Caregiver Employment Checklist

Senior caregiver employment opportunities will continue to increase as the large Baby Boomer population enters their golden years and enjoys a longer lifespan because of the advances in medicine.  At the same time, senior care services are moving to the home.  The passage of the new health care law includes the Accountability of Care Organizations to help doctors and health care providers work together to deliver better care and this means they will not receive the same reimbursements from Medicare and Medicaid if a senior patient is readmitted to the hospital too quickly after one stay.

Accountability - kind of cool that this is finally coming to help care.  Caregivers or those seeking to be caregivers or anyone interested in a fulfilling career may apply for a part-time or full-time position as a senior caregiver on Caregiverlist, the nation's only career center for professional caregivers and C.N.A.'s.

Caregivers with only personal experience may still apply for a senior caregiver job to begin gaining professional skills.  An online caregiver certification training course can be completed in 10-hours and meets the training requirements for many states and are the basic skills required of professional caregivers.

Review the Caregiver Employment Checklist and apply for a senior caregiver job in your area:

  1. Employment Eligibikity Verification for I-9 Form
  2. Professional References
  3. Personal References
  4. Copies of Professional Certifications
  5. Addresses Lived (current and former)
  6. Immunization Record
  7. Education Record
  8. Background Check
  9. Schedule of Availability
  10. Reason for Wanting to be a Caregiver

Review the caregiver job description and join this growing field to continue to enjoy caregiver career opportunities.  Remember, seniors with memory loss such as a Alzheimer's Disease sometimes need care services for as ten years or more. 

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Senior Caregiver Training Programs

Senior caregivers must perform a wide variety of job duties, making it difficult to hire just anyone for the trusted job of senior caregiver.  Because of this, many states now require senior caregivers who work as a professional caregiver to complete specific state-mandated caregiver training.

Caregiverlist's Certified Caregiver training, powered by aQuire, meets the training standards created by senior care industry executives and passed into law in the state of Illinois.  Members of the Illinois National Private Duty Association, which included the founder of Caregiverlist, were instrumental in establishing this training to set a basic standard for caregiver skills in illinois.  The Illinois Home Health Home Services & Home Nursing Agency Licensing Act requires health care workers to be part of a Health Care Worker Registry and to complete a minimum of 8 hours of senior caregiver training.

Many states do not yet have training requirements as part of a state law, but the states of Washington, Oklahoma, New Jersey, Nebraska and Delaware require 75 hours of training which is almost as much training as is required for Certified Nursing Aides or C.N.A.'s.

Senior care companies in states that do not require training usually do provide at least 10 hours of training along with on-going training for the senior caregivers to keep up with the latest skills for assisting seniors with age-related illnesses.

A recent Northwestern University study by Dr. Lee Lindquist noted that there is often a lack of consistency for training in caregivers who are not working for professional senior care companies.  Lack of training can result in inability to effectively communicate with seniors with memory loss and provide proper care for age-related illnesses.  Because of this, more states are beginning to pass legislation requiring training as the Baby Boomer population ages and will result in more than 77 million seniors.

C.N.A. training varies slightly in each state but consistently is provided by schools approved to implement the C.N.A. training and then the students must pass the state C.N.A. exam.  Caregiverlist provides a free sample C.N.A. test and a C.N.A. practice test.

Caregiver Certification for 10-hours can also be purchased online and taken at the caregiver's own pace - once passed at the 80% level, the caregiver will receive a certificate to print out.  Senior caregivers with personal or professional caregiving experience may apply for a senior caregiver job in their area.


Caregiverlist Poll - How Many Hours of Caregiver Training

Senior caregivers are required to implement many skills while performing senior care duties.  In addition to providing care for the senior's physical needs, a caregiver must be able to interact well with seniors with memory loss, hearing loss and understand the emotional challenges that come with aging.

Northwestern University's Dr. Lee Linsquist recently ignited a conversation about caregiver training after releasing a study that indicated many senior caregivers are staffed without proper background checks and training.  Senior home care agencies must perform background checks to meet their professional insurance requirements and perform certain caregiver training to meet the licensing requirements in some states.  Caregiverlist's 10-hour online Caregiver Certification training meets the training requirements advocated by the private duty association in the state of Illinois and required by the Illinois Department of Health.

