Caregiver Careers in SW Washington

Today’s topic is going to be on the wonderful world of caregiving. In fact, I have so much information, I’ve divided it into three different videos. One will be a snapshot of what the career of caregiving is all about. The second will be on training and preparation, what classes do you need to take. The third will be consumer beware, what you should know before you hire a caregiver.

Care Careers Academy of Vancouver and Longview are now sponsoring these videos. They also have an orientation that will be coming up—if you call them over here, there’s some contact information—where you could go to a more lengthy one-hour workshop that could answer all your questions that you might have before you decide to commit to a training program. I’m here to tell you caregiving is absolutely a wonderful career. I’ve worked with caregivers for over 20 years in the home care setting, and I’m really passionate to try to tell people that this is a profession that you’ll never dream that you would enjoy so much. Let me tell you a little bit about the need for caregivers.

Right now, our population is aging. The baby boomers have entered the senior ranks, and there is currently a shortage of good people. We’re not looking for any people, we’re looking for compassionate, dedicated, and dependable caregivers. Those that don’t have drug habits, those that have a clean criminal background.  So I want you as you’re watching this to think would you make a good caregiver or do you know somebody and refer them to the Care Careers Academy.

There’s currently a shortage. It’s going to be a shortage for the next 30 years. There’s a shortage anywhere or everywhere in the United States. So, for instance, Florida and Arizona and parts of California have a critical shortage of caregivers. Those states in the Rust Belt, those in Northeast and Northwest areas don’t have as critical a need, but it’s very pressing. So no matter where you go, it is a job that if you travel, you could get a job in any state in the United States or if you travel to Hawaii and Mexico, there are jobs for you there too.

Let me tell you a little bit about the different types of caregivers, and I’ll be getting into this in a little bit more detail in video number two. There’s the caregiver that is called the certified caregiver, and these are people who attended classes before 2012. They attended a 28-hour Fundamentals of Caregiving class plus continuing education, and they could be very, very good, and they could also be average—in terms of knowledge, I should say.

The new designation is Home Care Aide or HCA, and what that is—it’s a 75-hour class. It’s just been introduced in the state of Washington a little over one and a half to two years ago. And I think the jury’s still out as to where that career is going and job possibilities in the future. Right now it’s limited to in-home care, boarding homes, adult family homes, and assisted living.

The next long-term care position I wanted to talk to you about is CNAs or Certified Nursing Assistants. They have probably the most potential in where you could go in your health care career, and it’s usually entry level to working as an LPN or RN or any health care profession. It’s a good launching pad for your health care career. And you could add all of the different work settings that I’ve just mentioned plus you could work in doctor’s offices, you could work in clinics, you could work in hospitals, nursing homes, and you have the most possibilities in that profession. The duties  . . . they’re very varied, let’s put it that way. And I’ll be going into that a little bit more in the second video.

With a caregiver, they could be something as simple as a companion, someone who is helping a senior drive to doctors’ offices, grocery shopping, errands, helping with activities of daily living, washing the dishes, preparing a meal. And it also depends on the employer. So, for instance, if you work in the home, there’s a lot more variety. You could do everything from walk the dog to go on vacation with your client because they might need assistance. I’ve known some caregivers that have gone on cruises with the clients because they didn’t want to travel alone, and they wanted their caregiver to attend with them.

And then if you work in residential settings like adult family homes, boarding homes, assisted living, they’re more task oriented. You do have time to visit with the very fascinating senior residents, but it’s more like you’ll be given a list of things to do. And as you go up the ladder, it’s more task oriented. So, for instance, by the time you work in a hospital, you’re to see X amount of patients and you have a very tight schedule of seeing and helping several patients during your work day. So, like I said, if you want more information, attend orientation.

How much can you earn? I guess that’s usually a big, big question. You could earn anywhere from minimum wage to $14 an hour. Some of the caregivers I know who do 24-hour care several days a week make up to $35,000 a year. And it’s really up to you. Some caregivers just want to work part time. Some caregivers want to work full time. Some caregivers work many hours because they work several different jobs. The versatility is there. So you could do what you want.

And here are some examples of people that you might not have thought of. We have traditional people that are looking for full-time work, but we’re also looking at students that just want to work a little bit after hours while doing their homework, for instance. They can work in private homes, and then when the client is sleeping, they could do their homework. So we have a lot of college students involved with caregiving.

I think one of the growing areas is the retirement community because money doesn’t stretch as far as it used to. So if you are retired or semi-retired and you need an extra income, this is perfect. It is perfect because you can still have the joy of not having to get up early in the morning and go to work, but you could select one or two caregiving jobs in a week and maybe work 10 to 20 hours a week so you’re not bored, you have some money coming in, and you have a few new friends depending on how many jobs that you have selected.

Another area would be fulfillment. I had one caregiver who was actually a bookkeeper and she worked with books all day long and had very little interaction with people. She wanted to caregive in the evenings because she wanted her heart to touch another person’s heart. She was really feeling isolated. She was going through a divorce, and she wanted to make a difference in life. So she took a very part-time job, 10 to 15 hours a week. That’s all she wanted because she had a full-time job, but she liked earning a little extra income, and she loves working with seniors also.

Another idea is everyone’s trying to earn more money in this economy. And so, as I tell people of all walks of life, caregiving is excellent because you have the possibility of working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days out of a year. Of course, not all those hours, but you could pick and choose from those hours, so it’s very versatile.

So, for instance, I had this one lady come in, and she said, “My husband just retired, and he’s driving me crazy. I’d like to get out of the house.” So I got her a job. She worked two 24-hour shifts twice a month. That was it. It was just enough to give her and her husband a little break, and she says, “It’s like a honeymoon coming home afterwards, and my husband appreciates me more,” and she got some space. And so it was just really what she wanted, and she worked for us for about three years before they started traveling a little bit more.

So think in terms of you and your schedule. Caregiving is probably the most flexible of all jobs out there in terms of availability of clients, hours of the day. You could mix and match jobs, and you can stop and go jobs based on your schedule. Like, for instance, I had one housewife that was a full-time mom, and when the kids got out of school in the summer, she liked to work part time just because it got a little much. They were teenagers, and she was there in the afternoon to give them supervision. But she would take a two-hour job in the morning just to help a senior start her daily routine, make breakfast, get a load of wash going, drive her to grocery shopping and a couple other things each week.

So if you are interested, attend orientation. Like I said, call the Care Careers Academy, and they’ll be happy to inform you when the next orientation is. Thanks for tuning in.