There can be no doubt that people who enjoy working with seniors are a special sort. They recognize and celebrate everything older adults have to offer. They value the unique personalities and timeless wisdom of these individuals and enjoy helping them reach full potential during their golden years.
But these care professionals also want certain things in their careers that make them uniquely suited for the job. Read on to see if you have what it takes to perform this important role — and enjoy it!
You’d make a great home health aide if . . .
You never turn down a challenge. Boredom is a common complaint among today’s workers.[1. “Bored In The Office: Is It The New Productivity Killer?” May 31, 2012, https://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2012/05/31/bored-in-the-office-is-it-the-new-productivity-killer/] But in an occupation with older adults? There’s hardly ever a dull day, and sometimes not even a dull moment! From protecting their health to assisting them in making life transitions, home health aides must always be ready to rise to a challenge.
You want to go straight into the healthcare field. Not everyone feels strongly about going to college or vocational school; they’d rather seek employment as soon as possible. However, being a home health aide is a far cry from being uneducated. Almost all are required to have at least a high school diploma, and definitely state certification (which requires special training). For those who want to go straight into the working world and secure a healthcare position, becoming an aide can be a great choice.
. . . but you don’t want to practice medicine. Many people wish to act in a healing capacity, but without the burdens and requirements of practicing medicine. Home health aides get to care for clients’ physical needs (such as bathing, dressing, and feeding) and let doctors and nurses handle more technical aspects.
A flexible schedule would be great. We don’t live in a 9-5 world anymore, and many people would prefer to work nights, evenings, weekends, or even half-days. Since older adults have varying abilities and preferences, it is entirely possible to enjoy a flexible schedule as a home health aide.
Others depend on you – and you like it that way. Feeling like you are needed is one of the keys to human happiness. Many soon-to-be home health aides can’t wait to get started in a job where someone relies on them. If you’re a dependable person and care about friends as if they were family, a career that involves older adults may be ideal for you. It also helps if you’re pro-active type – one who is on the alert for small problems before they turn into big issues, like safety hazards and medical crises.
You want a job that requires both your head and your heart. The effects of being left alone all day can be devastating to older adults.[2. “Social Isolation Among Seniors:
An Emerging Issue,” March 2004, https://www.health.gov.bc.ca/library/publications/year/2004/Social_Isolation_Among_Seniors.pdf] That’s why one of the most important functions a home health aide can perform is providing intellectually and emotionally stimulating companionship. Talking, reading, playing games, and doing puzzles are all activities that keep older adults sharp. Being emotionally supportive is also a component of the job. Growing older isn’t always easy, and clients truly appreciate having someone there who can offer advice and solace when needed.
There are many different ways to enjoy working with seniors
In addition to being a home health aide, there are many other ways to enjoy working with seniors. You might also consider becoming a visiting nurse, nutritionist, geriatric care manager, and more. All these professionals can be found at a quality home care agency.
Find the right agency to work with
If you’re thinking of becoming a home health aide, it’s important to find the right agency to work with. An outstanding care agency will offer their staff guidance, support, and continuing education. They do this not only for the employee’s benefit but also so that the client gets superior service. The best agencies also take a personal interest in their staff so that they’re able to go the extra mile for older adults. And when it comes right down to it, isn’t that what everyone who loves this job wants to do?
If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home care for older adults. Contact us to find out more.