Home care is a type of service that allows people to get the care they need right in their own homes. For many clients, this service is life-changing — having the help of a home caregiver means they get to continue living in familiar, comfortable surroundings instead of moving out to an unfamiliar facility.
Home care services can also be life-changing for the people who decide to work as home caregivers. What does a home caregiver do? The short answer: a lot of things. A home caregiver plays a big role in the lives of their clients and their clients' family members. They may help their clients with personal care tasks, household chores, or everyday errands. Often, they form close and long-lasting relationships with the people whose lives they change for the better.
10 Things to Know if You're New to Home Caregiving
Maybe you're a new home caregiver, or maybe you're considering entering the field. Either way, it's important to understand the value of home caregiving — as well as the ups and downs of the job — as you get started. Here are 10 things that will benefit people who are new to home care.
1. Training is essential.
If you want to be a home caregiver, it's very important to seek out thorough training and to take it seriously. You might have great common sense, but many everyday caregiving tasks require specialized knowledge that common sense won't help you with. For instance, you may need to move clients between a bed and a wheelchair — a process that requires a specific technique for the client's safety as well as your own. The bottom line: the more training you get, the more qualified you'll be for a caregiving job.
The very best home care agencies provide substantial training for their home caregivers.
2. It's important to choose a reputable home care agency to work for.
The agency you work for will make a big difference in your overall experience as a caregiver, so choose carefully. Look for an established agency that has a good track record with both clients and caregivers. Before you join an agency, it's a good idea to talk to a few caregivers who currently work for them about their experience. Our reputation at Alegre Home Care is just one of the indicators that we’ve earned our place as a reputable agency. Are you wanting to work in the home care field? Ask us about our career opportunities!
3. Caregiver burnout is real — but you can prevent it.
Even the most compassionate home caregivers can suffer from caregiver burnout if they push themselves too hard. Caregiver burnout is a state of apathy brought on by ongoing emotional stress. In other words, some caregivers find themselves so drained from their work that they get burned out and have a hard time continuing. It's important to take steps to prevent caregiver burnout from the time you start working as a caregiver. You can protect yourself by:
Living a healthy lifestyle. Good nutrition, adequate sleep, and regular exercise can go a long way towards warding off burnout.
Setting aside regular time to read, work on your hobbies, take a bubble bath, or simply relax alone.
Not working too much overtime. Caregiving is an intense job, and you need breaks.
Talking to a friend or family member when you're stressed, sad, or overwhelmed.
4. Finding a good fit is important.
Caregiving isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition. You'll "click" with some clients better than others. Finding clients whose company you enjoy will help you make the most of your job as a caregiver. At Alegre Home Care, our home caregivers follow a care plan that is specifically tailored to each client’s needs. We are also diligent about connecting the right home caregivers to the right clients, to ensure that our home care services are as rewarding and beneficial as possible.
5. Caregivers often do more than just providing basic care.
Yes, you'll probably help clients with basic tasks like dressing, grooming, and eating, but that's not all. Many home caregivers also help their clients run errands and get to social functions. And if you get along well with a client, you'll likely become their trusted confidante as well.
6. Communication is key to a good experience — for caregivers and clients alike.
Good communication skills are a must for every home caregiver. You'll need to check in frequently with your clients as well as their family members to make sure everyone is in the loop and happy with the care you're providing. Taking a proactive stance towards communication will help your caregiving duties go more smoothly for everyone involved.
7. Some days will be easier than others.
Being a caregiver is a great job, but it can also be rough at times, both physically and emotionally. You might get worn out from being on your feet all day, or you might struggle to cope if a client's health changes for the worse. When this happens, it's important to take a deep breath and remember that things will get easier again.
8. The home care field is growing rapidly.
As the U.S. population ages, home care services are becoming more and more in demand. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the home care field is projected to grow 41% between 2016 and 2026, which is much faster than average. This means that if you are a skilled home caregiver, you'll never have to worry about finding work.
9. There are a lot of unique rewards that go with being a home caregiver.
Caregiving is an unusual job because it involves forming deep personal relationships with your clients. While professionalism is always important, you may find yourself thinking of the people you care for as friends as much as clients. As a caregiver, you'll have many opportunities to make a difference in the lives of people you work with, and that can be priceless.
10. Caregiving is more than just a job.
Caregiving is certainly a way to pay the bills, but that's not why you should seek the job out. Rather, you should become a caregiver if you want to help other people and improve their lives in a very tangible way. Caregiving is a vocation. Do you feel called to do it?
Do You Want to Be A Home Caregiver?
Home caregiving can be a rich, rewarding career if you have the right personality for it. If you're new to home caregiving and excited to get started, consider working for Alegre Home Care! We're hiring, and we would love to hear from you.