Caring for seniors involves many skills. As a senior deals with age-related illnesses and the aging process, their daily needs can change from one day to the next. Successful senior caregivers must be able to provide compassion and understanding while assisting with physical and emotional care needs. Seniors with memory loss can present unique care challenges - just eating a meal or taking a pill can take hours instead of minutes on some days.
Caregiverlist provides caregiver training videos to assist you with providing senior care. How do you assist someone recovering from a stroke? How do you interact with a senior with Alzheimer's Disease? Our senior care training videos are divided into short segments focusing on various aspects of senior care.
Caregiverlist's caregiver training videos will help you better understand how to provide senior care for your senior clients and loved ones if you are a professional or family caregiver.
You may also read our senior care briefs and find certified nursing aide training programs in your area and apply for a senior caregiving job.
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Even as unemployment in the U.S. continues to be at a high level, senior caregiving jobs are plentiful.
Why do senior care companies continue to hire during the economic downturn?
- The senior population is growing as the large baby boomer generation ages
- Medical advances have made it possible for people to live longer
- Medical advances that keep people alive longer also often require them to need some assistance with daily living
- Government medical care for seniors only pays for longterm care in a nursing home, not in the home
- As women have joined the workforce, they are not available to do caregiving for family members
- As technology has advanced, adult children have found it easier to move away from their hometowns
- The baby boomer generation has chosen to retire and age differently than their parents
- Longterm care insurance makes it possible to privately pay for senior caregiving services in the home
- Reverse mortgages make it possible to privately pay for senior caregiving services in the home
Professional senior care companies provide training, benefits and ongoing support for caregivers. What types of companies provide caregiving positions?
- Senior home care agencies (licensed businesses, following professional guidelines established in their state)
- Assisted living communities
- Nursing homes
- Hospitals (often staff caregivers they call "sitters" as not enough nurses to provide all the needed care)
Senior caregiving positions are both part-time and full-time and senior home care agencies also staff live-in caregivers who stay with a client for 3 or 4 days at a time, sleeping in the clients home and preparing meals. Companion caregivers often do not require training beyond personal experience and completion of orientation training witn a senior home care agency. Certified nursing aides, certified home health aides and personal care assistants complete classes and pass the certification exam in their state before beginning employment. You may also obtain non-medical caregiver training in an approved online 10-hour caregiver training course.
How much money do senior caregivers earn? Anywhere from $8.00 to $16.00 per hour, depending on the area of the country (New Yorkers make more than Iowans) and if the job assignment requires a certified caregiver as they are also paid more. You may apply for a caregiving position in your area and learn about the skills required on Caregiverlist's Career Center.
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What skills are taught to nursing aides and what questions are asked on the state exam for certification?
You can find out by taking Caregiverlist's free sample nursing aide test.
Caregivers who are not certified can quickly learn about the skills taught in certification training programs, which can be part-time or full-time and cost frmo $500 to $2,000. Because of the need for certified nursing aides and certified home health aides, many schools offer special programs with tuition assistance and scholarships. Take our sample test and find a school near year if you are interested in obtaining more nursing aide skills.
And, if you take the sample nursing aide test, you'll know about normal respirations, ambulation, proper bathing techniques and more - all skills needed for certification as a nursing aide.
Lack of exercise and poor diet are the second-largest underlying cause of death in the United States. Smoking is the number one cause. The good news, both of these are things you can influence by changing your behavior.
The National Institute on Aging provides a free booklet which shows safe exercises for seniors. The guide includes strength and stretching exercises and instructional diagrams which are easy to follow. The guide is free - just call the National Institute on Aging at 1-800-222-2225 and ask them to mail you a copy of the exercise guide for seniors. It includes 80 pages of information on how to improve your strength, endurance and balance and is a helpful tool for caregivers.
One of the suggestions: time yourself walking up a flight of stairs. Time yourself again in 1 month - your time should have improved if you have been regularly exercising. Makes sense!
Senior caregivers working in the home as companion caregivers do not require formal certifications. However, caregivers assisting seniors who need hands-on care or receiving hospice care, may require a Certified Nursing Aide or Certified Home Health Aide.
Senior caregivers may obtain a caregiver certification through an approved 10-hour online caregiver training program (meeting the requirements for training for caregivers working for licensed senior home care agencies, as passed by law in some states, such as Illinois). The online caregiver training requires passing at an 80% pass rate for each skill module and then you will receive a certificate of completion and your name will go into the database to show you passed.
Community colleges, technical colleges, high schools and universities provide certification programs. Sometimes nursing facilities and hospitals also provide certification training programs for their employees and pay for the training for the caregivers who are working for them.
The cost ranges from $500 to $2,000, usually, with tuition assistance programs, scholarships and grants often available. In some cities, community colleges offer special tuition through job training programs. Call the school admissions office to find out how you can qualify for tuition assistance and scholarships.
You can learn about nursing aide and home health aide training programs, and find a certification program in your area on Caregiverlist. As senior care will be one of the top employers in the coming decade, certification delivers stable employment, as some of our caregivers share in their caregiving stories.
Seniors with memory loss, and especially seniors who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, can benefit from having a part-time or full-time caregiver. Senior home care agencies provide training and ongoing support for caregivers who are caring for clients with memory loss. As every day can be different for the seniro with memory loss, and because sometimes the caregiver is the first person to be blamed for anything impacted by the senior's memory loss, having the full agency team proves valuable.
