By Dr. Cathleen V. Carr
Are you old enough to have considered what will realistically happen to you when you are frail, sick and perhaps still in your own home? Do you have a loved one already in that position?
Do you realize that if you are alive today chances are you will live to be in you mid 80’s and will need at least some help from another person with the activities of daily living?
• There are 77 million Baby Boomers alive today all of whom are official ‘senior citizens’ by now. Chances are that if you are reading this you are one of them. These ‘young oldsters’ are going to become the frail elderly population of the near future.
• There are already 22 million official elderly people in the United States and that number is going to double within the next 14 years.
• The over 85 age group is the fastest growing segment of our country- and most of them need at least some help at home everyday with personal care.
• The demand for caregivers in the home is only going to grow for decades to come.
• 1 out of every 4 persons in the United States will be a caregiver to an elderly person.
• Personal Care Aide’s will be one of the fastest growing new careers of this century.
Here’s a trend about which you might not be aware. The demand for Personal Care Aides is expected to surpass 56% of new jobs created in the next 10 years. This huge demand is why now is an excellent time to get into the senior care industry. Whether as an Eldercare/Senior Care agency or as an employee who has been certified as a Personal Care Aide you can almost be assured of having plenty of work.
You see the newly recognized federal job description of ‘Personal Care Aide’ is a testament to how important the work is, as well as how much of it must be done to help seniors of advanced age who either must or can choose to remain in their own homes.
Most of us know the difference between a family caregiver and a home health aide, a family caregiver generally is expected to do all the same things that a Personal Care Aide would do, but for no pay. That is not fair, but that is a whole other topic best left for another time!
But, do you know what the difference between a Personal Care Aide and a Home Health Aide? Most people do not understand the differences…and these differences are important to know. Personal Care Aides are not Home Health Aides. Personal Care aides do not have nursing training and do not need to be licensed by any state to pursue their careers. Home Health Aides must receive many hours of nursing training and be licensed by the state where they work. Home Health Aides must meet these requirements because they must administer invasive therapies to their patients, like giving shots. Personal Care Aides help the elderly or seriously infirmed with the Activities of Daily Living, such as walking, bathing, eating, etc., but do not apply ‘invasive’ medical therapies’ (like massage or physical therapy) to their clients/loved ones. This is why they have no state or federally mandated training requirements.
You are probably asking yourself by now, “Why is Certification as a family caregiver or Personal Care Aide important”?
Well, one way for families to feel confident that the person providing care for themselves or their loved one is to insist that their family or professional care provider be certified.
Employers need to know that the caregiver has solid skills and a unique understanding of how to make a difference in enriching the lives of the elderly.
Another reason to become a CertifiedCare Personal Care Aide is the valuable tips and tricks used by trained professional caregivers. Do you know what the hundreds of tips and tricks utilized by professional caregivers are, those precious bits of important information that can make your experience easier and better for everyone involved? Well, either you do or you do not. If you do not, then you could only benefit from a comprehensive education and certification program with ongoing professional association, right? CertifiedCare Personal Care Aides and CertifiedCare family caregivers have learned how to do all this above and so much more.
Caregiving is stressful. It is challenging on many fronts. It is not filled with a lot of hope for the future of the cared for person.
Caregiving for an elderly person is very different from rearing a child.
The elderly population has their own specific needs unique to their delicate physical condition. Persons facing the end of life have a mountain of legal, health and financial issues that need to be addressed in a timely and accurate fashion. So much elder abuse, intentional and inadvertent, could be avoided simply by having caregivers and personal care aides educated and certified before leaving them with a defenseless, confused or overwhelmed elderly person.
An idea that’s gaining a lot of traction nationally is to make sure that the caregiver has solid, formal training with a certification to show for it. It’s a fast-growing field for education and training, and new online courses like the CertifiedCare Personal Care Aide Certification courses make certification available to anyone with an internet connection and a desire to be the best caregiver they can be.
Let others know that IT IS IMPORTANT TO ASK – expect and demand – that anyone who provides non-healthcare care giving to your loved one to be appropriately certified as a family caregiver or as a professional Personal Care Aide.