If you are considering senior caregiving as a career, you will be keen to learn the following five reasons why it is rewarding and fulfilling, as most caregivers agree.
1. Flexible scheduling
Some people are not suited for a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job. Caregivers find that they can pick shifts at various times of the day or weekend. In addition, if they need a job that allows them to work most of their weekly hours in just a few days—thus freeing them to pursue other things during the other days —a caregiver career may be apt for them.
Depending on the specifics of their situation, they may find themselves able to do other things while working as a caregiver. Some caregivers take classes part-time and study while the senior for whom they care is napping or watching television.
Others find they can “stack” jobs and pursue successful careers in areas such as freelance writing or web design while waiting for the seniors they care for to eat, see the doctor or other things. Because many jobs today may be performed remotely with a laptop and Internet connection, working as a caregiver may provide the flexibility to do two jobs at same time.
2. Making a difference
Many persons dislike their jobs because they feel they are not doing something worthwhile. This is not a concern for caregivers because they work at a job that provides real value to people, which they know can make a difference in someone’s life.
When a person makes a commitment to act as a caregiver, he or she is actually committing to helping someone improve their situation in life. Whether one acts as caregiver to an elderly loved one in one’s family or assisting someone he or she met as a caregiver, there is almost always an opportunity to make a real difference.
Acting as a caregiver is more than simply assisting someone with their medications or ensuring that they keep doctor’s appointments on time. In many ways, a caregiver can become a close friend and companion to the person he or she is caring for. The person to whom you are providing care will come to rely on you for a wide range of things and eventually trust the caregiver completely. Had the end of each shift, the caregiver will go home knowing he or she made someone’s life better that day.
3. Opportunity to specialize
Some careers have very limited advancement opportunities, which is not true with caregiving. Caregivers who are interested can specialize in a variety of areas and build a career out of doing the type of work that appeals to them most. As a result, many people who began caregiving intending it to be temporary end up spending their careers in the field.
If a person is interested in a career with a wide range of specialization opportunities, the benefits of senior caregiving should be considered. Spending time in online research can show the many career paths within the caregiver field.
4. Job security
With all the talk about outsourcing jobs and the disappearing middle class, many persons are looking for a job that will not vanish in the next few years. Caregiving is one such area. Because of the aging population of the United States, workers in senior caregiving will be in high demand for many years. In addition, because people live longer today than at any time in history, it is possible that caregivers may become “niche” specialists who work with only a few select clients for years at a time. This reduces instability and unpredictability and allows a caregiver to become highly competent in his or her specialized role.
5. A rewarding career
Working as a caregiver is a most rewarding career. From being able to make a difference in a’s line to helping ease people through a challenging life transition, serving as a caregiver can be very rewarding. Not only do caregivers help those who need assistance with daily tasks, but they also help family members cope with a very challenging time in their lives.
Sometimes the family of an elderly person faces grief and worry because of their inability to provide necessary care for their senior loved one. When a senior caregiver begins to provide the care the family cannot provide, the caregiver helps ease the weight of their concerns. The family can go about their lives knowing their elderly loved one is in good, caring hands.
Lindgren, Carolyn L. “The caregiver career.” Journal of Nursing Scholarship 25.3 (1993): 214-219.
Aneshensel, Carol S., et al. Profiles in caregiving: The unexpected career. Academic Press, 1995.