Dealing with your father’s passing has been very difficult. You were very close to each other. For months leading to his death, you were by his side, caring for him. You assisted him in his activities of daily living, from bathing him in tubs for the elderly to feeding him. You needed to take leave from the university to be able to take care of him.
You’re starting to pick up the pieces and planning to return to school in the next couple of months. Your father’s passing puts a strain on the family finances. You managed to secure a scholarship, but it would only pay for tuition. You need to raise more money to cover the rest of your expenses, like books, accommodation, transportation, etc.
You’ve learned a lot from taking care of your father, and you’re now considering working as a caregiver on a part-time basis to support your studies. What should you expect if you do this?
An Overview of Senior Citizens
You will most likely be taking care of senior citizens. According to a 2017 census, the number of seniors in America is estimated at 47 million. An interesting fact is that in a 2010 survey, it was found out that nursing homes are caring for roughly just 3.1% of the population. The majority of old people prefer to receive care at home or what is called “in-home” care. In terms of managing your time around your school schedule, this might give you greater flexibility.
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is an excellent resource to learn more about seniors and how to care for them.
As a caregiver, your goal is to make the day-today living more comfortable by assisting them in tasks like personal care (e.g., bathing, dressing, eating, etc.).
You will also assist in administering medicines as well as monitor the overall state of health of the person you’re caring for. You can do instrumental ADLs. These will include doing the laundry, general housekeeping, changing linens, shopping, paying the bills, etc.
Depending on the person you will be working with, these activities can represent some or all the things that you would need to do. Salaries range between just over $7 to more than $22 per hour.
Here are some of the crucial things you need to consider:
- Recognize yourself as a caregiver. Know the other person. You need to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for this job. Knowing and accepting what you will be doing is essential. Likewise, get to know the person you will be working with. Have a conversation with them and find out what their day-to-day priority tasks are.
- Get certified. You will likely deal with people who are sick. Their requirements would be different. You might need to pass training approved by the state.
- Skills requirements. You need to be able to communicate well not only with the patient but with the rest of the family members. You must be equipped to work your way through the family dynamics. Time management and organizational skills are crucial in being a good caregiver.
- Recap of the day. It can be a relaxing day or a crazy day marked by health emergencies. Get feedback from your client about how the day went for them, with you assisting. Ask if there’s anything else that you can do.
Caregiving requires passion, patience, and dedication. Empathy for the person you’re working with is necessary to be successful.