How to Become a Family Caregiver

Max Mayblum
Reviewed by
Max Mayblum
,
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Learn how to become both an unofficial and a licensed family caregiver.
Published
July 26, 2022
Last updated
11
min read
Finance

How to Become a Family Caregiver

Max Mayblum
Reviewed by
Max Mayblum
,
Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Learn how to become both an unofficial and a licensed family caregiver.
Published
July 26, 2022
Last updated
11
min read
Finance
How to Become a Family Caregiver

Introduction

As a family caregiver, you're responsible for helping your loved ones live independently. This involves providing emotional support and physical assistance to seniors and other adults who can't take care of themselves. While there are many benefits to being a family caregiver, such as getting to spend meaningful time with those you love, it also comes with its own set of challenges. For example, if you're taking care of someone on a daily basis, you might have to adjust your schedule around their needs (like attending doctor appointments). In addition, some caregivers are forced into this role due to circumstances beyond their control—such as an unexpected health crisis or death in the family—and have no other option but to become the primary caregiver for an ill parent or spouse.

In this blog, we'll discuss the steps to become an informal family caregiver as well as a certified family caregiver. The difference between the two may determine if and how you get paid to take care of a loved one.

What is a Caregiver

A caregiver is the person who cares for a someone who needs physical assistance. It can be an individual, group or organization that provides assistance to people with disabilities, chronic illnesses or terminal conditions.

The caregiver is the one who takes care of the patient. This can include assisting in daily activities such as:

  • walking
  • dressing and eating
  • helping them follow their doctor's advice
  • assisting them with their appointments, treatments and therapies
  • providing transportation to medical facilities
  • advocating on behalf of the patient and monitoring medications

Family members often provide this type of care since they are usually available around-the-clock due to proximity and familiarity with each other's needs (and perhaps even shared financial resources). Caregiving also allows family members to maintain close relationships with loved ones by providing both emotional support as well as practical help when needed most -- which may mean spending more time together than usual during times when health issues arise unexpectedly (such as during hospitalization).

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How to Become an Unofficial Family Caregiver

Becoming a family caregiver is an important stage in the aging process. To become a family caregiver, you'll need to have a high level of patience and compassion for your loved one. You should also be able to take care of them as they age. If you're interested in becoming a family caregiver, there are some things that you can do:

Talk with your loved ones about their needs and desires

They may need help getting around or preparing meals, so it's important that they talk with you first before making plans on how they want their life during this time period handled. This will allow both parties involved to feel comfortable with each other's decisions throughout this process. It will also give them peace-of-mind knowing that everything else is taken care of while they focus on enjoying their retirement years.

Discuss health care and legal issues

Find out about your loved one's current medical conditions, medications, and how they are managed. If you are not the caregiver for a longtime friend or relative, it's likely that at some point they will become unable to make their own decisions or live independently. You will need to know if there are any legal documents such as powers of attorney or advance directives that have been signed in case this becomes necessary. The person may also be entitled to government benefits under Medicare or Medicaid that can help pay for long-term care services like home health aides who come into their home regularly as well as skilled nursing facility stays when needed (this is covered under Medicaid).

Find out what your loved one wants

The most important thing to do when taking care of an aging person is to listen. Ask them about their life and what they want out of it. It's important to ask what the person who needs care wants to do every day, like go for walks or talk with their grandchildren on the phone. Make sure you know what their priorities are, so that you can help them meet those goals.

Ask questions like "Are you still going out with friends?" or "Would you like me to bring a friend over?" Or even more specific: "I'm going downtown; would you like a ride?" By asking these types of questions and really listening, you can figure out exactly what activities you should plan for your loved one each day. This also lets them know if anything has changed since last time they talked (like maybe if your loved one's friend is sick).

Research available services and supports in the community

You'll want to research available services and supports in the community. Here are some places you might start:

Figure out how much time you can put into caring for your loved one

Next, figure out how much time you can put into caring for the person who needs care. This might take some consideration. You may want to start by making a list of everything else in your life: family, friends and community obligations; even hobbies and interests that are important to you. How much time do those things take up? If the answer is “not much” then it might be a good idea to figure out where else you could spend that extra hour or two each week which would free up more time for your family member or friend who needs help caring for themselves or getting around their house. If there are no other options for cutting back on other activities, ask yourself what tasks can be done with less effort than others — perhaps if they're going over some papers in bed because it's easier than sitting at a table? Maybe they'd rather have their meals delivered rather than cooking themselves? Or maybe they just need someone else around who will listen while they talk about what's on their mind (even if they don't say anything). Consider these possibilities before deciding whether taking on this role will be something worth doing at all.

Commit and take care of yourself

Caregiving is a challenging and stressful job, particularly if you do it for someone you love. If you're an unpaid family caregiver, you're likely working long hours, which deserve payment, to meet the demands of your loved one's needs. It's important that you take steps to ensure your own well-being and self-care so that you continue to be able to give your best self to this person who needs help.

One way to care for yourself is by eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep and taking breaks from caregiving responsibilities when possible. Also make sure that there are others who can support and provide emotional support for both of you throughout this process—you may need a friend or family member to step in when things get especially tough or stressful so they can help out while giving you some time away from your situation. Trust me on this one: even though it might not seem like much at first (especially if no one else is around), asking for help occasionally will make all the difference in terms of keeping yourself healthy in mind body spirit!

