Caregiving has become a career. This is becuase one-on-one care delivers positive results for both seniors and their family members and an entire industry has been created to effectively license and regulate senior caregiving. Nursing homes are no longer the primary option for acute care needs. Instead, hospice services provide in-home care and senior home care agencies provide professionally managed senior care services in the home or in a senior living community.
How do you become a senior caregiver?
1. Create a Caregiver Resume: provide your work history, references and the reason you are choosing a career in caregiving. Don't sweat it if you do not possess professional work experience as a caregiver. Instead, demonstrate your skills in showing compassion for others as a volunteer or through personal caregiving. Use this FREE SENIOR CAREGIVER RESUME BUILDER tool to help create your professional resume.
2. Check your Background Check: criminal background checks are required by all professional senior care companies (senior home care agencies, hospices, nursing homes, assisted living communities). The federal law governing background checks, called the FCRA, allows for a 7-year look-back of criminal records. However, some states allow reviewing criminal records for longer than 7 years if an individual will be working with seniors or children. Review the Background Check Laws in your state and purchase a copy of your own criminal background check just to make sure there are no identity theft issues (or even typos of an address and name which could cause information for someone else to appear in your criminal check).
3. Become Certified as a Caregiver: basic caregiver training can be taken online through a 10-hour certification course meeting industry standards for basic caregiver skills. These traning modules were created by senior care industry professionals as they advocate for consistent training to be observed by all Departments of Health in each state. Professional caregivers only have training requirements in 18 states and you can view these state training requirements for caregivers here. The next training levels are: Certified Nursing Aide (required in all states with some states accepting transfers of C.N.A. certificates), Certified Home Health Aide (offered in a few states such as California, Florida and New Jersey and only for caregivers working in the home). The next step is L.P.N. and R.N. You may take a sample C.N.A. test or practice C.N.A. test and find a C.N.A. school near you in the Caregiverlist C.N.A. School Directory.
4. Apply for a Caregiving Job: apply for a positions as a part-time or full-time senior caregiver with a professional senior care company. As senior care services may start quickly (caused by a sudden medical condition such as a hip-replacement, stroke or memory loss), senior care companies hire new caregivers each week. In addition, scheduling needs can vary widely - from full-time days to evenings to weekends to arond-the-clock care. Apply for a caregiving position near you.
5. Connect with othe Caregivers: keep up on industry news, find clinical trials and other resources for seniors near you by interacting with a community of caregivers on the Caregiverlist.
Professional senior caregivers receive ongoing training. performance bonuses and benefits via payroll taxes such as Worker's Compensation insurance, Unemployment insurance, and Social Security contributions (so you can collect Social Security when you retire). As America's seniors are living longer and medical technology is assisting with age-related illnessess.
Caregiving as a career delivers one thing for sure - fulfillment beyond the paycheck. More than 1,000 new senior care companies have opened their doors in the last few years which means continued employment for professional senior caregivers in order to meet the staffing needs of the industry.