New Robotic Caregiver: the CareBot

In development for a few years, a new robotic caregiver is now being tested in senior's homes.  The CareBot, developed by GeckoSystems, is now doing caregiver duties through in-home trials.  The robot, which can be programmed to speak in various tones and to speak certain words in response to questions, can assist with daily tasks and give reminders to a senior with memory loss.

Manufactured out of steel, aluminum and plastic, the CareBot moves around on two wheels.  The onboard computers, combined with lots of software allow CareBot to be remotely accessed for video and audio monitoring.

The target market for the CareBot is seniors over age 65, who live alone in large metropolitan areas with braodband internet service available.  The company likens the CareBot to another home appliance, such as the dishwasher, as it can do tasks to help caregivers and seniors save time.

What tasks can the CareBot do?

  • Tells Jokes
  • Announce Medication Reminders
  • Play Songs
  • Alert When Visitors Arrive at Door
  • Give Reminders ("Your daughter will be here at 10 a.m.")
  • Give Notifications to other Caregivers (if a fall occurs)
  • Visit Family Virtually through Video System

Cost? The company says the financial payback for seniros will take place in a year - so the cost is more than a few laptop computers. The CareBot is not yet ready for market and an exact price is not available.  The company has spent $6 million on development and expects to offer the CareBot through computer retailers in 4 to 6 months.

While advances in technology are assisting seniors to live longer, the CareBot brings a technology solution to caregiving, to assist seniors to live at home longer.  However, no computer will ever be able to replace the human heart when it comes to caregiving.

But if it can fold clothes, I'll take one!


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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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Minimum Wage Increases Today But Caregivers Already Earn More

Today the federal minimum wage increases to $7.25 per hour.  While each state offers their own minimum wage law, if it is less than the new federal minimum wage, they must now match this higher amount.  This means 13 states will increase their minimum wage to $7.25 today:  Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah.  

Four other states also increased their minimum wage in the month of July (some did it just before the federal deadline - a nice political opportunity for the state government to look better to employees by beating the Feds to this):  Illinois, Kentucky and Pennsylvania, with Illinois increasing their minimum wage to $8.00 per hour.  These other 3 states just matched the federal level of $7.25.  The old minimum wage was $6.55 per hour.

Which states pay the highest minimum wage?  Oregon at $8.40 per hour and Washington at $8.55.  Only 13 states, plus DC, pay more than the federal minimum wage.

Regarding the people who say this is going to put people out of work - - - - unless they are an actual business owner who can't figure out how to save 70 cents in another area, in order to keep their employees happy and able to pay for their basic costs of living, then take their feedback with a grain of salt.  And if it is a business owner who can't figure it out well, maybe he shouldn't be in business?  Employees are the backbone of any business, find away to pay them a fair wage or don't be in business.

Those of us who are business owners and have had more than 100 people working for us, know you can always cut costs someplace, and, if necessary, if you offer a great service, you can always increase your pricing to cover a necessary increase in costs, including increases in costs of living.  And one of the best ways to have great service is to have happy employees, which is worth a few cents.  

The good news?  Senior caregivers are paid more than minimum wage along with benefits by senior home care agencies nationwide.  Senior caregivers are usually paid from $9.00 to $14.00 per hour, depending on the area of the country.  Pay is more in New York than Alabama, for example, as the costs of living are more. In addition, caregivers who are certified as nursing aides or home health aides also receive higher pay when performing those duties.  In addition, many quality senior care agencies provide performance bonuses, incentives, ongoing training and support.

You may apply for a senior caregiving job in your area on Caregiverlist and also find the details on minimum wage laws in your state.



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C.N.A. & Caregiver Practice Test

Are you considering becoming a Certified Nursing Aide? Or, are you interested in developing your nursing aide skills as a senior caregiver?

Hdmaster administers the nursing aide certification exams in many states, providing tests which are developed by Registered Nurses and approved by industry professionals and the health departments in each state.  Senior caregivers seeking to work for senior home care agencies may be companion caregivers or may be required to be certified for certain cases (many long-term care insurance companies require the care to be provided by a certified nursing aide).

You can now take their official nursing aide practice test to find out the skills the nursing aides develop in their nursing aide training programs and you will enhance your own caregiving skills in the process.

Caregiverlist's nursing aide practice test can be found in our Caregiver Career Center, where you may also apply for a senior caregiving position in your area.

You may also sign-up for membership in the Professional Association of Caregivers and receive a 10-hour online training course and once passed at 80% pass rate for each module, will receive a certificate of completion.

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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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