Take Caregiverlist's Poll:  How Many Hours of Training Before Beginning Work as a Professional Caregiver


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Senior Care Training Programs: Online Courses for Senior Caregivers

Senior care training involves learning many skills in order to care for the emotional and physical aspects of senior care and to understand the bigger picture in order to recognize early signs of memory loss and elder care abuse which is often financial.

Senior caregivers are trained to safely assist with physical care needs such as transfering form bed to wheelchair to toilet and to interact with seniors with memory loss and hearing loss.  Many skills are improved upon as a caregiver provides care to seniors with different personality types. 

Caregiverlist's Certified Caregiver Training program provides a certificate for successful completion of a 10-hour online training program which meets the requirements established by the Illinois Department of health for non-medical senior caregivers.  The National Private Duty Association was behind the legislation which required all senior home care agencies in Illinois to become licensed beginning in September, 2008.  These licensed home care agencies must provide for a minimum of 8-hours of training each year.  The 10-hour onlione caregiver certification meets this training requirements.

The Caregiver Certification program includes these caregiver training modules:

  • Duties of a Caregiver
  • Communicating with Others
  • Observation, Reporting and Recording
  • Providing Personal Care
  • Promoting and Maintaining Good Mobility
  • Elimination and Toileting
  • Environmental Hazards and Safety
  • Basic First Aid
  • Understanding Elder Abuse

Upon passing the course at 80% success rate, a caregiver may print out their Certificate and their name will be added to the database of certified caregivers.  Senior caregivers remain in high demand by employers and may find job opportunities for part-time and full-time employment with professional senior care companies.


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Respite from Senior Caregiving: Caring for the Caregiver

The demands of taking on the responsibilities of caring for an aging parent or other relative can take a toll on both the mental and physical well-being of the caregiver.  Caregivers who lack sufficient support or respite resources risk suffering from “compassion fatigue”, which is an exhaustion that overcomes the caregiver and can cause excessive feelings of guilt.  This exhaustion is beneficial to neither the caregiver nor the one receiving care – it is vital to schedule enough breaks from daily caregiving in order to ensure the mental and physical wellbeing of the caregiver, which in turn benefits the one receiving care. 

Many support groups exist nationwide specifically to help caregivers cope with the strain of caring for a sick or elderly loved one.  While support groups are certainly beneficial, it is important for family caregivers to realize that they do not have to shoulder the entire burden of caregiving with no rest.  Options exist to help ease the exhaustion that can result from relentless caregiving.

Respite care exists so that the primary caregiver can take a vacation - whether it is a vacation out of the home, or a vacation within the home that provides a break from caregiving duties.  Adult day care is another option for family members who need to run errands or go to an appointment without worrying about how their loved one will be cared for or supervised while they are gone.  It is important for caregivers to realize that they need to consistently care for themselves while caring for another in order to provide care to the best of their abilities.  It is additionally important for relatives to realize when they are no longer able to fully care for a loved one entirely on their own. 

If your family is looking into beginning care services, Caregiverlist provides a chart that compares the by-state costs of several senior care options, including home care, live-in care, nursing home, and assisted living.  You may additionally research the costs of nursing homes in your area from our directory of the daily costs of 18,000 nursing homes nationwide.  Or, if home care would be most appropriate for your needs, allow us to connect you with quality home care agencies in your area.

Family caregivers may also take a 10-hour online caregiver training course to become certified as a caregiver and gain the skills needed to be a non-medical senior caregiver.

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Chicago Senior Care Costs

Chicago seniors prefer to stay in Chicago.  Unlike some northern cities, Chicagoland seniors most often age-in-place and stay in their home or move to a senior living community.  Downtown Chicago has even begun to attract empty-nesters from the suburbs.

Chicago seniors have the following care choices:

  • Senior home care agency hourly or live-in caregiver services (professionally managed, meeting the state of Ilinois requirements which include 8-hours of training for caregivers)
  • Assisted Living Community (which will often require additional private duty caregiving services by a senior care agency)
  • Nursing Home

Chicago nursing homes range in costs from $106 per day at Margaret Manor on West Cullom Avenue to $291 per day at the Lexington of Schaumburg.  Nursing home staffing ratios of Certified Nursing Aides to residents is an important part of considering which nursing home will be most appropriate.

Senior home care agencies in Illinois must be licensed and must provide a minimum of 8 hours of training for caregivers.  Caregiverlist's Certified Caregiver training, powered by aQuire, has been customized to meet the Illinois Department of Health caregiver training requirements for professional caregivers.  Family caregivers and professional caregivers may purchase the training online.

