Caregiver Job Application

What information should potential caregivers expect to be asked on a senior care job application?

Individuals interested in working as senior caregivers should be able to demonstrate they are dependable and trustworthy throughout the caregiving job application process.

You will be asked about your previous caregiving experience, work experience and your caregiving skills.  Names and addresses of past employers will be needed.  You will be asked to provide the start and end dates for your previous jobs and the reason for leaving.

You will also need to provide copies of any certifications and completed training programs.

Be sure all of your information is accurate, including the previous addresses where you have lived, in order for this information to match your background check.

As the most important aspect for success in caregiving is a caring personality and an interest in providing care and assistance to someone, think about how you can communicate your reasons for seeking this type of work.  If you can share stories about experiences you have had with family members or friends or through volunteering, you will be able to provide evidence that you truly are a caring individual.

You may view a sample senior home care agency job application on Caregiverlist.

Caregiver Reference Checks

Caregivers hired for seniors have a more rigorous screening and hiring process that most employees, including nannies.  This is because senior caregivers become a friend and confidant to their clients and many times are working with a senior who may have memory loss.  It is very important to make sure the caregiver not only has the skills and experience required for caregiving but is also dependable and trustworthy.

Professional caregivers also want to be sure that hiring senior home care agencies have policies in place to both guide and protect them from anything inappropriate as they want to continue to work in the senior care field.

How do agencies screen caregivers?

The first step is a multi-state criminal background check.  Caregiverlist provides information on background check laws by state and advocates that you should run fast if a company is offering a "free" background check - lots of websites, including nanny websites, offer free checks and a good background check is going to cost at least $15.00.  Most free checks are simply a name and social security number match and perhaps a sex offender search as these are computerized and regularly updated (mandated by law).  But there are many, many counties in the U.S.A. who do not have computerized criminal records or who do not update these records daily and for this reason, to adequately do a criminal record check, you need a human to have access to the courthouse and pay the fee for accessing these records.

Caregivers then must pass a telephone screening to be invited for an interview.  Caregivers invited for an interview must fill out an application and then meet with usually a few of the company executives (Case Managers, Staffing Coordinators, Field Supervisors) and then attend a training session and successfully complete a training test.

Reference checks are conducted on only the caregivers the agency chooses to hire.  Reference checks include personal and professional references to learn about the caregiver's dependability and character.

Information verified in reference checks include:

  • Dates of employment at former jobs
  • Attendance record
  • Reason for leaving job
  • Strengths of the employee
  • Weaknesses of the employee
  • Asking if the former managers would hire the individual to take care of their own parent or grandparent

Most agencies require 3 personal and 3 business references from caregiver job applicants.  There are many kind and caring caregivers seeking to share their skills with seniors in need of care and the hiring process, including checking references, helps validate the caregiver's qualifications.

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Caregiver Positions

Senior care positions for caregivers include part-time, full-time and live-in companion care positions and 24-hour live-in positions for both companion caregivers, Certified Nursing Aides and Home Health Aides.

As the senior population continues to increase as America's largest generation, the Baby Boomers, grow older and live longer due to medical advancements, the need for senior caregivers will continue to increase.

Who hires senior caregivers?  Senior home care agencies, nursing homes and assisted living communities.

What are the typical duties for caregivers?  Duties include assisting with meal planning and preparation and cleaning the kitchen after a meal, assisting with personal care which may include helping with eating, bathing and toileting, assisting with light housekeeping, laundry, changing bed linens, monitoring medications, coaching exercises, running errands, organizing the weekly calendar and escorting the senior to appointments (especially if they are experiencing memory loss).  In addition, activities for socializing and exercising the memory may be included in the caregiving schedule.  Examples would be outings to community events, visiting a museum, attending a music or sporting event, creating a scrapbook or writing correspondence to friends and family members.

Seniors who are coping with an age-related disease such as Alzheimer's Disease, Parkinson's disease, or battling cancer may require more hands-on care.  In addition, seniors who have chosen hospice for their end-of-life care, may also require more assistance which may need to be provided by a Certified Nursing Aide or Home Health Aide.

You may learn more about training for these certifications and caregiving job descriptions on our website, and you may apply for a caregiving position in your area.

 

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Caregiver Training

Caregivers often email us to ask about caregiver training programs.  Most senior home care agencies offer training programs to all of their newly hired caregivers through orientation and continuing education seminars.  Special training programs for caring for seniors with memory loss and providing hospice care are usually offered.

