Certified Nursing Assistant/Nurse Aide RN - Registered Nurse LPN - Licensed Practical Nurse Emergency Management Direct Care Staff Home Health Aide Caregiver



Important Qualities of a Caregiver
Empathy – As a caregiver, if you can put yourself in the place of the person you are caring for, you will provide compassionate and dignified care with a great attitude.
Dependability – Caring for someone who is in need of assistance requires you to be dependable. When someone loses their independence and inability to feed, bathe, or dress themselves, they are dependent on someone else to help them live safely and happily.
Patience – It is absolutely critical for a caregiver to be patient with the person they are providing care for. It can be frustrating when the person you are caring for moves slowly, responds slowly, and/or repeats conversations. A good rule is to allow the person to do as much as they can for themselves, this way they do not lose their sense of dignity.
Flexibility – Things can and will change in an instant when you are a caregiver. You may need to take a client to the doctor or hospital, health insurance can vary and change over time, and someone’s behavior can turn on a dime. As a caregiver, it is best to adapt quickly to situations and accept change easily.
Education and Training
A caregiver provides assistance in meeting the daily needs of another person. Caregivers are referred to as either "formal" or "informal." "Formal" caregivers are paid for their services and have had training and education in providing care. This may include services from home health agencies and other trained professionals.
“Formal” caregiver training topics may include: specific diseases (such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, or HIV/AIDS); working with medical professionals and the health care system; managing activities of daily living; taking safety preparations around the home of the person cared for; recognizing and managing side effects of medications; operation and management of certain medical devices, such as a ventilator and oxygen; pain management; coping techniques; etc.
"Informal" caregivers, also called family caregivers, are persons who provide care to family or friends usually without payment. A caregiver provides care, generally in the home environment, for an aging parent, spouse, other relative, or unrelated person, or for an ill, or disabled person. These tasks may include transportation, grocery shopping, housework, preparing meals, as well as giving assistance with getting dressed, getting out of bed, help with eating, and incontinence.
Job Description
Whether you are a “formal” or “informal” caregiver, your daily tasks providing care for another person can vary depending on the needs of that person. You may assist them with activities of daily living (such as feeding, bathing, dressing, etc.); help manage housework, laundry, and trips to the grocery store; depending on the client and your state law, you may assist with administering medication; consult with healthcare professionals; provide emotional support and companionship; provide a safe environment for the client/loved one; and even making yourself available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, because anything can happen in an instant.
Job Outlook
The job outlook for caregivers looks positive, due to a rapidly aging population. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the career outlook for home caregivers is expected to grow by 50% between 2008 and 2018, as the elderly need assistance in their activities of daily living.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC), estimates of more than 65.7 million Americans serve as informal caregivers either to a child with special needs or an adult who lives in the community and requires help. Most caregivers (86 percent) are related to the care recipient with about a third caring for a parent. Most caregivers are women (66 percent), but men also serve as caregivers. (Source: www.bls.gov and www.caregiving.org)