Fulfilling Employment: Senior Caregiving

Senior caregiving offers fulfillment beyond a paycheck, as you are able to become a needed companion and make a positive difference in a senior's day.  By providing one-on-one care for a senior, caregivers are able to provide emotional support, along with assistance with "activities of daily living", also called "ADL's" in the senior care industry.

Senior caregiving positions are available part-time and full-time, as seniors often need only part-time care when recovering from a major surgery or when they are just beginning to develop dementia or another age-related disease.

What training is required to become a senior caregiver?

  • Companion Caregivers only need compassion, personal experience and to complete training provided by a Senior Home Care Agency
  • Certified Nursing Aides must complete a C.N.A. training course and pass their state exam
  • Certified Home Health Aides also must complete a training course and pass a state exam in state's which offer this

Positions are available in nursing homes, assisted living communities, hospices and senior home care agencies.  In addition, many hospitals hire companion caregivers for "sitter" services as they do not have enough nursing aides to assist with one-on-one care.

You may enhance your skills by taking practice nursing aide exams, reading senior care training briefs and viewing caregiver training videos.  Benefits are usually available for caregivers who work full-time. You may also learn more by talking with other caregivers or reading caregiver stories.




Senior Caregiver Training

Providing care for seniors presents many challenges as the senior copes with the physical and emotional aspects of aging, along with the deaths of loved ones, which only increases the longer one lives.  My own grandmother is the oldest of 5 children, and, at age 94, the only one living.  One of the many challenges of aging is dealing with the grieving process as you lose loved ones.  It is important to maintain social connections and keep making new friends.

Caregivers also need support from others to continue to provide quality care.  It sometimes can help to know someone else is experiencing similar caregiving challenges and learning new care techniques can help deliver new results.  You may now take a 10-hour online non-medical caregiver training course and receive a certificate of completion.  Take the course at your own speed, passing each test module at 80%.  You may read and listen to the training for each skill.

Learn about caring techniques for age-related illnesses from our senior care briefs and view caregiver training videos from Terra Nova to gain new skills for caring for senior's with memory loss.

You may also read stories from other caregivers to find out how they have managed care challenges and share your own story.

By continuing to interact with other caregivers an by gaining additional caregiving skills, professional and family caregivers can make a positive difference for an aging senior.

Caregiver Training: Medication Safety

Seniors are often taking a variety of medications, at a variety of times throughout the day.  One of the first tasks for a Senior Home Care Agency is to determine the medication schedule and to make sure the schedule is organized and communicated to the caregiver.  In order for medications to be fully effective, they must be taken on time and as instructed (with or without food, before bedtime or after waking up, for example). 

The National Family Caregivers Association is hosting a tele-class and Webinar on medication safety, called "Safe and Sound: How to Prevent Mediation Mishaps".  It is estimated that about 100,000 people die each year because of adverse drug reactions and thousands of others do not enjoy the full benefits of their medications because they are not taken properly.

Time:  November 12th, 2pm - 3pm Eastern Standard Time

You may register here:  www.thefamilycaregiver.org

You may also learn about organizing medications and managing them as part of senior Care Plan on Caregiverlist.

Caring for Seniors with Alzheimer's Disease

There are several types of dementia.  People are usually most familiar with the form of memory loss called Alzheimer's Disease because it can begin at a younger age (many people develop A.D. in their 50's) and causes emotional challenges for family members because of the "long goodbye".  All seniors will experience some memory loss after the age of 85, but this short-term memory loss does not include forgetting person, place and things, which happens with Alzheimer's Disease.  You may forget what you ate for lunch, but you know your sister is your sister and not your mother, when you are experiencing short-term memory loss, unlike A.D. where you forget who people are, forget where you are and eventually forget to take care of your own activities of daily living.

One of my girlfriends decided to change careers from accounting to nursing after her experience of caring for her mother who developed Alzheimer's Disease at age 55.  She was still in college when her mother's behavior began to change.  At first, people thought her mother was schizophrenic - everyone thought she was too young for Alzheimer's Disease.  Twenty years later, she is living in a nursing home, requiring complete care and does not recognize any of her family members. 

