The COVID-19 pandemic has had a divergent effect on today’s workforce, driving many businesses to downsize or close, while others have increased temporary hiring efforts to meet seasonal demand. One industry has experienced accelerated growth over the past several months, with permanent job opportunities expected to surge in the near future: in-home care.
In-home caregiving is a rewarding career experience that has become increasingly important during the pandemic, as staying home remains one of the safest places for older adults. The role of a caregiver is to offer supportive care to older adults by providing companionship and conversation, performing light housekeeping tasks, preparing meals, running errands and assisting with transportation and personal care needs. Many qualities and skills developed in other jobs carry over seamlessly into caregiving responsibilities, such as being reliable, attentive and a strong communicator.
"Caregivers are able to make a direct, positive impact in someone’s life every single day, making the hard work and dedication well worth it,” said Lakelyn Hogan, Ph.D., gerontologist and caregiver advocate at Home Instead. “In return, caregiving can offer a deep sense of purpose by helping others age with dignity in the comfort and safety of their own home.
In addition to providing purpose, caregiving offers reliable employment and will for years to come, as the senior population continues to grow. According to a study by AARP and FP Analytics, 10,000 people turn 65 every day in the United States. At this rate, the number of older adults will more than double over the next several decades to more than 88 million, representing more than 20% of the population by 2050.
This is why the role of a caregiver is more important than ever. People who are patient, have a passion for helping others and an interest in interacting with older adults could find caregiving to be the perfect job. Hogan outlines a few of the benefits of working in the home care industry.
- Flexible schedule. Caregiving requires dedication to best serve care recipients; however, caregivers can set flexible schedules that work well with other commitments such as attending school or raising children. The accommodating schedule also makes this a great job for retirees.
- Professional and personal growth. To be a caregiver, no prior medical experience is necessary. This career provides in-depth training opportunities to gain a variety of skills and experience. In addition, it teaches important values such as time management, organization and communication skills that can be a benefit in both personal and professional life.
- Opportunity to learn from an older generation and build relationships. Caring for members of the aging population offers the ability to form connections with people from different backgrounds and generations. It also allows the caregiver to develop deeper bonds with these individuals, especially during these difficult times. In the time spent together, older adults can share their decades of experience, wisdom and valuable advice with their caregivers.
- A rewarding experience. Caregivers work with a wide variety of clients, each with their own unique needs. Working to identify a care plan and helping older adults maintain some of their independence and achieve their best quality of life as they age is a very meaningful and joyous experience.
COVID-19 has proven that in-home care is an invaluable service that can help protect older adults and keep them safe in challenging times. Being a caregiver is a meaningful labor of love and one of the most personally rewarding roles a person can play in their lifetime.
If you’re interested in pursuing a fulfilling career, while making a difference in the lives of older adults, then caregiving is for you. Learn more about what it takes to be a caregiver and how to become one.