April 11th, 2018 | BY: Allegra Chaney

Experience as a Caregiver: Learning from Clients

Dear Allegra:

My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease 7 years ago, and I gradually became her full-time caregiver. It was a demanding role, but it brought me so much joy.

After my mother’s passing last year, I went back to my old job. While I’m grateful for the chance to reconnect with my friends at work, I’m not finding my job as rewarding as caregiving.

I have been considering a career change over the past few months, and caregiving keeps finding its way to the top of my list. While I have years of hands-on caregiving experience with my mom, I don’t have the necessary training.

I also wonder if I would find caregiving to be as rewarding when I’m caring for someone who isn’t a member of my family. Do caregivers feel like they learn from clients and make a difference?

Do you have any advice for helping me explore caregiving as a profession?

Sincerely,

Lexie

How Caregivers Learn from Their Clients

Dear Lexie:

First, please accept my condolences on the loss of your mother. After so many years of caring for her, I am sure it is a difficult time for you.

We find many people in the caring professions got their start after a personal caregiving experience like yours. Those who have firsthand knowledge of the difference caregivers make in the lives of older adults and people with disabilities often chose to use what they have learned to help others.

Home care clients have much to teach us. Many of them are senior citizens who have lived rich, full lives. They have survived world wars, watched our country grow and evolve, raised families, worked outside the home, and much more.

When you are a caregiver for an older adult, you have an opportunity to talk with them one-on-one and hear their stories firsthand. It is a very rewarding and life-enriching experience.

As to the second part of your question, the kind of training you will need varies by state. What type of caregiver you would like to be also matters. Are you looking to care for older adults in their own homes or in an assisted living community or nursing home?

Here are a few resources to help you find the answers you need:

  • How Do You Become a Caregiver was created to make the process of becoming a caregiver easier for people considering joining the profession. You will find links to individual states’ requirements for licensing and credentialing as well as more information on various types of caregiving.
  • What Do Caregivers Do is another helpful resource. It is designed to give people an inside look at the details of caregiving, from what a caregiver does each day to how much they can earn.

I hope this information is helpful to you, Lexie! Please feel free to contact me if you have any additional questions.

Kind regards,

Allegra