Family members are often pleasantly surprised to find a caregiver is successful in interacting with their parent when family members have not been.  Often this is simply because the caregiver has been properly trained in providing senior care.  Non-medical senior caregivers may now receive online caregiver training through a 10-hour course created by aQuire training solutions which will meet the requirements that have been created by the departements of health in some states.

Many hospitals and community programs offer training and support groups for senior caregivers.  The department of health in each state regulates caregiver certification programs which are required by the laws in that state.  All states administer certification for Certified Nursing Aides.  Some states also provide certifications for training as a Certified Home Health Aide and Certified Personal Care Assistant.  Many of these certification programs are offered through community colleges and hospitals.  Sometimes an employer will cover the cost of the program or offer reimbursement after the caregiver certification training has been successfully completed.

Each state maintains a registry of those caregivers who have active certifications and requires continuing education or ongoing employment in order for the certification to remain active.  Renewals of certifications usually are required every 2 years.  All certification programs require caregivers to successfully complete criminal background checks and drug tests in order to be admitted.  Senior home care agencies, nursing homes and hospitals often require caregivers to be certified as this provides an additional guarantee that the caregiver has completed a background check, drug test, written exam, skills exam and has maintained all qualifications to remain active in the state registry (which includes not having formal complaints or disciplinary actions taken against them while employed as an aide).

Senior caregivers can also contact their local department on aging to find out about senior care training programs they may offer. 

Certified Nursing Aides are the hands-on caregivers in nursing homes and for senior home care agencies - they are often referred to as a nurse by seniors as they provide the care many people assume nurses provide.  Registered nurses do learn all of the certified nursing aide skills as part of their registered nurse education and are qualified to perform the care and many times do when hospitals and nursing homes are short-staffed.

Personal Care Assistants usually have at least 40 hours of training.

The CHHHA program is designed to provide a learning experience where students will be able to successfully obtain the entry-level skills necessary to obtain employment in the healthcare industry.

Some typical duties of a homemaker-home health aide include helping the patient take a bath, use the toilet or bedpan, and dress the patient. They also may prepare patient meals, do light laundering, straighten the patient’s room, run errands, and assist with exercise regimens.

The 76 hour curriculum mandated by the New Jersey Board of Nursing includes all components necessary (speech, occupational, physical therapy, CPR, dietary skills, etc.) to train participants to provide home care to the ill and elderly. . Students enrolled in this course will spend their time in classroom work, hands-on clinical practice, multimedia, lab skills practice and individualized student centered instruction.

The course is designed so that students will meet all requirements necessary to take the New Jersey Board of Nursing approved examination and become Certified Homemaker-Home Health Aide (CHHHA) upon the successful completion of this course

Certified Personal Care Assistant (CPCA):  Trained to assist the elderly and disabled with meals, toileting and items needed for daily living.  Usually around 40 hours of training, often this level of care is referred to as companion care.

Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA):  Entry-level training to begin working in the healthcare field and prepares individuals for training as a Certified Nursing Aide.  Training includes:  assisting patients with bathing, toileting, dressing, nutrition education and meal preparation and exercise regimens. Usually around 75 hours of training.

Certified Nursing Aide (C.N.A.):  Training to assist a registered nurse in a nursing home or hospital to administer the hands-on care, including both the emotional and physical aspects of care.  Training includes proper transfers, bathing, dressing, vital signs, catheter care, feeding tube care, hospice care and how to maintain cleanliness for all care procedures.  Usually 150 hours of training both in a classroom and clinical setting.

Caregiverlist provides tutorials for certified nursing aide training and home health aide training and lab skills, along with senior care briefs for specific care items.

 You may also join the Professional Association of Caregivers to receive 10-hours of online training for free with a certificate of completion when you pass at the 80% pass rate.

 

 

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Caregiver Qualifications

What are the qualifications to be a senior caregiver?

Senior caregiving involves assisting seniors with their activities of daily living, or "ADL's".  What are these activities?  Anything required to function throughout the day as a healthy adult:  eating, bathing, toileting, shopping, cooking, household cleaning and managing scheduled appointments.  Socializing and exercising are also considered important activities for healthy aging.

Learn about the skills required for non-medical caregivers and take an 10-hour online training caregiver certification program created by the leader in online training, aQuire Training Solutions.  You may join the Professional Association of Caregivers for ongoing support as a caregiver.

Some seniors who are recovering from a stroke, heart attack, or coping with cancer or an age-related disease such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease may require more hands-on care by a Certified Nursing Aide or Home Health Aide.  Each state manages the licensing requirements for health care workers through their department of health.  Senior home care agencies, hospitals and nursing homes must follow the state regulations for hiring senior caregivers.