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How to Become a Certified Family Caregiver in 3 Steps

Learn about the job

Becoming a certified caregiver can be an excellent career move. With a growing population and an aging Baby Boomer generation, demand for caregivers is on the rise. Caregivers are in high demand and they can make a very good living as well.

As a caregiver, you can choose to work full-time or part-time, usually allowing you to maintain personal relationships outside of work life. Many caregivers also enjoy having flexible schedules that allow them to take off for doctor’s appointments or family events without having to worry about missing out on income because they took time off from work.

And if you want total control over when, where and how long you work (and how much money you earn), becoming your own boss may be just what the doctor ordered!

Get training

If you're ready to begin your training and certification, it's important to know that each state has different requirements. Most states require some level of formal training and certification, but these requirements can vary greatly from one state to the next.

Some states offer both online and in-person classes, while others only offer an online option. Some programs offer both classroom-based and online options, while still others only provide classroom-based instruction. Some programs may be offered by schools or universities; other programs may be offered by private companies or government agencies.

As a general rule of thumb though: If you are interested in becoming a certified family caregiver, you'll need to complete at least 20 hours of classroom training on topics related to elder care (such as nutrition) as well as completing an exam administered by the program provider after completing your coursework

There are many different types of training programs available. It's important that you choose one that is approved by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) or other reputable organizations. To ensure that your program is approved, ask if its instructors have passed background checks and if students' certification test scores are validated by NAHC after completing the coursework. Also consider whether the training covers topics such as personal care and hygiene, medical conditions that may require additional specialized services, and basic first aid techniques in case of an emergency situation at home. Finally, be sure your courses cover all state regulations relevant to becoming certified as a family caregiver before enrolling in them!

Here are some different avenues to training:

  • State agencies (such as state departments of health and human services) offer certified home health aide training classes for those who wish to learn more about becoming a paid family caregiver. A certified home health aide must pass an exam after completing the class in order to practice as one within their state. This option is available at public colleges or universities across most states but typically requires pre-requisites such as high school diploma or GED certificate before applying for enrollment into these programs
  • Private nonprofit organizations may offer similar courses through local community centers suchas church groups or senior centers where seniors live near each other
  • Many different types of websites provide information on how caregivers can get started workingfor themselves without having any previous experience doing so - sometimes even without having any medical background knowledge at all! Some sites even offer free videos showing them exactly what they need do step-by-step so they don't have any questions left unanswered once they finish watching it all together

Get licensed

Once you're ready to start looking into different types of licenses related to being a family caregiver in your area (whether it's through an agency or through private clients), make sure they meet all state requirements regarding qualifications like education level required before getting hired on as well as criminal background checks performed on those applying for these positions so there aren't any surprises later down the road about who might end up caring for loved ones instead of us!

Becoming a family caregiver is both a rewarding and challenging experience, but with the right resources, you'll know what to expect.

As a caregiver, you are the backbone of the healthcare system. The duties and responsibilities of being a family caregiver can be both rewarding and challenging. As with any new position, it takes time to learn the ropes and develop skills necessary to succeed in this role. With proper training, support and resources, you can expect many benefits from becoming a family caregiver.

  • You'll gain an opportunity to help others: One of the most important reasons people become caregivers is altruism—they want their loved ones to live happily and independently as long as possible.
  • You'll enjoy personal satisfaction: Caring for another person is rewarding on many levels—physically giving love through caregiving activities; emotionally by providing companionship; mentally by keeping your brain active; socially by connecting with friends through shared experiences; spiritually by helping someone who might otherwise not be able to access adequate medical care due to financial or other barriers.
  • You'll build relationships that last: When caring for another person becomes part of your everyday life routine (rather than something you do occasionally), it gives rise to strong bonds between family members over time.
  • You'll have more control over your schedule since some days require more effort than others depending on the needs of others.
  • You may get paid while doing something satisfying: Unlike most jobs where employees need separate jobs just so they can pay rent/mortgage each month (not including food costs), having one job means fewer bills overall!

Tips for Family Caregivers

There are many ways to become a family caregiver, but there are also many considerations you should make before you begin your journey. As an adult who has chosen to care for another adult's well-being and happiness, there will be an emotional toll that comes with this responsibility. You may need to seek out the proper resources in order to deal with any stressors associated with caregiving. In addition, being paid for your services is one way of ensuring that you will be able to provide for yourself and maintain your own health during this time of service.

Additionally, getting official training is always recommended by professionals who specialize in healthcare fields such as nursing homes or home health agencies because it shows that their employees are qualified individuals who know what they're doing when it comes time for them do their jobs at work every day. However, unofficial training can also be beneficial if not more so than official training because it allows someone who wants to become a family caregiver without having any experience doing so yet still get some sort of knowledge about how things work behind closed doors without ever stepping foot inside those doors themselves yet still knowing what needs done once inside those doors again!

Conclusion

In the end, becoming a family caregiver is a great choice for many people. It allows you to be there for someone who needs it most and also brings you closer to your family. While being a caregiver can be hard work, it can also be rewarding knowing that you're helping someone else through a challenging phase in their life.

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Max Mayblum

Max Mayblum

Max is the founder and CEO of Givers. Motivated by his personal exposure to family caregiving and his background in healthtech, he started the company on a mission to help caregivers get long overdue support and resources. Max is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)® and is passionate about helping caregivers find the joy and connection in their role.

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