Chicago seniors may review the Illinois nursing home costs and ratings in Caregiverlist's nursing home directory.

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National Nursing Assistants Week Celebrates CNAs

We at recognize the important role that Certified Nursing Assistants play in the care of our elderly, frail and challenged population. We’ve made the advocacy and appreciation of CNAs one of the cornerstones of our mission.

We celebrate the 35th annual National Nursing Assistants Week from June 14-21. As our nation matures and more people choose to age in place, CNAs are a vital component to our health and well-being. We also recognize that Certified Nursing Aides provide as much as 80% of the direct care in nursing facilities.

CNAs are on the front-line of caring. They provide most of the hands-on interaction with their patients. They can be found in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospices and private homes. Certified Nursing Assistants’ duties and responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Dietary care and nutrition
  • Assistance with daily excercise
  • Aiding with personal hygiene
  • Administering medication and treatment per doctor’s recommendation
  • Providing emotional support
It’s a noble and challenging profession, and an employment sector that is guaranteed to grow in the coming years. If you are a family caregiver looking for a career, we can help answer your questions. If you are a companion or personal caregiver, consider CNA training to enhance your skill set and make you a more attractive employment candidate. And of course, if there is a Certified Nursing Assistant somewhere in your life providing care for you or a loved one, now is the perfect time to voice your appreciation for all they do.

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Posted by: Renata Jasinski Laszuk, Content Manager

Healthcare Industry Sees Massive Job Growth

Caregiver jobs are growing and this growth will continue, as new federal data for the month of May revealed that the healthcare sector was responsible for nearly 50% of new job growth this past month.  The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has consistently shown the healthcare industry to be a major component of the economy, maintaining 14.3 million employees as of their May reports.    

Those contemplating a career change or new job opportunity may consider becoming a CNA or caregiver for a senior homecare agency.  Homecare agencies are in constant need of qualified caregivers as their client needs are consistently changing.  Caregiverlist’s Caregiver Career Center can be used as a tool to research training schools and required qualifications, as well as a resource to build a resume and apply for a caregiving job. 

The essential job functions of a caregiver are the following:

  • Assist with walking and light exercise
  • Plan and prepare meals, followed by clean-up
  • Monitor food expiration dates, make future meals
  • Make beds and change linens, as needed
  • Light housekeeping to include dusting and vacuuming
  • Assist with bathing, dressing and grooming
  • Assist with safe transfers and bathroom visits
  • Monitor medical conditions
  • Laundry and ironing
  • Take out garbage
  • Run errands (pickup prescriptions, dry cleaning)
  • Engage in physical and mental exercises
  • Provide medication reminders
  • Escort an appointments (hair salon, physical therapy, etc.)
  • Escort to religious services and events
  • Maintain calendar and organize mail
  • Engage in activities (games, memory books)
  • Companionship

If the essential job duties of a caregiver interest you and you wish to join the ever-growing healthcare industry, you may research training schools in your area.  You can learn more about the components of C.N.A. training here, as well as a comprehensive guide to becoming a C.N.A. here.

Additionally, you may take Caregiverlist’s Caregiver Training, which is a 10-hour online course that covers caregiving skills and includes exams to ensure understanding.  Caregiverlist further offers a CNA practice test, as well as background checks.

Once you understand the essentials of caregiving and have your resume ready, you can apply for a job and begin a new career in the healthcare industry!

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Posted by:  Angela Manhart, Caregiverlist Blogger

