Caregiver Training for Senior Caregivers Includes Online Training + C.N.A. Training

Caregiverlist CaregiverTraining for caregivers – where do you find it, how much does it cost and how do you know which training is the right one for you?  These are questions we are often asked by both professional caregivers and family caregivers.  We enjoyed meeting some of our professional Chicago Caregivers this week who visit to apply for a senior care job position whenever they are looking for caregiver employment (and use our resume tools and training information) - we look forward to meeting more of you at our job fairs.


Caregiver training involves learning skills to safely care for a senior’s physical needs, emotional needs and understanding how to monitor signs of new conditions such as depression or elder abuse.


Senior caregivers are hired as:


·         Companion Caregivers

·         Certified Caregivers

·         Certified Nursing Aides (C.N.A.’s)

·         Certified Home Health Aides (C.H.H.A.’s in NJ, CA)


Companion caregivers often work with seniors who have memory loss but just need a “companion” to keep their day on track. Certified Caregivers meet the 10-hour caregiver training requirement that has been established by many states and by the senior care industry.  Certified Nursing Assistants, or Aides, are called C.N.A.’s and must complete a state-approved course and then pass the C.N.A. exam.  Every 2 years a C.N.A. must renew their certification.


Becoming a caregiver for a senior can begin as a companion caregiver.  You may then take the 10-hour online caregiver certification course to be a certified non-medical senior caregiver.  Senior care companies often provide caregiver training but taking the online caregiver training course will help you know what to expect when you begin working as a caregiver.  You may also take a sample C.N.A. test to understand the skills taught at C.N.A. schools (and find an approved C.N.A. school in your area).


Apply for a caregiver job in your area, as senior care companies are constantly hiring in order to keep up with their staffing needs in this growing industry (seniors may quickly need care services after a stroke, hip replacement or when memory loss accelerates).


Caregiver pay is above minimum wage and can range from $8.50 to $16 per hour, depending upon what part of the country you live in and the level of skills required. Benefits such as payroll taxes, performance bonuses, paid vacation, flexible hours and health insurance also are available.


Caregiver job descriptions and caregiver stories are also available in Caregiverlist’s Caregiver Career Center to help you learn more about becoming a senior caregiver. You may also join the Professional Association of Caregivers to receive the 10-hour certified online training and a t-shirt and lapel pin and additional information to begin your caregiver career. Both family caregivers and professional caregivers may join the P.A.C.


Caregiverlist just attended a few C.N.A. school job fairs this week and all of the graduating C.N.A. students who talked with us shared they find working as a senior caregiver to be very fulfilling.  While you may have some days which present challenges, when you become a senior caregiver you will go home each day knowing that you are appreciated.  These C.N.A.’s also shared with us that they appreciate knowing they can continue to grow their career as there will continue to be many jobs in this industry which is predicted to be the top category for jobs in the next decade.  Apply for a senior caregiver job now in your area.

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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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Companion Caregiver Robot May Be Future of Home Caregiving

In a recent poll conducted by the National Council on Aging, UnitedHealthcare and USA Today, the majority of seniors are content with their lives, until they need caregiving. The numbers show that the majority of caregiving falls on family members. But what happens when potential family caregivers live far away or have no desire or knowledge of how to provide that care?

Meet Hector.

The CompanionAble project has developed Hector the Companion Robot, whose goal is to help the elderly live at home (semi)-independently for as long as possible. Hector’s job is to assist with the activities of daily living for the elderly living with mild cognitive impairment. Hector demonstrated some of his care abilities such as diary management, reminders for taking medicines on time, and, setting up video-conferencing sessions to the EU President Jose Manuel Barroso and the EU Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science Marie Geoghegan-Quinn, at the European Innovation Convention in Brussels in December 2011. Final trials and demonstrations are underway in Spain, Netherlands, France and Belgium.

Hector-like companions have also recently appeared in film. Can real-life robotic companions be far behind?

Set in the near future, Frank, a retired cat burglar, has two grown kids who are concerned he can no longer live alone. They are tempted to place him in a nursing home until Frank's son chooses a different option: against the old man's wishes, he buys Frank a walking, talking humanoid robot programmed to improve his physical and mental health.--Synopsis of the movie, Robot and Frank, starring Frank Langella.

