78% of adults living in the community and in need of long-term care depend on family and friends as their only source of help. In the United States there are over 45 million senor citizens and this population adds a person every eight seconds. Over time, more older people survive to even more advanced ages. For research and policy purposes, it is useful to distinguish between the old and the oldest old, often defined as people age 85 and over. Because of chronic disease, the oldest old have the highest population levels of disability that require long-term care.
Most people at these advanced ages need someone to help them with activities of daily living like: personal care, cooking, home care, transportation, companionship, etc. With the trend of families having fewer children, there are fewer relatives to care for elderly family members. Personal Care Aides are the ones who step in to provide this level of care. While you don’t need a bachelor’s degree to become a Personal Care aide, the Department of Labor says education in the form of an associate’s degree or a postsecondary certificate is necessary. “Many employers also require professional certification,” adds the Department. Also, increasingly States are passing laws requiring minimum hours of education and training for this growing field. While a family caregiver (a person who takes care of a relative, usually for free) are not required to receive any type of education studies have found that those who at least get certification have less stress, feel more confident, and enjoy more respect from non-caregiving family members. Further some states are considering allowing for financial support through their state administered medicaid programs for family caregivers who become certified. “Is your caregiver certified? Check the national registry at CertifiedCare.org “No time to go to class? Become a certified caregiver online at CertifiedCare.org Reduce your chance of being accused of elder abuse. Get Family Caregiver education and certification through CertifiedCare.org
REFERENCE: National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP. November 2009 Thompson, L. Long-term care: support for family caregivers. 2004