Caregiver Qualifications

What are the qualifications to be a senior caregiver?

Senior caregiving involves assisting seniors with their activities of daily living, or "ADL's".  What are these activities?  Anything required to function throughout the day as a healthy adult:  eating, bathing, toileting, shopping, cooking, household cleaning and managing scheduled appointments.  Socializing and exercising are also considered important activities for healthy aging.

Learn about the skills required for non-medical caregivers and take an 10-hour online training caregiver certification program created by the leader in online training, aQuire Training Solutions.  You may join the Professional Association of Caregivers for ongoing support as a caregiver.

Some seniors who are recovering from a stroke, heart attack, or coping with cancer or an age-related disease such as Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease may require more hands-on care by a Certified Nursing Aide or Home Health Aide.  Each state manages the licensing requirements for health care workers through their department of health.  Senior home care agencies, hospitals and nursing homes must follow the state regulations for hiring senior caregivers.

The United States has 1.8 million certified nursing aides (each state also requires nursing aides to update their certification, similar to a driver's license renewal, to maintain an active certification).  As the population ages, the need for senior caregivers will continue to grow, making caregiving a career where you will always find employment (even in a slow economy).

The basic qualifications for a companion caregiver are:

  • 18-years-of age
  • Caring personality
  • Interest in senior care demonstrated through volunteering or personal experience providing care
  • Communication skills:  able to speak English clearly and record care plan updates
  • Cooking skills:  able to prepare meals including oatmeal, soup, meat and vegetables
  • Dependability:  able to arrive to assignments on time and be easily reachable by phone
  • References:  must provide business and personal references - usually 3 references are required
  • Background Check:  must pass a criminal background check
  • Driving Skills:  sometimes required, if driving a senior in their car or in your car

Senior home care agencies will provide training for each assignment.  In addition, most senior home care agencies provide training through their new caregiver orientation along with ongoing training sessions for hospice care, memory loss care and labs for testing nursing aide skills.

Caregiverlist provides you with a Caregiver Quiz and Home Health Aide and Certified Nursing Aide lab skill worksheets.  If you are interested in becoming a Certified Nursing Aide, look for programs offered through your local community colleges and hospitals.

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Comments (3) -

  • Facilities have such a case load on caregivers until the ones who really give good care and have a heart for the work; are so burned out and disgusted. State guidlines should not allow facilities to operate with such low staffing. It is hard to give good care when you are responsible for so many people in a given eight hour shift. They all need A.M. care and some don't get it until the afternoon. Some get a rush job and that is not fair either. Staffing is a major problem but companies continue to be allowed to open more and more facilities when they can't manage the ones that they already have open. Greedy!!!
  • I am trying hard to be my grandmas care giver I am almost 17, I take care of her pretty much anyway. And i have done everything for her anyway. do you really need to be 18? i have all the other requirements already and i do NOT trust the other care givers she has had! she needs someone who understands her like my family does!
  • I am a certified CNA/HHA and I have taken care of my parents until they both passed last year.  I also work for a few other people.  I feel I have the experience but I'm finding hard to get a job in this field.  How much experience are they looking for? I want to do homecare.  I will be going for my license so I have other avenues to explore but my main focus was home care.  Any suggestions or advice you can give?

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