Caregiving Offers Fulfilling Career for Older Workers

Fulfilling retirement includes having activities which exercise your mind and body.  Many seniors decide to work part-time after they retire from a full-time career and working as a professional senior caregiver delivers fulfillment beyond a paycheck.

Opportunities exist to work as a part-time caregiver for senior home care agencies and assisted living communities.  Companion caregiving positions may only involve assisting with meal preparation, light housekeeping and offering companionship for someone experiencing memory loss.

The New York Times reported this week that the elderly are increasingly being taken care of by older workers.  Caregiving positions offer flexibility and provide the fulfillment of an emotional connection to the person you are caring for - this can be especially helpful for seniors who have lost friends or loved ones.

Older workers may also explore becoming a certified caregiver by taking a nursing aide course at a local nursing aide training school.  Sometimes tuition reimbursement programs, grants and scholarships are available.

Learn about the job description for senior caregivers and apply for a senior care position in your area.

C.N.A. Jobs

Certified Nursing Aides, also called Certified Nursing Assistants or C.N.A.'s have many different job opportunities.

C.N.A. training involves an investment of $500 to $3,000, depending on what part of the country you live in.  Many community colleges and non-profit programs provide tuition grants and scholarships.  In addition, some employers will provide a bonus for C.N.A. training after the employee completes a certain time period of employment.

Why are ongoing job opportunities available for C.N.A.'s?
Because by law, nursing homes and hospitals must staff a certain percentage of certified nursing assistants, based on the number of patients admitted.  Some caregiving tasks may also only be administered by trained nursing aides.

What training is required to become Certified?
Attending a state approved certification training school will qualify you to take the state nursing aide certification exam. You can find schools in your area and take a sample nursing aide test or a practice nursing aide test to learn more about the skills which are taught.

How much money do C.N.A.'s earn?
Pay will range from $9.00 to $18 per hour, depending on the job duties, number of patients and the company's full benefit package offering.

You may also begin learning about nursing aide skills by first working as a senior companion caregiver for a senior home care agency. Agencies will provide you with training for ongoing assignments, usually providing one-on-one care for a senior.

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Updated Safe Driving Guidelines for Senior's with Memory Loss

Some things never change, as they say.  And being ready to give up the car keys and stop driving is one of them. Although many of us would be happy to give up driving if we knew we would have a car and driver at our disposal, this is rarely the case when medical conditions enter the picture.  Giving up the car keys can mean giving up your independence.  It brings to reality the changes that are happening in someone's life.

In addition, the situation of giving up the car keys is complicated when a senior is not able to understand the reasoning behind the decision.  The American Academy of Neurology has issued new guidelines for evaluating when it is time to stop driving when you have been diagnosed with dementia.

The driving exam laws vary in each state - some states require in-person driving tests at a certain age and other states do not.  However, that doesn't necessarily fix the problem - my own Great-Grandmother threatened the driving test administrator at age 95 and walked out with her driver's license.  At this point, she was having hit and runs and even drove off and left a state highway patrolman on the side of the highway when she was pulled over for not having a turn signal on.  She informed him that everyone knew where she lived and thus knew she would be turning off the highway at this particular intersection.  Our family only heard about this at the highway patrolman's retirement party.  He was so stunned by the age on her driver's license that it was one of his top stories.  He let her drive away.  But we were lucky that nothing worse happened, in a situation we were not able to control and in a situation which even the state laws did not help control.

As new technology is making our lives easier in so many areas, why not develop something new and innovative for driving tests - - perhaps a computer-simulated driving exam, just like the video games. If you don't wreck the car and make all the right turns you pass and if you run off the road or take too long to react to traffic signals, you fail.  If we can create driving games for amusement, it seems we could create such a computer exam for use at the Department of Motor Vehicles nationwide.

Having a required test would take this problem out of the hands of family members and medical doctors.  Age discrimination laws get in the way of requiring the driving exams at a certain age and certainly if a senior can still drive well at age 99, they should be allowed to do so.  But we need a better system for helping to discern when it is time to stop driving and to enforce it without causing additional conflict with medical doctors and family members.
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Katie Couric & Sesame Street Help Families with Grieving

Katie Couric visited Chicago last Friday and spoke to a group of business owners about current news topics and also shared with us some of her current projects which include a new cancer center in Virginia, in honor of her sister, Emily, who died of pancreatic cancer at age 54.