Is this the future of caregiving? According to Project Coordinator Professor Atta Badi of The University of Reading, UK, Hector will provide cognitive support and stimulation of the elderly, to help them live at home longer. Tell us what you think of this innovative initiative.

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Northwestern University Study Confirms Caregiver Quality Vital Requirement

Senior caregivers must be qualified and trained in order to deliver quality care.  As we have often said, senior caregiving is not at all like babysitting.  The parents are present at the beginning and end of a babysitting shift and children are expected to follow the directions of a babysitter.  In senior care, age-related diseases such as memory loss, can be present, and the additional stress of dealing with the aging process require a trained caregiver.

Now a Northwestern University research study confirms caregiver quality is a vital when senior care services are necessary.  Lee Lindquist, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a physician at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, conducted a research study which is published in the July 13th issue of the Journal of American Geriatrics Society.  The study confirms that quality standards are a must when hiring a senior care company.

Hire-direct care rarely works in senior care and because of the high incidents of financial abuse in senior care, many states have passed legislation requiring only licensed senior home care agencies to provide in-home care (be wary of the babysitter websites - many of them have a long list of babysitter arrests since there is a lack of identification checks to prevent an alias name from being used - - - there are new social babysitting sites where only neighborhood Mom's are making referrals).  Senior care industry professionals know that active management is necessary for successful senior care.  In addition, licensed senior home care agencies provide the necessary payroll taxes and insurance coverages, such as Worker's Compensation insurance and Professional Liability insurance to protect both the senior and the caregiver.

Proper background checks are imperative - it is important to know that a simple name and social security number match are only a beginning.  Proper training for senior caregivers also should be a requirement, such as a caregiver certification course (the state of Illinois requires a minimum of 8 hours of training for senior caregivers and you should ask a senior home care agency to provide you with their training system).

Dr. Lindquist provides "10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Caregiver":

  1. How do you recruit caregivers and what are your hiring requirements?
  2. What types of screenings are performed on caregivers before you hire them?  Criminal background check (federal or state?), Drug screening? Other?
  3. Are they certified in C.P.R. or do they have any health-related training?
  4. Are the caregivers insured and bonded through your agency?
  5. What competencies are expected of the caregiver you send to the home?
  6. How do you assess what the caregiver is capable of doing?
  7. What is your policy on nproviding a substitute caregiver if a regular caregiver cannot provide the contracted services?
  8. If there is dissatisfaction with a particular caregiver, will a substitute be provided?
  9. Does the agency provide a supervisor to evaluate the quality of home care on a regular basis? How frequently?
  10. Does the supervision occur over the telephone, through progress reports or in-person at the home of th eolder adult?

Caregiverlist provides a Career Center for senior caregivers which includes training tools and information on the senior care industry.


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Navigating the Senior Care Maze: Free Webinar from American Society on Aging

American Society on Aging (ASA) is hosting a free webinar titled:  Navigating the Senior Care Maze, as part of the Family Caregiver Support Series.

Senior care can be overwhelming for both seniors and their family members.  Understanding the costs of care, the senior care options and keeping up with the latest medical care for age-related diseases can be a full-time job and is a full-time job for professional caregivers.

Navigating the Senior Care Maze webinar will outine the critical medical information needed, including document gathering and doctor and medication mnagement so that caregivers can better manage the senior's care and be prepared for potential emergencies.

Caregivers can obtain professional caregiver training online, accessing a 10-hour online Caregiver Certification course that meets the training guidelines established in a few states which is the basic training for non-medical caregivers (caregivers who are not Certified Nursing Aides).  As more caregivers are constantly needed in the senior care industry, individuals may also learn about caregiving careers and apply for a senior care job near them.

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Background Checks for Caregivers

Quality Background Checks for Senior Caregivers

Background checks, the official “criminal” background checks, are really only the starting point for senior care companies.  Why? Because understanding a background check and reading it properly takes skill and professional senior care companies have the skills required to properly read a background check.  It is also important to understand exactly what you are purchasing when you buy a background check on someone.

Online babysitter sites have had many babysitters hired who have used alias names and later been arrested for theft or had a criminal record.  This partly happens because these websites are easy-entry for these offenders and partly because those with criminal records know that many individuals do not know how to purchase quality background checks.  But this is also why hire-direct caregivers are also a risk for seniors and their families.  Bad guys look for hire-direct situations where they know someone may not do a multi-state background check.  Some consumers are not aware that some background check services are only a name and social security number match.  These bad guys specifically look for independent contractor hire-direct jobs because of this. 