The United States has 1.8 million certified nursing aides (each state also requires nursing aides to update their certification, similar to a driver's license renewal, to maintain an active certification).  As the population ages, the need for senior caregivers will continue to grow, making caregiving a career where you will always find employment (even in a slow economy).

The basic qualifications for a companion caregiver are:

  • 18-years-of age
  • Caring personality
  • Interest in senior care demonstrated through volunteering or personal experience providing care
  • Communication skills:  able to speak English clearly and record care plan updates
  • Cooking skills:  able to prepare meals including oatmeal, soup, meat and vegetables
  • Dependability:  able to arrive to assignments on time and be easily reachable by phone
  • References:  must provide business and personal references - usually 3 references are required
  • Background Check:  must pass a criminal background check
  • Driving Skills:  sometimes required, if driving a senior in their car or in your car

Senior home care agencies will provide training for each assignment.  In addition, most senior home care agencies provide training through their new caregiver orientation along with ongoing training sessions for hospice care, memory loss care and labs for testing nursing aide skills.

Caregiverlist provides you with a Caregiver Quiz and Home Health Aide and Certified Nursing Aide lab skill worksheets.  If you are interested in becoming a Certified Nursing Aide, look for programs offered through your local community colleges and hospitals.

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Caregiver Employment

As the population ages, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the personal and home care aide job category will more than double in the next ten years.  If you are looking for job stability, becoming a senior caregiver could be the career for you.

While advances in medicine are enabling seniors to live longer, additional care services are often required.  For instance, the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease increases dramatically for those over age 65.

According to the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute, about 40% of people aged 65 or older have age associated memory impairment (about 16 million people in the U.S.A.). Only about 1% of them will progress to dementia each year.  Although patients with mild cognitive impairment are able to continue to live independently, they show objective memory  impairments similar to those seen in people with very mild Alzheimer's disease. And about 10% of people aged 65 years or older have mild cognitive impairment, and nearly 15% of them develop Alzheimer's disease each year.

These are just the statistics for Alzheimer's disease care needs.  The likelihood for heart disease, stroke, cancer and Parkinson's disease also increase as we age.  Another interesting statistic:  the number one risk for women to develop breast cancer is living a longer life - the older we are, the greater the risk. 

The caregiver category is identified as professionals who help the elderly, disabled, ill and mentally disabled live in their own homes or in residential care facilities instead of in health facilities.

What type of jobs are available for senior caregivers? Nursing homes, assisted living communities, hospitals and senior home care agencies all hire certified nursing aides.  Usually certification can be obtained within two months and sometimes scholarships or grants are available from community programs. 

Caregiverlist's Senior News reports nursing homes will continue to need Certified Nursing Aides and provides information about the nursing aide programs in California and Illinois.

Have you worked as a nursing aide in a nursing home, hospital or for a senior home care agency?  We invite you to share with our site visitors which type of position you preferred.

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Caregiver Jobs

Even with the economic downturn, there continue to be openings for caregiving positions with Senior Home Care Agencies, Nursing Homes and Assisted Living Facilities.

Why do there continue to be caregiver job openings?

One of the reasons is the aging population as the large Baby Boomer generation ages (the number of seniors over age 65 will double in the next 20 years) and their care needs develop as they grow older.

Lori Porter, a senior leader of the Coalition to Protect Senior Care says nursing facilities nationwide are challenged by staffing shortages, estimated to be at 110,000 for front line direct care workers in skilled nursing facilities.  With 3 out of 4 nursing facility patients paid for by Medicare or Medicaid, sometimes the facilities only staff one nursing aide for as many as 15 patients.  Because of this, there is high turnover by the aides as they often feel they cannot adequately keep up with the patient needs and become exhausted and frustrated.  At the same time, nursing aides may continue their education and move to other positions on the staff.

Because Medicare does not pay for long-term care in a nursing facility, seniors are also opting for care in the home which has created a new industry in recent years.  Senior Home Care Agencies provide professional care in the home and the caregiver provides care for just one client.  Many nursing aides will choose to move to positions in senior home care after working at a nursing facility because they prefer to provide one-on-one care for a senior.  Both long-term care insurance policies and the Veteran's Aide and Attendance benefit will pay for care in the home provided by a licensed senior care agency.  Many senior care companies have launched to provide for this care, creating an entire industry in just the last 10 years.

Senior Home Care Agencies hire both part-time and full-time caregivers to accommodate client needs, as new clients can arrive daily as they are discharged from the hospital and choose to go to their own home to recover.  In addition, many clients who develop memory loss will opt for home care to keep their meals, medications and personal care on track.

