do not require formal certification or training for a senior caregiver.  However, most professional senior home care agencies do require new employees to complete their training program and provide ongoing training in caring for seniors with memory loss, for hospice care and for other age-related diseases such as Parkinson's disease.

Caregivers interested in pursuing a career as a professional caregiver working for a senior home care agency or assisted living community or nursing home may further their skills by taking nursing aide practice tests and regularly reviewing the nursing aide exam questions.

Caregiverlist offers a free question of the day and 10-question certified nursing aide sample test, provided by Headmaster, a leader in administering state nursing aide test exams.  You may also find certified nursing aide training programs in your area.


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Senior Caregiver Checklist After Hospital Stays & Doctor Visits

Patients of even the most meticulous at-home senior caregivers encounter hospital visits due to an unexpected fall or change in health conditions. A trip to the hospital or simply an appointment with a new doctor can be stressful for seniors, who often return home without a grasp of appropriate follow-up steps for senior care based on the new conditions.


This National Alliance for Caregiving checklist, which includes follow up questions for physicians and other professionals involved with senior care, is designed for patients and caregivers to help ensure a smooth transition from the hospital to at-home care. Both parties stand to benefit from a clear understanding of the senior’s condition and recovery plan.


1.      Do you understand your health conditions? Ask what is likely to happen with your health.                                                                         

Senior ___  Caregiver ___


2.      Do you know what problems to watch for and how to handle them? Ask what to do and who to call if you have problems.                      

 Senior ___  Caregiver ___


3.      Do you know what each of your prescriptions drugs does? Do you know how to take them, and what side effects to watch for? Ask who you should call if you have questions.


Senior ___  Caregiver ___    


4.      Do you understand how much of your prescription drugs, equipment and services will be covered by your insurance and what you will have to pay? Ask to speak to a social worker about possible resources to help with insurance payment.


 Senior ___  Caregiver ___


5.      Do you have written discharge instructions that you understand, your list of drugs, and a summary of your current health status? Bring this to your next appointment.


Senior ___  Caregiver ___


6.      Do you know what appointments and tests you’ll need during the next couple of weeks?                                                                   

Senior ___  Caregiver ___


7.      Do you have a doctor or healthcare provider to call if you have questions or problems? Write down the names and contact information.


Senior ___  Caregiver ___


8.      Are you worried about how you or your family is coping with your illness? Ask to speak to a therapist or find out about support groups, if needed. 


Senior ___  Caregiver ___


9.       Do you know what medical equipment you will need? Ask who to call if you have questions about equipment.


Senior ___  Caregiver ___


10.  Do you know which of the items below you will need help with and for how long? Bathing, dressing, grooming, using the bathroom; Shopping for food, making meals, doing housework, paying bills; Getting to doctors appointments, picking up prescription drugs. 

Senior ___  Caregiver ___


Seniors often require full-time care in the weeks following a hospital visit. Caregiverlist offers free resources such as a Medication Reminder Schedule and Simple Senior Care Plan to assist caregivers in providing quality care to senior clients. These tools are especially helpful for caregivers who start seeing a new patient, or have an existing patient whose care requirements change.


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Caregiver Training Programs

Caregivers interested in obtaining additional training in caring for seniors can obtain certification as a nursing aide or home health aide and attend customized training programs in hospice care and memory loss care.

Nursing Aide training involves learning hands-on care techniques, such as how to safely transfer someone from a bed to a walker or wheelchair and back to a chair or toilet.  Nursing aide training also includes learning how to assist with all aspects of personal care including feeding, toileting, bathing and managing the emotional demands of caregiving.  Nursing aide programs are available through local community colleges, community programs and some hospitals and nursing homes.  You may find Certified Nursing Aide and Certified Home Health Aide programs in your area on Caregiverlist, along with their costs and admission requirements.

You may also purchase an online 10-hour caregiver training program for non-medical caregivers and receive a certificate of completion.

Many senior centers and associations for age-related illnesses, such as Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease provide seminars and mini-training programs for both professional caregivers and family caregivers.

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Caregiver Background Checks

One of the most important aspects of the hiring process of a senior caregiver is checking the caregiver's references (both personal and professional), along with performing a quality criminal background check.

For reference checks, it is important to ask references how long they have known the caregiver and how they know them and to ask for additional names of people you could talk to about the caregiver applicant.  While most caregiver job applicants would not knowingly give the name and phone number of someone who they think might not provide them with a good character reference, a professional employer knows how to ask the right questions, in the right way, to smoke out any potential issues.

This is one of the advantages of hiring a professional senior home care agency to provide for the senior's care needs.  Senior home care agencies have established standards and guidelines to follow when hiring caregivers and also understand how to conduct a professional background and reference check.  In addition, they have professional liability insurance and worker's compensation insurance which also provide safe hiring guidelines to be followed, based on many years of industry experience.

Even more important, senior home care agencies professionally manage their caregivers as employees.  This allows the senior and their family members to enjoy the benefits of the care services and avoid the stress of managing employee issues.  Ongoing performance reviews are performed and regular check-in visits make sure both the senior and the caregiver have the support they need.  Just as with any service you purchase, making sure professional quality standards are being followed by senior home care agencies will help insure the senior enjoys a positive relationship with the caregiver, along with professional care.

You can learn about the background check laws in your state and policies followed by senior home care agencies on Caregiverlist. , ,
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