Caregivers make up a critically important part of the healthcare system, around 9.5 million people are involved – either family members, or trained professionals. Taking up such a spot requires a great deal of heartfelt desire to help, support, and sacrifice.
Whatever the noble cause to start, the reality can be quite harsh, everything that involves human-human contact becomes a challenge, sooner or later.
The caregiving position encompasses two sides:
- Visible or physical – bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, transferring, feeding, etc.
- Invisible or psychological – empathy, support, listening, sympathy, care, compassion, patience – and all these qualities are doubled or tripled depending on the case.
This is just a short list of theoretically crucial requirements. However, in practice, everything is even more demanding. Those who are willing to apply for the home care assistant jobs, need to be aware of all the aspects of such an occupation, including the flip side.
1. Emotional breakouts
People who are full of compassion are emphatic, they feel what others feel and co-live the pain. Apart from making you a great listener, it can also devastate you from the inside. Obviously, the majority of the clients have a sad story when reaching you, and they share their pain, as it’s just natural.
That’s the moment when you need to learn to build walls to defend your world from crushing. It doesn’t mean being ignorant about someone’s feelings, but not letting them go through you. Even if it sounds cruel, it’s a vital step to save your psychological health.
Think about the doctors, they see a lot, but they never cross the border of empathy, as it will lead to a breakout. Listen, analyze, and sympathize, but never let it inside. Emotionally-proofed people will work more efficiently, as their emotional state will not get the lead.
2. Physical challenge
The lightest cases of caregiving will get by with shopping, cleaning, and cooking, which don’t require a high level of physical strength. It is quite a pleasant experience, as the person you are looking after can make a great friend, talker, and listener – just one more person to learn from.
However, the prevailing number of care receivers have more severe issues and will require bathing, toilet assistance, washing, etc. In this case, you will make the main force. If you don’t have enough muscle endurance and strength, you both will suffer – your client and you, as the probability of injuries gets too high.
In order to prevent such situations from happening, you need to be physically prepared – going to the gym is the best variant. Remember, your health is the foundation of your life and daily performance, your most precious resource. Don’t let it deteriorate, otherwise, your career will end up quite soon.
3. Mood swings
We all know about kids experiencing mood swings due to hormonal changes, and they find it hard to control their emotions. However, they are not alone in this problem.
The elderly can undergo even more severe mood changes. There are various reasons for that – reaction to pain, health problems, terminal illnesses, inability to accept the changes in body and lifestyle due to aging, etc.
While young people mock at grumpiness of the seniors, it’s worth digging more, to see the reason for such negativism. The majority of the clients used to be cheerful and easy-going a few decades before, however, the life lessons could be too hard for many.
It is important not to flinch and be understanding, just change the topic, tell a joke to ease the tension, etc. It will help greatly if you deepen your knowledge of the psychology and behavioral changes of seniors.
4. Awkward moments
Dressing/undressing, washing/bathing, toilet assistance – these are the most painful moment for people you help. Nobody is used to being suddenly limited in such easy activities and motions, this is the hardest truth to accept. It may cause excessive shyness or an overwhelmingly protective reaction.
After it becomes a regular routine, things will get simpler, yet it takes time to adjust.
5. Personal care
A good caregiver is a healthy caregiver – psychologically and physically, as only the balance of both will work. Physical exercises, proper nutrition, and sound sleep – the three most important cornerstones for efficient functioning during the day:
- Some people dismiss the necessity of physical exercise, saying that they have enough at work. However, that’s pretty faulty thinking. Planned and scheduled physical training creates the resources (strength and endurance) you use while working.
- Proper nutrition consists of healthy proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. Just snacking around will not provide your body with the necessary energy, thus, you will quickly get exhausted.
- Sound sleep takes about 7-9 hours; if you reduce the time frames to 5-7, your body will not recover after a physically exhausting say. The state of tiredness will accumulate and will lead to health problems and chronic fatigue.
Taking care of others is honorable, yet taking care of yourself must be a high-priority task.
6. Financial reward
The profitability of caregiving depends on many factors. The average salary of caregivers is around $26, however, it varies according to the state, the services provided, the license, and your skills.
While some people think that caregiving is an underqualified position, that is nothing but a common misconception. The more knowledge you have, the better your profile will be. Use every chance to grow within your professional world.
Attend supplemental training related to medicine, psychology, and physiology. Surely, it’s not possible to be a jack-of-all-trades, however, knowing the basics will definitely increase your chances for better pay, and it will help to grow and instill your confidence, which is a sound ground for your work.
Caregiving is sometimes called paid-for care, sometimes as a sacrifice, and sometimes as a work out of despair; however, none of the variants is right. Being a caregiver is a choice and a personal decision. When taking on such a position, you become a co-engine for another person, their help, friend, assistant, and consolation. Yet it’s always important to remember the ‘you’ part, and not to work at the expense of your resources.