Also known as personal care aides or home health assistants, individuals with the caregiver job description are usually tasked with assisting clients with their day to day tasks and their self-care. They often provide a great deal of social assistance and support, even enabling their clients to get involved in more active ways in their community.
The year 2014 saw caregivers holding around 1.8 million jobs, most of these being practiced in private homes, small groups, or large communities. With a rate of employment estimated to grow 24% by 2024, most personal care assistants receive at least some amount of training on the job. Most employers looking to fill up the caregiver job description and position ask for no formal education.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the estimated average salary for caregivers was estimated at $20,980 back in 2015. Two of the main reasons the salary is below the minimum wage are the low education standards and the bonus opportunities. Whether they take care of children, the elderly, or of the disabled, people with the caregiver job description have to be empathetic, gentle, kind-hearted, and willing to make sacrifices.
Caregiver Job Description Overview
The job description of a caregiver can be very encompassing. Providing emotional and personal support to people who cannot, for any reason, look after themselves is a very common theme, as is helping them go about their everyday lives. Generally, the caregiver job description doesn’t involve medical practices, but this can vary from workplace to workplace.
Oftentimes, the caregiver has to move in with the client. Just as often, the caregiver schedule is based on shifts. Preparing meals, cleaning the house, taking care of errands, and helping the clients overcome their difficulties can be very exhausting for even the most experienced home health assistants.
Caregiver Job Description Responsibilities
While the job description for a caregiver can vary wildly from one place of employment to the next, most of the caregiver job duties do cross over from one position to another. This can be very helpful in some circumstances, as clients often have different requests, schedules, and ideas about how the personal care contract will work.
The caregiver duties most often found throughout the profession are as follows:
- Assisting clients with various tasks around the house;
- Helping clients take the correct medication prescribed by doctors;
- Providing mobility and ambulatory assistance around the household, as well as outside;
- Assisting with grooming and personal hygiene;
- Offering assistance in dressing the clients;
- Helping customers with physical therapy exercises;
- Preparing and planning meals and meal schedules;
- Taking care of the client’s shopping needs;
- Helping with house cleaning duties;
- Being friendly and supportive;
- Providing the client with companionship;
- Reporting any unusual or suspicious occurrences and events;
- Acting quickly in case of an emergency.
Despite the fact that most of the time, the caregiver job description responsibilities do carry from one workplace to the next, sometimes, they don’t really apply so much. The two industries for which the caregiver job description vary the most are child care and senior care. And we are going to look at the responsibilities met by people practicing in both industries.
Senior Caregiver Job Description
- Helping the clients with their everyday needs (including bathroom and toilet habits);
- Performing housekeeping activities such as vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning;
- Making beds and hanging linens on a daily basis;
- Engaging clients in mental and physical exercises, as prescribed by the doctors;
- Escorting the clients to outside appointments;
- Offering pleasant companionship on a daily basis;
- Taking clients out for walks and low-intensity sports;
- Preparing or supervising and making sure that the client’s food follows the doctors’ instructions;
- Washing and ironing the laundry;
- Buying groceries;
- Paying bills;
- Handling mail;
- Making sure that the clients are taking the appropriate medicine;
- Maintaining records of the client’s activities and behaviors.
Child Caregiver Job Description
- Taking care of children at the employer’s residence;
- Bathing, dressing, and feeding children and infants;
- Changing diapers;
- Mixing different formulas;
- Setting up a meal schedule;
- Keeping the clients’ house clean and sanitary;
- Picking up and dropping off children from school and other appointments;
- Keeping the house a safe environment;
- Organizing and taking part in children’s activities, such as games, outings, reading sessions, and crafts;
- Observing the children at all times;
- Reporting any irregularities at home or to the agency;
- Keeping records of day to day activities;
- Taking notes of each ward’s health status;
- Helping teach children social development and special hygiene;
- Ensuring the children’s discipline is in accordance with the parents’ requests;
- Helping the children’s emotional development.
To resume our article, we will be referring to the requirements which must be met by someone interested in getting the caregiver job description. These won’t be the legal, experiential, or educational requirements, but those skills and qualities without which any potential personal care aide would most likely fail at their job.
The skills and personal qualities found to be the most necessary when it comes to the caregiver job description are the following:
- Superior housekeeping skills;
- Superior cooking skills;
- Being able to follow rule sets and constraints (including physical, dietary, safety, etc.);
- Willingness and knowledge to adhere to safety and health standards;
- High levels of compassion and empathy;
- Respectful behavior and mannerisms;
- Superior time management skills;
- Highly developed interpersonal and communication skills;
- High ethics and moral standards;
- Superior levels of physical strength and stamina.
Qualifications and Training
Generally, employers who want to hire someone to take care of the caregiver job description don’t care that much about the educational background of each person they hire. While not required, most aspiring health assistants have at least a high school diploma.
Other states, however, require more formal training from institutes such as elder care programs, vocational schools, or other such home healthcare organizations. Oftentimes, certification is required for those wishing to practice the caregiver job description for agencies working with Medicaid or Medicare. CNA is one of the most preferred certifications.
Last, but not least, plenty of training programs are not only available, but mandatory for people in the occupation. These training sessions are often the duty of nurses or other home health assistants. Caregivers are usually trained how to handle safety information, emergency responses, how to make special foods, and any other potential issues which might be encountered during the work day.
According to payscale.com, experience isn’t too big of an influential factor when it comes to the caregiver job description and salary. Over the course of a career longer than 20 years, the salary of a caregiver will grow no more than $4,000 or $5,000. Seeing as the salary is already well below the minimum wage, that is not an option many want to go for.
However, each employee’s level of experience does make a difference when it comes to getting hired, or to other employment opportunities. Some employers will not hire someone for the caregiver job description unless they have proof that they have already worked in a similar position for a number of years. Still, we can’t pinpoint an exact moment when experience would be more relevant, seeing as it all depends on the employer.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment rate for individuals with the caregiver job description is estimated to grow 26% by 2024. That is much faster than the 8% average for all occupations in the United States. This highly optimistic job outlook is owed to several factors.
First of all, the constant increase of the elderly population, as well as the increasing natality rate are promoting the occupation more than all the other factors combined – it’s a simple matter of supply and demand. However, there are far more reasons hiding behind this obvious one.
Another contributor to the estimated employment rate growth is the low level of education needed for the profession. While the majority of caregivers are women, only 8% being men, the fact that just the high school diploma is mandatory is a very motivating factor. Overtime, bonuses, and profit sharing can bring the usual $10 per hour wage to as much as $31 per hour.
Having one of the most poorly paid jobs in healthcare doesn’t do much to deter people with the caregiver job description from pursuing their calling. They often attempt to help their clients live the best lives they can under their circumstances, often at the expense of their own quality of life.