Exploring Senior Care Jobs without Experience

September 9, 2015

Senior Caregiver JobsSome of us are just drawn to the elderly.

With the wisdom the decades bring, seniors can be funny and fascinating often because they are free of pretension and the need to conform to social constraints.

Those who feel their meaningful work lies with seniors can rest assured that there are many rewards to this career path. In addition to the fun caregivers have arranging social activities and interacting with seniors, research has shown that they appreciate the sense of meaning, flexible schedule and preparation for medical careers the job provides.

Beyond these enticements, those interested in senior care jobs will be reassured to know that, with the retirement of the baby boomers, the need for personal aides should increase by 37% in the next 10 years. The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute puts this number at an additional 1.3 million new jobs.

But what do those who feel drawn to work with seniors do when they don’t have much experience in the area? Rest assured that many who apply to senior care agencies have only stories of warm relationships with elderly relatives, enthusiasm and interest. There are plenty of entry level opportunities in the care industry, whether it’s for a home care agency, care community or with an individual client. What’s important is being realistic about where you start your career as a senior caregiver. You need to be very honest with yourself regarding your experience and ability when considering care opportunities. As a senior or disabled adult’s health and safety is on the line, you do not want to get in over your head with a client who has care needs you’re not capable of meeting. In this field, starting at the bottom and working your way up with experience and training is the only way to be successful.

Do Your Homework:  Before starting your search, taking some time to research and prepare will increase your odds of breaking into this fascinating field. Start with reading senior care blogs, books and magazines. Become familiar with the industry’s best organizations like the National Institute on Aging, National Alliance for Caregiving and National Council on Aging. Sign up for their e-mail lists. Start listening to podcasts, online webinars and books on CD regarding issues common to seniors like Alzheimers, dementia, abuse and neglect, care planning, COPD, heart failure and diabetes. Reveal these efforts and your initiative on your job applications and during your interview.

Get Active:  Studying in isolation is not the only way to work your way into the senior care services field. Joining local and online groups can get you networking your way to a good job. Volunteering and taking on an internship not only adds to your skills and gives you a firsthand perspective of the field, it also gets your name around with the local senior care agencies and can open doors to opportunities you might not have previously considered.

Hit the Books:  Along with self-study and engaging in the senior care community, we would encourage anyone serious about a long term career in senior care to participate in organized professional training courses and certifications through a recognized organization or school. There are many opportunities to enroll in online courses pertaining to specific topics or ongoing certification courses that cover a broad range of senior care fundamentals. Training is a valuable asset not only for your job search but more importantly, to provide the guidance you need once you’re in the field.

Self Assessment:  Finally, prepare your rationale about why you are a good fit as a senior care provider. Relate the experience you do have to the tasks caregivers provide. Demonstrate your points through examples. Keep in mind that the number of interviews you go on is just practice, honing your skills and building your confidence in selling yourself.

Research Job Opportunities:  When searching for a position in senior care, as with anything, don’t jump at the first opportunity you see. It’s critical for your long term success that you research the home care agency or care community to determine if it’s the best option for you. Find out about opportunities and standards for training (they need to have some). Take a look at reviews from clients and caregivers that have worked there. What is their philosophy on care giving and their workplace culture? Are they a large, multi-branch corporation or a small local company? It’s great to have a paycheck but equally important to take a sincere look at where you’re applying and consider whether it truly provides the opportunity for growth and fulfillment that you should have in a caregiving career.

Keep in mind that those who take in senior caregiver jobs can be asked to perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Personal care: bathing, dressing, toileting, grooming, transferring, mobility assistance, feeding and more

  • Companionship: accompanying clients to events, arranging activities, preparing food for guests, playing games, reading and more

  • Household Services: cleaning, pet care, laundry and more

  • Meal Planning and Preparation: grocery shopping, monitoring food freshness, preparing meals, cleaning dishes

  • Errands: mail services, gift buying, organization

  • After Surgery Care: packing for hospital, transportation, companionship in hospital, postoperative care

  • Respite care: providing short-term relief for family caregivers

My Care Match Helps Candidates Get the Best In Home Caregiver Jobs

Start your career as a senior caregiver right. MyCareMatch.com can make the process of finding your next care job easy and safe. When you complete your profile with MyCareMatch.com, clients and companies looking for just your background, training and experience can contact with you. You can also search for clients, care agencies and care communities with job openings you might like to work with. Reading “Tips for Finding Your Next Job on My Care Match,” helps you get the kind of care job you want and with the best offer. Click the links above to get started or contact us with any questions you may have. We look forward to helping you get started with your caregiving career!

About the Author

Doug Breuer is co-founder of MyCareMatch.com and has worked in senior care for the last 9 years for the State of Oregon. From investigating cases of elder abuse to managing the delivery of long term care to residents of Central Oregon, Doug has been involved in all aspects of senior care.

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