The best way to avoid the bad guys and protect your senior loved one and the caregiver you are hiring is to do the following:

1)   Multi-state Background Check (include a minimum of 3 counties where the individual has lived)

2)   Match addresses on the Background Check report results to the addresses the person provides to you

3)   Research the Counties that require a Courthouse fee to be paid in order to access the criminal records because if you are not paying this additional fee, you are not receiving that county’s records

4)   Only hire a Senior Caregiver through a professionally licensed Senior Home Care Agency

Professional senior home care agencies will take care of all the necessary payroll taxes needed for a caregiver along with the professional liability insurance, Fidelity bond insurance and healthcare benefits.

Avoid “free” background check services.  As my Grandpa always said, when he took us to the General Store that had a basket of free candy –“if it is free don’t take too much”.  Sure, it is tempting and sounds good, but there is always a bad after-taste.

Also consider the source of information.  Anyone selling a background check should educate you on the process.  Caregiverlist provides information on the national law governing background checks, called the FCRA, or Fair Credit and Reporting Act.  Yes, the word “credit” is in this law but it does govern background checks, too.  There is the typical 7-year look-back limit, except in states that allow access to older criminal records if someone will be caring for seniors or children.  Caregiverlist provides the “By-State” Background Check Laws.

Here is what you should remember, too, the real bad guys move.  They are counting on you not reviewing their records from the past because you are only reviewing the criminal records for one county.

When I owned a senior home care agency I originally access the State Police background check records.  I then found out that your State Police service can only provide you with the information from your state.  How did I learn this?

A caregiver who we will call Yo-Yo seemed wonderful in every way.  Her Dad was a preacher and she wanted to be sure we knew this, and her background check came back clean.  She was very good with the client and made it a point to be good friends with her supervisor.  She even called her on Mother’s Day and was always very giving with compliments towards the company.

The best reason to use a senior home care agency to manage senior care services can be shown by the example of what later happened with Yo-Yo.

Yo-Yo provided live-in care for a senior lady who had some memory loss.  In live-in care situations, a minimum of two caregivers rotate during the week.  The caregivers do not actually “live” with the client.  The caregivers are able to go back to their own home each week and will usually work 3 days at a time.  They receive down-time in the evening and prepare and share meals with the client.  Some caregivers prefer live-in assignments as it allows them to manage a household in addition to providing care.

Our agency did regular check-in visits by Supervisors.  All senior home care agencies will monitor the care through interaction with both the caregiver and the senior and through daily Care Plan reports which are submitted weekly and “check-in” visits by Supervisors.

One weekend, when the Supervisor was “checking in” on Yo-Yo, it was discovered that the client’s car was not there.  Yo –Yo had decided to earn extra income by renting the car out to friends.

This situation was quickly corrected and Yo-Yo was terminated, although in the meantime she had fled.  Through filing a police report we discovered that Yo-Yo did have criminal record for shop-lifting and a few other petty crimes in Wisconsin and Texas.  However, she had performed community service for one of the acts and thus it was never permanently on her record (we probably aren’t suppose to know about it either but policeman will share things with you).

The police do have access to all the charges and can view criminal charges along with convictions in other states.  Yo-Yo did show up a few years later and actually made contact with the police to rectify her situation.

Just know that another way to be protected from people who are looking to take advantage of a senior is to simply hire a professional company to do the care – they are a barrier to the bad guys and they also have systems in place to quickly correct situations when needed.

Senior care can be difficult.  I believe the stress of senior care can take a toll on even a good caregiver.  Imagine caring for a senior who may be grumpy each day, or even mean as sometimes this can happen when personalities change through memory loss.  Little by little, even good situations can turn bad if proper support for the caregiver is not in place.

Most professional senior home care agencies will also start at least one new senior care case each month that was a hire-direct caregiver situation that went bad.  Learn about being a quality caregiver by securing training and only work with experience senior care professionals. Caregivers need support and also need proper systems in place to implement quality care and professional care managers know how to provide these tools.  A 10-hour online caregiver training provides basic-training for senior caregivers.

