(BPT) – The number of baby boomers, a demographic with 52 million people who are 65 and older, is projected to double by 2060. Many from this group will want to stay in their homes. In fact, a recent AARP study from November 2021 finds that 77% of older adults want to remain in their homes for the long term. That’s where caregivers come in. They can help seniors gain independence, not lose it. This article busts some myths about caregivers that may be keeping some people from a rewarding profession.
Myth #1: You need a medical background to be a caregiver.
Not true. All you need is a caring heart. Look at this list of people well suited to a caregiving career:
- Retirees and soon-to-be retirees: If you’re preparing to retire, flexible part-time work may appeal. Especially work that lets you give back to the community while staying connected.
- Health care: Although having a background in health care is not necessary, those already in the field like the benefits of working in a home with clients they know.
- Retail, food service and childcare: The skills from these jobs allow you to transfer your passion for helping people into a personally rewarding job.
- Domestic skills: If you love cooking and connecting with people, caregiving offers a flexible job with purpose and meaning. In fact, a recent caregiver survey stated the top three unique skills or traits caregivers bring are 1) cooking, 2) passion/love for caregiving and 3) people skills/good conversationalists.
- Emerging job seekers: For nursing students or people just starting out in their career, caregiving provides an admirable first job and an invaluable experience.
Myth #2: I am a caregiver only if I care for a family member or someone who lives with me.
Caregivers come from different walks of life. Some are teachers taking on caregiving as a part-time way to give back. Some caregivers are retired or semi-retired, offering their unique skills to help older adults with limitations stay in their homes and communities. Some are just starting out in their careers. Some work full time as caregivers.
‘There is an increased need for a different type of caregiver – someone who can go beyond daily tasks and form actual relationships with clients to help them thrive and live more purposeful lives,’ said Carl McManus, CEO, Comfort Keepers, North America. ‘We believe in caring for our caregivers because their job is essential in bringing hope, joy and meaning to so many people’s lives. By properly investing in our caregivers, we are offering more than a job – it’s an opportunity for a meaningful, professional, long-term career.’
Myth #3: Caregiving can be too challenging or time-consuming.
We’ve already discussed the unique skills and talents caregivers need. Maybe you love to cook. Maybe technology is your thing. Whatever your expertise, you can offer customized services to meet the needs of seniors or other adults in need of assistance within a flexible schedule. But more important, caregivers provide moments of joy big or small every day. As a caregiver, you can help prepare meals and cook; offer conversation, companionship and transportation; run errands; help with personal care; provide Alzheimer’s/dementia care; and more. The rewards are as tangible for the caregiver as they are for the person receiving care.
Myth #4: Caregiving is viewed as negative at a time when someone is losing independence.
Think of caregiving as a way to help people keep their independence. Aging doesn’t have to mean seniors have to stop living. Caregiving allows older adults to thrive. Comfort Keepers, a leading provider of uplifting care for seniors and adults needing assistance, bases caregiving on the insight that getting older doesn’t change what we all want in life – connectedness, love, purpose, hope and joy. The need for caregivers makes it more important than ever to invest in them, according to Comfort Keepers. In a recent survey of nearly 1,000 Comfort Keepers caregivers, respondents reported being satisfied with the personal fulfillment gained in their job (90%) and the flexibility of being an in-home care provider (93%). For most respondents (90%), the ability to make a difference in the lives of clients is the most important thing about working as a caregiver.
By 2030 the boomer population will outnumber children. The need for caregivers has never been higher, nor more rewarding. In addition to making clients’ lives brighter, safer and more enjoyable, caregivers deliver the companionship, inspiration and happiness people deserve.