And, Katie said she was invited to talk about handling grief for a Sesame Street special and the reviews have been very positive - she has already received e-mails from parents who lost a spouse and found the Sesame Street show helps to discuss the loss of a loved one with children.

The Sesame Workshop special, called  "When Families Grieve" features Katie Couric and the Sesame Street Muppets. The show aired on PBS on April 14th and presents the personal stories about coping with the death of a parent and the strategies families have used to move forward.

Caregivers and families may view the special and learn about the grief kits Sesame Street is distributing to military families, by visiting their website.

Caregivers may also share their own caregiving story with others and learn about coping skills for caring for terminal patients on Caregiverlist's Career Center.

Certified Nursing Assistant Jobs

Senior caregivers who are interested in pursuing a career in caregiving may want to consider becoming a certified nursing assistant or C.N.A.  Certification allows for more job opportunities as nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living communities must staff a minimum number of C.N.A.'s to meet the state department of health licensing requirements.

What qualifications are needed to become a C.N.A.?
  • Caring Personality
  • High School Diploma or Equivalency Test
  • 18 years old
  • Pass Drug Test
What skills are taught in a C.N.A. training program?
  • Personal Care Skills
  • Safe Transfer Skills
  • Bathing
  • Toileting (Catheter Care)
  • Feeding
  • Managing Emotions/Personalities
All certified aides must complete a state certification exam before they are officially given their certificate.  Their training school will provide them with training in the field and a practice test.  You may take a free sample nursing aide test or practice test to learn more about the skills taught to C.N.A.'s.

You may also work as a companion caregiver while you are taking your training courses, in order to develop more skills until you pass the certification exam - you may apply for a job in your area on Caregiverlist.  Many companies will provide a tuition reimbursement and many communities also provide a stipend or scholarship or grant programs to help pay for the cost of a training course - - this is because there is an ongoing need for C.N.A.'s as the baby boomer population ages.

Research Certified Nursing Aide/Assistant training schools in your area and find out the admission requirements.  It is also a good idea to speak to their admissions department ahead of time to learn about financial aide opportunities.

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Background Check Laws in the U.S.A.

All senior caregivers employed as professional caregivers for senior care companies (senior home care agencies, assisted living communities, nursing homes) are required to pass a criminal background check upon hire.

What information is included in a criminal background check?

A federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA regulates the information which can be collected on a background check. 

What information does the FCRA allow to be collected in a background check?

  • Name match to Social Security Number
  • Address match to Name and Social Security Number
  • Criminal court records of arrests going back for 7 years

State laws will over-ride the FCRA.  Sometimes, for instance, a state will allow the background check to access criminal history beyond 7 years if the person will be working with children or the elderly.  Caregiverlist provides the state background check laws to allow you to find out if the state law will allow an employer to access additional information.

Although the law is called the Fair Credit Reporting Act and includes governing credit checks, usually senior care companies do not check credit records due to the additional expense and because caregivers and nursing aides will not work with financial records.  Credit check information, which includes showing bankruptcies and unpaid bills, will also only show a 7-year history, according to the guidelines of the FCRA.

You may purchase your own background check to review the information prior to applying for a job as a certified nursing aide, home health aide or senior caregiver.



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Resume Writing for Nurses and Caregivers

Writing a resume as a nursing aide or senior caregiver requires using a format that will highlight your personal compassion and understanding for patients and senior clients, as well as to showcase your work history and skills.

What information should you include?  Caregiverlist's Resume Builder allows you to follow a successful resume format, and organizes your information in a professional format - all for free.

A professional caregiving resume should include:

  • Objective
  • Work History
  • Education (Schools and Dates attended or graduated)
  • Personal References

Caregiverlist's resume builder shows you a sample caregiving resume and guides you through a format to create your own resume.  You may download and keep this resume and attach it to a job application on Caregiverlist or use for any job you may apply to as a senior caregiver or nursing aide (or even any other job - you write the resume yourself)!



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