Review the Background Check laws in your state and the FCRA.


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Caregiver Stress: American Psychological Association Confirms

Senior caregivers well know that their work can be stressful.  Now the American Psychological Association is highlighting the link between stress and health.  Many times the caregiver of a senior can find they have additional health problems because of the stress of caregiving.  The data from the latest Stress in America survey suggests that the connection between stress and health is especially critical among adults age 50 and older who serve as caregivers for a family member.

This is why hiring a professional caregiver delivers more than just care for the senior - it also assists the senior's loved ones to maintain balance in their own life.  And it allows the senior's spouse and children and friends to enjoy quality time with them.

Managing stress in a health way is important for senior caregivers.  One quick stress reliever, which also delivers a health benefit by instantly lowering blood pressure and producing a relaxation response is the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise.

Relaxation Breath Exercise:  The 4-7-8 Breath

This exercise is simple and does not require special equipment - we give credit to Dr. Andrew Weil.

  1. Exhale completely through your moth, making a whoosh sound.
  2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4.
  3. Hold your breath for a count of 7.
  4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of 8.
  5. This is 1 breath.  Now inhale again and repeat the cycle 3 more times for a total of 4 breaths.

Now do you feel relaxed?  It works every time.  Always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth.  The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time.  Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation.  The time you spend on each phase is not important: the ratio of 4:7:8 is important.

As everyone is learning the value of having a professional caregiver, those who are interested in working as caregivers may apply for a caregiving job position in their area - just remember to take time to take care of the caregiver!


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Senior Caregiver Pay: San Francisco Minimum Wage to Top $10.00

Senior caregivers provide emotional support and care along with assisting with a senior's physical care needs.  Because of this, caregiving can take a toll.  Some seniors experience memory loss and personality changes and can be difficult to care for while other seniors are just plain grumpy and unhappy with all that comes with the aging process.  For these seniors, there is really no amount of money that will adequately pay someone to care for them and senior home care agencies can tell you about clients who they must constantly restaff a new caregiver because of the difficulty of the senior's care needs and emotional state.

San Francisco caregivers will now enjoy a higher pay rate, as the city has passed an increase in minimum wage, which will be $10.24 beginning January 1, 2012, a 32 cent increase, from $9.92.

Beyond the pay rate for senior caregivers, working as a caregiver brings the fulfillment of helping a senior and their family, which gives senior caregivers a sense of purpose.  And guess what?  Having a sense of purpose delivers happiness.  According to research on the science of happiness, individuals with a sense of purpose in their lives are happier than anyone else.  This includes rock stars and celebrities who enjoy their "high" moments but sometimes are unable to sustain the glory of the highs into an ongoing sense of fulfillment........which leads to drug abuse and alcholism as ways to find the high, again and again.  Senior caregivers experience the happiness of being appreciated for their work on a daily basis when they are working for a professional care company and fully trained and supported in their work.

Professional senior caregivers usually are attracted to the profession because they have experienced the benefits of providing care personally and are looking for a fulfilling career which also pays the bills.

Learn more about working as a senior caregiver and find training programs and apply for a job in your area to find happiness daily, while paying the bills!

Senior caregiving positions usually pay more than minimum wage and you can learn about the minimum wage in each state along with other senior care information in Caregiverlist's "By State" section.



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Rick Perry Speaking Gaffe: Lessons We Can Learn

Rick Perry had an "oops" in the Republican Presidential Candidate debate and as he said, he stepped into it.  But it is always embarrassing when you forget your lines in front of a boss, a client or a huge audience.

Senior caregivers can be nervous the first time they go to a client's home to meet them.  You are on new turf and meeting someone for the first time who you will need to provide personal care services to in their private home setting.  What do you say and do and what happens if you say the wrong thing?

Just like what happened to Rick Perry, it can be rather easy for the wrong words to come out when you are nervous or to completely draw a blank.  Mikki Williams, a leading speaker's coach who also runs a speaker's training school, says there are certain techniques you can learn to make sure this never happens.

One of these techniques is to always have a story you can tell.  A story you know well and are passionate about and you won't forget it because it is your story.

Practice talking about the experiences that lead you to become a caregiver and share something personal about yourself when you meet a senior client for the first time. It can be something funny or even something sad.  When you share your story, you open the door to allow others to share their story.  You can read senior caregiving stories here and also share your own.

