How Do I Start Being A Caregiver?

April 24, 2023

Are you thinking about becoming a caregiver? Or have you found yourself caring for a family member and thought about turning that experience into a career? Perhaps you would like to enhance your caregiving skills with professional training in order to provide the best possible care for your loved ones. If you want to take caregiving to the next level and have your effort and skills recognized by others, you’ll need training and certification.

Fortunately, there are established home care organizations that can provide support, resources, and job opportunities for enthusiastic new caregivers. In this article, we will look at what a caregiving career entails and how you can begin your journey to becoming a professional caregiver.

What Is A Caregiver?

A caregiver is anyone who directly cares for another person. This can include elderly people, children, or someone who needs help due to disability or illness. Many caregivers are friends or family of the person needing care, who assume an informal caregiving role out of love or duty. Others are professional caregivers employed by home care organizations. 

Because informal caregivers have an existing emotional connection to their charges and find it personally fulfilling to provide care, they often make highly motivated candidates for professional caregiving. Home care agencies are more than willing to train and employ them to care for their own loved ones and, potentially, other clients.

Caregiver Duties And Qualifications

Caregiver work involves supporting someone’s physical and psychological needs, empowering them to live a comfortable, fulfilling, and independent life. Different people have different needs, and depending on what is required, a professional caregiver could be expected to provide: 

  • Physical support activities of daily living (ADLs)
  • Help moving from sitting to standing positions
  • Assistance in bathing, dressing, and personal grooming
  • Medication reminders 
  • Light housekeeping (e.g., laundry or dishes)
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Assistance with errands such as grocery shopping
  • Companionship and emotional support
  • Assistance with devices (e.g., phone or computer)

A caregiver training course would cover all the above aspects of the job, and provide a certificate to prove your qualification. Some specialized services, like caregiving services covered by Medicare, require a certificate proving the appropriate medical training.

Why Train As A Caregiver?

The desire to help people and the physical ability to assist someone in need go a long way, but there are many reasons why someone in a caregiving position would find it beneficial to undergo further training, such as:

  • Learning how to provide the highest quality care, using best practices cultivated by organizations with years of experience
  • Transitioning from informal unpaid care to paid caregiving
  • Moving up in the field to a specialized care area, such as hospice or dementia care
  • Accessing resources and support to help with the stress and demands of caring for a loved one

If you’re considering becoming a professional caregiver, formal training with a care agency will put you in the best starting position for a varied and fulfilling career.

What Do I Need To Start A Caregiving Career?

Caregiving is rewarding work, but it can also be demanding. It takes compassion, dedication, and attentiveness to effectively care for someone else while still supporting their independence and dignity.

The ideal caregiver should have the following qualities:

  • Adaptable and able to work well in a variety of locations and living arrangements
  • A kind, respectful, and professional communication style
  • Gets along  well with seniors; adults over 65 represent the majority of care subjects in the US
  • Physically fit(e.g., can lift and push up to 40lbs)
  • Works well independently with minimal supervision

If this matches your disposition, then it’s time to seek training and, if necessary, certification. The specifics surrounding this process can vary from state to state, so a good place to start is with an established home care agency in your local area. An agency can provide information on the processes, requirements, and employment opportunities for candidates. These positions can include generous pay, reimbursement for resources, vacation time, and medical benefits.

For example, Nova Home Care trains and employs caregivers living in Indiana, Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, and Connecticut. To qualify, applicants must be:

  • At least 18 years old
  • In possession of a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Able to pass an expanded background check
  • In possession of a reliable means of transportation
  • Able to complete a tuberculosis test before employment (or have already passed one) 

Previous caregiving experience is desirable but not required. It’s ideal if you are currently caregiving for someone or know who you would like to care for, as Nova Home Care supports people becoming paid caregivers for their family members.

If you are interested in taking the first steps toward becoming a professional in-home caregiver and live in Indiana, Arizona, Colorado, Minnesota, or Connecticut, then contact Nova Home Care online or call 317-537-2490 to find out more about training, opportunities, and benefits.

You May Be Eligible!