Caregiving positions may require specific training and usually a Senior Home Care Agency can assist caregivers with obtaining training through their own programs our through community programs.  Certified Nursing AIde classes are offered by community colleges and technical colleges and usually can be completed in 6 to 8 weeks, depending on if they are full or part-time programs.  Background and reference checks are required to work with seniors.

You may submit a job application on Caregiverlist to be connected with hiring senior care companies in your area.

 

 

 

 

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Certified Nursing Assistant Rescues Infant

The shootings in Alabama this week brought the spotlight to a Certified Nursing Assistant who came to the rescue of a 3-month old baby who was the one survivor on the front porch of the shooter's uncle's home.  With the baby's mother shot and killed,  along with four others, Alina Knowles quietly crept onto the porch to avoid being seen by the shooter and brought the baby to safety at a neighbor's house.

Her training helped her to respond with calmness to an emergency situation.

Many caregivers for seniors become certified nursing aides after a personal experience of caregiving.  Caregiverlist's "Share Your Story" allows caregivers to share their experience of caregiving and also tell about what lead them to provide care as a professional caregiver.  Caregivers working as Certified Nursing Aides learn how to cope with the emotional challenges of caregiving, as well as how to provide physical care assistance as well.

 

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Caregiver Interview Questions

Senior Home Care Agencies have created systems to effectively hire quality caregivers.  Nursing homes and Assisted Living communities also have hiring systems for Certified Nursing Aides.

Beyond the usual questions about experience and previous jobs you have held, hiring companies need this information to more quickly process your application:

1) Copy of Certificates for any specialized training (Certified Nursing Aide, Home Health Aide)

2) Copy of your identification: Driver's License, State I.D., Social Security card or Passport

3) Names and phone numbers of at least 3 personal references and 3 business references (can be a manager or colleague)

4) Names and addresses of former employers along with valid phone numbers for each

Note:  you may obtain non-medical caregiver certification through an approved 10-hour online caregiver certification course.

Caregiverlist receives many questions about the hiring process and most of these questions are answered on our FAQ's.  And, what do we think is the most important question for both the hiring company and the caregiver?  Finding out the reason the caregiver was attracted to working as a caregiver.  There are many types of work which will pay more than caregiving and the best caregivers are doing senior care for many reasons beyond a paycheck.  By finding out what these reasons are, you will learn more about the caregiver applicant and gain insight about their personal values.

 

 

 

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Senior Care Jobs

Even with the slowing economy and the highest rate of unemployment in decades, there remains a strong demand for senior caregivers to meet the staffing needs of senior care companies.  Caregiverlist's Career Center connects caregiving job applicants to hiring companies in their area for both part-time and full-time senior care jobs.

Senior Home Care Agencies are constantly hiring caregivers due to some of the unique aspects of the industry: 

-Hospital stays are shorter:  a senior may be discharged while still needing some assistance while recovering from a hip replacement or other types of surgery or from an illness (and I won't even mention the fact that sometimes seniors take home a new infection from the hospital which requires a caregiver to assist them while recovering).

-Medicare will pay for rehabilitation in the home now:  Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Speech Therapists and RN's will provide care in the home for a senior as long as the medical doctor gives approval.  However, these skilled professionals just provide rehabilitation care within their specialties and do not provide daily care for Activities of Daily Living which means non-medical caregivers must be hired to assist (and this is usually superior to staying in a nursing facility which does not provide one-on-care by a Certified Nursing Aide).

-Hospice care:  many times seniors who have a terminal illness will choose to have hospice care in the home and will require a caregiver to assist with their personal care.

-Memory loss:  with advancements in medical technology and treatments, seniors are living longer and the longer we live, the more our chances of having some type of memory loss increase.  Many times part-time care is required to keep everything on track for a senior suffering from Alzheimer's Disease or another form of dementia.

Senior care jobs include working as a non-medical companion caregiver or Certified Nursing Aide or as a scheduler or recruiter for a Senior Home Care Agency to keep things moving as new clients begin services and as current client's care needs change.  Most Senior Home Care Agencies provide training and there are also many community programs and associations that provide training seminars on senior care.  Caregiverlist's short job application connects your information with multiple hiring companies in your area to help meet the ongoing staffing needs for senior caregivers.

 Some positions will require experience and others will only require a caring disposition and dependability.  Reference and background checks are always required the pay is always well above minimum wage (you can also learn all about background check requirements in your state as well as minimum wage on Caregiverlist's "by state" pages)

 

 

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