June 27th, 2018 | BY: Allegra Chaney

What Does It Mean to Be a Caregiver?

Dear Allegra,

I work in the guidance counseling office of a large urban high school. Because a large part of my job involves helping students connect with meaningful career paths, I’m always on the lookout for new and different employment opportunities. While some of our students are college bound, others need options that won’t require as much education.

My family recently hired an in-home caregiver to help my parents around their house. My wife and I live too far away to assist them on a weekly basis.

As my brother and I were interviewing potential candidates, it occurred to me that some of our students might be well-suited for a career as a professional caregiver.

What does it really mean to be a caregiver? What does it take to be a good caregiver?

Thank you for sharing your insight.



Caregiver Motivation

Hi Stephen,

What an interesting job you have! I’m sure it is a big responsibility too.

It sounds like you’ve had an opportunity to learn more about caregiving as a profession. Families like yours turn to caregivers when a senior loved one needs a helping hand. Sometimes caregivers assist with household tasks and other times they provide companionship or personal care.

Home care agencies create an individual plan of care for every client. It is a unique tool designed to ensure all clients receive the care and support they need to remain as independent as possible. The caregiver plays a key role in this process and in keeping the client safe, healthy, and happy.

What motivates caregivers varies from person to person, but a few of the primary motivators for me and some of the other caregivers I know include:

  • Interest in working with senior citizens and their families
  • Desire to help those with a disability succeed
  • Peace of mind knowing we make a difference in someone’s life
  • Sense of accomplishment from helping seniors stay safe in their own homes or assisted living apartments
  • A chance to learn about the world through the eyes of our elders

On the whole, we are dedicated, compassionate, and hard-working individuals.

When it comes to training and licensing, regulations are different from state to state. For example, students in Alabama aren’t required to have any formal training nor are they required to have a license.

By contrast, the state of California requires 5 hours of training before a caregiver can work with a client and 5 hours of additional training every year. You can learn more about state caregiver requirements at Caregiverlist or the Institute for Professional Care Education.

I hope this information is helpful, Stephen! And I also hope some of your students consider professional caregiving as a future career.

Best regards,