Caring for elderly members of our society requires a lot of time, effort, and understanding. It takes a very special person to be able to fulfil this role. However, at the end of day, it can be a truly rewarding career.
If you are interested in finding out how to become a senior caregiver, this article can help you decide on whether or not you are right for the role and where to find the necessary training.
Is Caregiving the Right Fit?
When asking whether or not caregiving is the right career choice for you, there are a few things to consider. The first is that the role itself can require varying shifts and sometimes unstable hours. The senior that you are in charge of caring for may have any number of needs, and you will have to make sure that you have flexibility in your schedule to cater to these needs.
Another point to consider is that the job will require a lot of effort. Will you be able to truly dedicate yourself to the work and make sure that the senior that you are caring for is being well looked after throughout your time as their caregiver? Making sure both your body and mind are in shape is essential when it comes to tasks like bathing and transferring or when it comes to dealing with a patient who has dementia.
As a final question, do you consider yourself an understanding person, able to be empathetic towards an elderly person who may require a lot of assistance for activities of daily living? This role will require you to be patient, thoughtful, and pleasant even when it’s been a long day. It’s important that the senior feels comfortable and safe with you. For this to happen, you’ll need to remain both personal and professional at all times.
Of course, there is a place for breaks, asking for back-up care, or having honest conversations with the senior’s family about your limitations. All of these things require great communication skills and the ability to be honest with yourself. Oftentimes, caregivers take on too much work and then cannot effectively care for the senior. Your number one goal should always be to provide care as you would for your own mother or father.
Where to Get Training to Become a Senior Caregiver
If you feel that becoming a caregiver is the right career path for you, then you will need to begin researching the best places to receive training and certifications.
Search online for training in your area specific to senior caregivers. This training should cover topics about aging, safety, communication skills, and working with seniors who require hands-on care.
Oftentimes, local agencies will have advanced courses for certification. Many caregivers become CNA’s so that their resumes will look more attractive to families or agencies who are hiring. In advanced courses for certification, you can gain a fuller understanding of Alzheimer’s and Dementia and learn how to encourage activity and engagement with a senior.
Having a college degree in a health-related field can go a long way in moving you towards a career in caregiving. However, many caregivers – especially those who choose to provide in home care – choose to gain hands-on training through volunteering or helping with a senior loved one. In this field, having a lot of relevant experience can be just as attractive to a potential employer since it shows that the caregiver has already dealt with many of the things they are sure to encounter again.