Our caregiving videos assist with ways to care for senior's who are dealing with Alzheimer's Disease.  Learn how to simplify tasks, communicate and create engaging activities as their caregiver.  Caring for a senior with A.D. presents new challenges each day and these videos provide techniques for making the caregiving journey easier.

Family Caregiver Bill Update

The Family Caregiver Program Act of 2009 was introduced by Senator Daniel Akaka of Hawaii on April 2, 2009, and has been placed on the U.S. Senate calendar for discussion on September 27, 2009.

What caregiving benefits does the bill include?

  • Creates a family caregiver program for designated family members to be certified as a personal care attendant
  • Provides monetary stipends for the caregiver
  • Provides education, training, certification for the caregiver, as needed, to provide the necessary level of care
  • Provides health services and mental health services to the caregiver
  • Provides a respite caregiver while the family caregiver is undergoing caregiver training

The bill would provide for a program to support and pay for the home caregiving services to qualifying veterans.  Many veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have suffered multiple injuries and will require ongoing assistance with their daily living.  These veterans prefer to stay in their home, according to surveys conducted by the Wounded Warrior Project, especially since many of these veterans have young children who are still living at home.  The Veteran's Administration does currently provide care in a nursing home which can cost as much as $80,000 per year.  This bill would assist veterans who need ongoing caregiving services, if they have suffered a serious injury after September 11, 2001, to receive the care in their home and allow their caregiver to receive the necessary training and benefits.

What should you know about this bill?

The Veteran Administration opposes it.  They feel that the bill would divert resources from medical care for veterans to medical care for the family caregiver and sets up an entitlement program for just one group of veterans and is not available to all veterans.  You can find information about senior care services in your state and contact your local senator or congressman to express your concerns or views or support for this bill.

Unemployment Rate Increases to 9.8% in September but not for Senior Caregivers

The U.S. Labor Department reported the economy lost 263,000 jobs in September, with the unemployment rate rising to 9.8 percent.  However, employment opportunities in senior care are still plentiful, with an ongoing need for certified nursing aides, home health aides and companion caregivers.  Every state provides certification for nursing aides and some states provide the additional certification for home health aides. 

Senior caregiving positions provide fulfillment, in addition to earning a paycheck.  Senior caregivers are able to leave their jobs at the end of the day knowing they made a positive difference in someone's life.

Professional caregivers are able to receive benefits and training when working for senior care companies, assisted living communities and nursing homes. 

Caregivers are able to share their caregiving stories with Caregiverlist and a recent story tells how someone who was laid off found fulfillment in a new career as a caregiver:

"After many years of soul searching and the circumstance of being laid off from a job of 8 years in a profession I had worked in for 30+ years, I was convinced by family members that I should consider health care as a viable solution to my unemployment. With that in mind, I was able to secure a job in Home Health Care, from a company that was willing to hire me. This resulted in my meeting Sharon.

Sharon is/was a remarkable human being who found humor in ways I could not in my wildest of dreams imagine finding. She suffered from an incurable disease that at times made her unable to do the simplest of bodily functions. Even with that, and on her worst days (and believe me, she did have some of them, many of them, in fact) she was able to persevere and move forward with her life. She showed me things about myself that I never realized were there, and taught me how to evaluate circumstances in a more realistic manner.

Sharon, who I am no longer able to help out any more, continues to move forward in her life in a way that I only hope I am able to do as my time passes. She, in her own way, was, in part responsible for me getting my CNA certificate and pursuing a career in health because of the way she fought on to maintain her independence and her health. I will always be inspired in anything that is of a helping nature that I do, because of my one-of-a-kind client and friend, Sharon."

As the senior population increases and as advances in medical care allow people to live longer lives, a career as a senior caregiver offers job security along with the ability to continue to learn new skills, obtain additional training certification and advance in your position.  Learn more about caregiver training from our caregiving videos, take a practice nursing aide test and apply for a caregiving job  or find a certification training school in your area and enjoy a career as a senior caregiver.

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