Becoming a Caregiver is both a profession, and in some states an opportunity to oversee your parents health during their end of life. Caregivers provide a vital service to the community and to others by assisting them with proper end-of-life care. Whether you are pursuing a career as a caregiver or want to be prepared to present your reasoning for being a caregiver to a close family friend or other, you should be well-prepared to know what to expect as you pursue this path in life.
What is a Caregiver
A Caregiver is a professional who helps individuals who are struggling to perform basic day-to-day activities. Most commonly seen caring for the elderly but at times those with disabilities, too. They can undertake personal care, such as bathroom functions like bathing, grooming, dressing, and eating for their patients.
The Caregiver may oversee the patient's prescription and healthcare plans as well. Which includes exercise and administering medicines when applicable. In addition to these medical duties, they can be found to ensure the patient and client's home is prepared and organized for their medical needs.
Lastly, the Caregiver may be found providing general assistance, such as helping their clients to be transported to medical appointments, monitoring their behavior or health changes, and ensuring they can get in and out of bed on time.
A Caregiver should have at least a High School Diploma and some further education. CPR training may be necessary for the role but no other medical requirements may be necessary. A valid driver’s license and strong professional attitude are highly recommended for those seeking the role of a caregiver.
Caregiver Interview Questions
How would you respond to a client or patient who refused to take their medication?
This question tests the applicant's ability to think creatively and shows how they deal with difficult situations.
Can you please describe a time when you noticed that a client’s health was not ideal? And what did you do to handle the situation?
This tests the candidate's knowledge of handling situations that are heightened in emotion and require special attention.
Why are you wanting to become a Caregiver? What is about this job that makes you passionate?
This interview question reveals more about the candidates abilities to be a good verbal communicator and reveals more about their personal passions for the job.
What actions would you take if the client was experiencing or showing signs of a potential heart attack?
This interview question reveals more about the candidate’s prior work experience and ensures that they have had hands-on experience with the job.
Do you have any previous experience with clients who have heart disease?
This tests the candidates knowledge of responding to specific ailments or conditions.
What are some of the ways you would handle a medical emergency?
This tests the candidates ability to respond quickly to emergency situations and follow procedure.
How would you work with physicians?
This interview question reveals the quality of the candidate and reveals their own personal methods for interacting with clients.
Caregiver Options in New York
Some state’s, like New York, offer a wonderful opportunity to enlist family members to provide care to their parents under the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program (CDPAP) . This may not be available for all states and may require additional research for finding what works best in your state. New York allows a non-spousal contact to be a professional Caregiver to the elderly or those in need. The client must have Medicaid and require home care. While other eligibility requirements are prevalent, these two should be your starting point.
The basis of this is that your non-spousal family member may be the one to be able to care for you in the event that you need this at-home care. Being able to provide a more customized and comfortable home health option for those in need of assistance.
This is a great option for someone who wants to break into the Caregiver world as a professional, to gain experience, but also to facilitate the needs of those you care for.
Pursuing a Caregiver Career Path
There are a few options to start getting involved as a Caregiver. You can choose to volunteer to non-profit organizations and hospices that rely on volunteers. This can give you vital hands on experience that can lead to a start of your career. Or pursue a non-medical Caregiver, often referred to as a “companion” Caregiver. Both of these options do not require being a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and can provide compensation in their own ways.
As a volunteer , you will provide part-time hours of assistance to those in need. This may require you setting personal boundaries on what you’re comfortable with performing and what you’re not comforting with. You should not expect to be compensated for your volunteer hours in this capacity.
As a non-medical Caregiver, you can earn anywhere from $15 to $25 per hour providing your care. Your duties may change based on the job. But as a non-medical Caregiver, you should expect to be more of a companion than a medical practitioner to the client. This includes playing games with the client, helping with housekeeping and other duties that the client cannot perform. You may be required to complete Caregiving training, which varies from state to state. But can be up to an eight-hour certification.
Pursuing your career as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) will take more time. All states regulate CNAs who work within nursing homes and other Caregiving facilities. Which requires at least 75 hours of training as federally demanded and in some states they require up to 120 hours of training before you can start practicing. This path requires you to complete a CNA certification and degree which can be found at a community college or trade school.
Whichever path you choose, try to get yourself into a position where you can get hands on experience rather quickly. In this particular job function, your exposure to prior experience, either in an apprenticeship or other, can be vastly more beneficial for your career than simply starting your education.