As for speaking, well, in elementary school I made it to the Spelling Bee final at my school.  One person from each grade was able to participate in the big evening Spelling Bee where parents and extended families were invited.  We practiced the day before and were told our first word would be easy.   The night of the Spelling Bee final, I saw my family, including my grandparents and brothers, sitting in the audience.  For the first round, I received the word "knock".  Easy enough.  I walked up and said "n".  My heart sank to my ankles.  I didn't even finish, as I knew the mistake I had made.  I knew how to spell knock but the nerves took over.  And then I saw my brother laughing at me.  The librarian with the tight bun smacked the bell and I was out. 

I can sympathize with anyone speaking in front of a crowd - sometimes you can say the wrong thing. 

But, as we all know, there are many great speakers out there who never say the wrong thing.  While it can come more naturally to some, all the great speakers have had proper speaker's training and have practiced.  That is the secret to their success.

Practice talking about your experiences in caregiving and practice telling a personal story before you meet your senior client for the first time.  Review the caregiver training you have had so that you can talk about your caregiving skills.  Then everything will go smoothly and you will make a great first impression.  As seniors who are receiving caregiving services sometimes get better or pass away, there can be turnover in jobs.  By being prepared to talk about your caregiving skills, you'll always be ready to start a new caregiving job, even if it is a quick turnaround.

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Illinois Medicaid Changes: Look-back for Finances Increases to 5 years

Medicaid, the health insurance for very low-income seniors, pays for nursing home care ongoing.  Medicare, the health insurance for all seniors who have income over what is deemed low-income by each state, does not pay for nursing home care.  This matters, because nursing homes can cost as much as $400 per day which means someone with substantial savings can spend so much money on senior care services that they will then meet the poverty level for their state and qualify for Medicaid to pay for their nursing home stay for as many years as they may need the care.

The recent recession has resulted in lower tax revenue for states.  And, in Illinois, the former governor who was impeached also made so bad moves that have left the state with a huge debt and behind on paying their bills.  Medicaid is both a federal and state program, meaning the states must be able to help finance the costs.

Paying for a nursing home for as many years as a person may need it can get rather costly.  Right now, in Illinois, there is really no "in-between" care program for seniors on Medicaid.  If you need care services, the state of Illinois will pay for it in a nursing home, not at home. 

The state of Illinois now will now make it possible to "look back" at a senior's finances for 5 years, instead of 3 years.  The lengthening of the look-back period will enable the state to be sure that money wasn't given away if you really could afford to pay for the nursing home care on your own (seniors may gift the money to their children so they will have some inheritance, rather than using this money to pay for their nursing home care and now there are limits on how much money can be "gifted" in order to qualify for Medicaid).  This requirement was added because in the past there were some very wealthy families who were asking for the state to pay for their nursing home care and pretending they had no financial resources when they had really just given all their money away to a loved one.

However, senior care costs can add up.  Many seniors who may suffer from memory loss, can need care for 10 years or more.  Their families must plan ahead to pay for the costs of care and many times spending their assets down to qualify for Medicaid will be a natural progression for them.

Illinois Medicaid may now look at every transaction for the past 5 years to determine whether money was given away.  If money was given away, Medicaid will asseess a penalty period during which it will NOT pay for care.  Families will now need to examine their finances in detail before they apply for Medicaid so that there are no surprises later.  This will require detailed record-keeping inorder to switch from Medicare to Medicaid.

Illinois nursing homes accept Medicare or Medicaid or private funds as payment.  Medicare will pay for a short-term nursing home stay (usually for up to 20 days after a major medical event and hospitalizaton).  Research nursing homes in Illinois to understand their costs and ratings before you need one.

Nursing homes in Illinois range from $471 per day (Covenant Health Center in Northbrook, Illinois) to $102 per day at Grange Nursing Home in Mascoutah, Illinois.  You may view the daily costs and ratings of all nursing homes in Illinois on Caregiverlist's Nursing Home Directory.  Senior home care is another option for seniors who are private paying for senior care, as senior home care agencies provide professionally managed caregivers and this delivers one-on-one care to the senior.  Most nursing homes staff 1 Certified Nursing Aide to as many as 10 or more patients.  You may also request costs and services from senior home care agencies near you to plan ahead for senior home care.


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