Certified Caregiver

If going to nursing school or getting a bachelor’s degree is just not in your future, but you still have an urge to take care of others, consider becoming a caregiver. A caregiver is someone who helps an elderly or disabled individual with daily activities within the comfort of that person’s home. Making the decision to become a caregiver should not be taken lightly. Doing this job requires quite a personal sacrifice, in terms of time and state of mind, but it also gives you a different view of life and personal struggle.

You do not have to be licensed to become a caregiver, but it will give you better job options and pay to go through a certification process. To be a non-certified caregiver, you simply need a high school diploma, the ability to pass a background check and some simple medical tests for drugs and fitness. Anyone with these prerequisites who is willing to take care of another person can be trained as a caregiver. Many people go this route when a loved one needs care. However, there are less well paying jobs available for non-certified caregivers.

Every state has a different procedure for becoming a certified caregiver, but the basic path is a training and certification process and the passing of a state test. The cost of these programs vary from $200-$600, and can take up to 6 weeks to complete. There are also online courses available for those who don’t have a local organization in their area. Upon passing the state test, you will receive a license that says you are a certified caregiver, which means you can work in other’s homes, but also in assisted living communities or agencies that provide home care.

There are many different places to work as a caregiver. The most common is in someone’s home. The person requiring care or their relatives can hire you directly. Or a home care agency can hire you. Often, a home care agency will not only hire you, they will provide training and supervision as well. This is also true of adult family homes, boarding homes and nursing homes, which are constantly in need of caregivers. A person who has Medicaid will have a caregiver provided by the state. These caregivers that contract with the state are called Individual Providers, or IP’s. They follow a strict care plan that details their hours and what they are authorized to do, and they are paid directly by the state.

Although life as a caregiver can be incredibly rewarding, it is a trying profession, with limited monetary reward. To be a caregiver you have to love what you do and feel that you are making a difference. Many caregivers, especially those that fell into the profession due to a family member’s needs, often experience high stress levels, and become depressed or withdrawn. The toll of taking care of another person all the time starts to show its effects and you begin to feel as though you never really have any time off. Receiving proper training and following a detailed schedule can help with this, but mostly it’s your state of mind. Do you have the mental fortitude to become a caregiver.. how to find a caregiver for elderly

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