Nancy Reagan Falls and Breaks Ribs: Why Aging Naturally Brings More Falls

Nancy Reagan, the former first lady and widow of President Reagan, suffered a fall which broke a few ribs and it was just recently announced she has been recovering for the last 6 weeks. At age 90, Mrs. Reagan remains active in the Republican party.  See, it is not just the Baby Boomer generation that is staying active in their later years - Mrs. Reagan is even from a generation born before the "Silent Generation" which is 1922 - 1945.
As many were surprised to here Mrs. Reagan had fallen again (she has had a few incidents), this is a reminder for senior caregivers that falls can be a natural part of aging. And, after any health injury, seniors must allow time for the body to heal. The healing process happens more slowly as part of the natural aging process - just part of the gift of getting to grow older.
Falls in the elderly are usually not due to just tripping on something, as falls for younger people may be. Instead, vision and hearing loss can impact balance which in turn will cause more falls. There may also be a delay in response time because of slower moving muscles.
Rush University Hospital in Chicago held a learning seminar for those of us in eldercare a few years ago and one of the presenters had studied the cause of falls in the elderly. In an effort to demonstrate that falls are due to balance issues and slower firing muscles, they created a red-carpet runway and had both younger and older people walk down it (while filming). They presented an obstacle at various places on the runway and then watched to see who would trip and fall.
Younger participants were able to regain balance quickly and avoid falling and elderly participants were not able to do so and would fall (they did allow them to wear a harness so they could catch them). It was a bit difficult to watch this film but it did prove the point of their findings.
As we age, our balance can be impacted by many health conditions. Part of  the natural aging process means that our cells do not regenerate new cells. This means muscles and bones are not as strong. Because of this, even when an elder does want to stop the fall, sometimes they simply cannot. 
Removing rugs that can slide or cause a stumble and eliminating stairs or other obstacles that can cause anyone to be more likely to fall are the first steps in preventing falls for the elderly. All of us have stumbled down a few stairs at some point – it happens. I even missed stepping up on a curb once when crossing the street and wiped out, in broad daylight. Which leads to another way to prevent falls for seniors which is to make sure they are wearing comfortable shoes that are easy for walking (even now I sometimes stuff my heels into the bag and wait until I arrive to make the swap).
Caregivers should always escort a senior who has become more frail, when going out in public. The safe way to do this is to place your arm underneath the senior’s arm and around to their back. This way you can instantly stop a fall.
Senator Marco Rubio, R-Florida, did break Mrs. Reagan’s fall when she lost her balance while walking into an event at the Reagan Library last summer but he actually was only holding on to her elbow and was lucky he caught her without hurting her arm.
Senior caregivers can gain more caregiving safety skills by taking a 10-hour online Caregiver Certification training course. Professional caregivers are taught the basic safety skills for transferring a senior and assisting with walking when they begin working for a senior care company.  Those who would like to work as a professional caregiver should remember that Companion Caregivers only require personal experience (as often seniors with memory loss may require ongoing caregiving just to keep medications and daily activities on track).  Caregivers and C.N.A.'s may apply for a caregiving job in their area to begin a career in senior care.
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Caregiver Training: Sample C.N.A. Test Demonstrates Skills Taught

Senior caregiver training involves learning skills to monitor vital signs, safely assist with physical care and interact with compassion to understand emotional and mental changes as someone ages.  Certified Nursing Aides or Assistants, known as C.N.A.'s, must take a state approved nursing assistant training course which colleges and senior care facilities offer.  After finishing the course, the student must pass the state C.N.A. exam in order to become a certified nursing aide.

Companion caregivers may take a 10-hour online training course to become certified as a senior caregivers.  View the training modules to understand the caregiving skills taught - you'll quickly see that providing quality caregiving takes some training. 

Senior home care agencies must meet licensing requirements in their state and properly train the caregivers they hire and supervise the caregiver to follow a customized Care Plan for each senior.  As the necessary employment taxes and insurances are provided, this protects both the senior and the caregiver and makes sure the necessary systems are in place for high quality care to be delivered.   The caregivers also must pass a background check and reference checks and because of this, families can know they will receive professional caregiving services.

What are some questions that are asked on a Certified Nursing Aide and Caregiver Certification exam?

Sample C.N.A. Test Question:  All of the following are in the Resident Bill of Rights EXCEPT:

a.  the right to form militant groups in the facility

b.  the right to be free from sexual, verbal, physical or mental abuse

c.  the right to be free of corporal punishment and involuntary seclusion

d.  the right to choose activities

Visit the Sample C.N.A. test to find the answer and to see that becoming a C.N.A. requires many skills. 

Senior care is not at all like child care, as you can see.  Senior caregivers must be trained to properly provide services for elders and understand how to report changing conditions to medical professionals.  This is why the field of senior care continues to grow and there continues to be a need for professional caregivers to work for senior care companies, hospices, assisted living communities and nursing homes.  There will be ongoing employment avaialble in senior care as departments of health do require a minimum number of Certified Nursing Aides to be on staff at all times and licensed senior care facilities.

Caregivers may begin a career by applying for a job as a companion caregiver with a professional company through Caregiverlist's Career Center - all professional senior care companies will provide training for new caregivers and you can also take the 10-hour online course to be prepared.


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