In Georgia this weekend, an 87-year-old woman with Alzheimer's disease left her home alone before dawn. Fortunately, she did have a caregiver present, who discovered her missing at 6:00 a.m. Saturday morning. The state police and sheriff's department began a search and found her just before 9:00 a.m. This is a reminder that confusion about time and place can lead to a senior with Alzheimer's Disease placing themself in harmful situations. Providing a caregiver can help keep their daily schedule on track, along with keeping meals and medications consistent.
The Georgia senior's wandering incident is a reminder of the realities of the challenges and needs of a senior with memory loss.
If you are a caregiver, find out if the senior you are caring for has had a mini-mental exam given by their doctor. This is an easy way to catch memory loss early.
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The top issue Caregiverlist discusses with seniors and their families is the cost of senior care. What does Medicare cover? What income level is required to qualify for Medicaid? We provide information on Medicare and Medicaid, along with specific contact information in your state. The ways to pay are:
- Medicare will pay for up to 100 days in a nursing home after a major medical event
- Medicaid will pay for care in a nursing home ongoing if you have nearly 0 assets
- Veterans may qualify for the Aid & Attendance benefit
- Reverse Mortgage
- Long-term care insurance
- Private pay with your own money
However, there is another cost involved beyond dollars. This is the emotional and physical toll caregiving takes on spouses, children and loved ones. For those involved in the hands-on aspect of caregiving, the days can be exhausting. There is also the ongoing concern about quality of care and financial ability to pay for care services.
Perhaps there could be a middle grown for the government programs which provide senior care. Why is it that Medicaid will pay for your full time care in a nursing home ongoing but you can only qualify for Medicaid after you have spent all of your assets? Ongoing nursing home care is costly (daily rates vary depending on area of the country but the average daily cost is around $300 per day). Wouldn't it be more cost-effective if the government provided a part-time caregiving benefit which could perhaps eliminate the need to spend down assets and qualify for Medicaid?
As the healthcare debate continues, this is another aspect of the high costs of care to consider.
Nursing home owners do operate profitable operations - very profitable in many cases. I happened to meet an accountant in Chicago at a charity event and his firm's main customer is a family who owns the majority of nursing homes in the state of Illinois. He told me they are very wealthy and pass the nursing homes on to their children, who sometimes are more concerned about the profits than the care and then when enough violations occur, the family just switches the ownership name to another person and continues on. Operating a nursing home that has 100% Medicaid filled beds could be compared to owning a hotel where you know every room will be rented every single night. However, nursing homes are known to understaff nursing aides and this is an ongoing issue for the senior care industry.
The more I read about the issues with healthcare reform, the more it becomes apparent that it is the people making the profits who don't want to see change. By taking the first step to make some changes, we can build upon the improvements, just as a privately owned business does and just as we all do with any area of our lives where we want to see an improvement.
As the country ponders how to improve the healthcare system, Caregiverlist would like to mention a much overlooked fact: very often the caregivers for our nation's seniors do not have healthcare insurance themselves.
The people who are actively participating in caring for the disabled, ill and aging, are not being cared for by our current health insurance system. Why? Because many providers of caregiving services are small businesses and the cost is prohibitive. A friend of mine who owns her own business and has a lifetime history of health, for example, pays $350 per month for a health insurance policy that provides coverage only after the first $5,000 of health care expenses have been paid for out-of-pocket, with no co-pays. This means she must pay out-of-pocket for any of her doctor's visits until she reaches $5,000 in doctor bills, which fortunately has not happened.
Part-time workers also often do not qualify for health care benefits and many caregivers are part-time. Caregivers who are "hire-directs" and do not work for a senior home care agency do not have health insurance as a benefit.
While there are many problems with our current system, any change for the better would be welcome. Why is Medicare the only healthcare insurance provided to everyone, and only after they are old enough, at age 65, to actually have some health problems because they have never received healthcare their entire life?
For those who have had the luxury of always having healthcare because of working for a large corporation or the government, stop and take a look around and ask your neighbor, or your caregiver, what their health insurance coverage is and find out the reality of this crisis as you form your opinion on what solutions might be best. It is important to also remember that many of the large corporations who are trying to weather the current economic storm have also been suffering from the high cost of healthcare for their employees and many have made cuts in this area.
Learn about the current plan for health care reform and learn what Medicare provides for those who are age 65 or older. Maybe we can find away to have health incentive programs and include everyone in the game of trying to stay healthy.
As the U.S. begins to climb out of the recent recession, unemployment remains high, with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting unemployment higher in July, 2009, than a year earlier in all major metropolitan markets, at 9.7%.
However, the government reports that the healthcare field is still "hot" (yes, the government really stated this in a news release), with jobs in this category including positions at hospitals, nursing and residential care facilities, physician and dentist offices and ambulatory care services, including non-medical home care.
As the population continues to age and live longer with advances in medical care, the need for senior caregivers will continue to grow.
Anyone with a caring personality and a willingness to learn about interacting with seniors who are challenged by age-related diseases, including memory loss, can seek a companion caregiving position. In addition, caregivers can become certified as nursing aides or home health aides in their state and receive additional pay while being considered for even more available caregiving positions. Hospitals and nursing homes must maintain a minimum number of certified staff to meet department of health guidelines.
You may learn about becoming certified as a nursing aide or home health aide and take a sample nursing aide test on Caregiverlist and apply for a senior caregiving job in your area.