There are many fantastic career paths out there that allow you to give back to the community and help others, but if you’re interested in working with senior citizens and supporting them during their later years, then this can help you narrow things down a bit. One option that may have caught your eye is working as a carer for the elderly, either in their homes or at an assisted living facility. This job can be very rewarding as you will be making a big difference in the lives of the people you are caring for, as well as helping to give their relatives comfort, knowing that they are safe and cared for properly. However, as incredible as working as a carer for the elderly can be, it can also come with a lot of pressure and challenges that aren’t right for everyone. So, if you have been contemplating this as a career, below are some of the key things you will need to be successful in this role.
One trait you will need to have when you are working as a carer for seniors is patience. It isn’t uncommon for some senior citizens to be resistant when it comes to care, as many can find it difficult to accept that they need it. Others might be uncomfortable or confused due to illnesses that they have developed, which can be stressful and frightening. While you should never put up with any kind of abuse in your role as a carer, it is important to be patient with those you are looking after and not take things personally if they do get a bit upset. You may also find that their family members grow concerned and distressed in certain circumstances too, and they will also need to be reassured.
Compassion is just as important as patience, and often the two go hand-in-hand. Again, you will need to express this to the individuals you are caring for and their loved ones. It can be hard to see the people you care about struggling, and even worse if you start feeling as though you are becoming a burden to them. No one should be made to feel that way, so being kind to the people in your care is vital if you want to succeed in this role. Learning to be kind to yourself is also important, especially when experiencing the more challenging aspects of this role that can be hard to navigate. Remember to practice good self-care when you are working as a carer so that you can perform at your best.
The Right Training
You may have the right personality to work as a carer for the elderly, but you will also need to have completed the correct training and education to do this job safely. Before you do choose to pursue this career path, make sure you have done plenty of research into the different options available to you to achieve these qualifications. You might also want to consider other opportunities in this career, such as moving into more senior roles and what further training you might need for this. For example, this course is for an assisted living manager certification if you would be interested in running a facility like this one day.
A Good Team Player
You should also think about how well you can work as part of a team if you want to be a carer for senior citizens, particularly if you are interested in working in an assisted living facility or another type of care home. Each member of staff will need to work closely with one another to make sure that the best quality of care is provided for residents. However, it is important that the staff are supported properly so that they can deliver this. You will certainly be thankful for your team members when you have had a hard day and need some reassurance.
Strong Communication Skills
As a carer, you will need to have strong communication skills to help you work with the seniors that you are supporting, their families, and the rest of the care team you work alongside. When you are caring for someone who has ailing health or other specific needs, it is crucial that you are relaying the right information to other carers and family members to ensure that this individual is looked after properly. You will also need to consider how to speak appropriately to those who may be distressed so that you can help to calm the situation rather than making things worse. If you feel that you aren’t the best communicator, this is a skill that you should work on to help you improve in your role as a carer for the elderly.
Work on Physical Strength and Fitness
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to work with the elderly, but it is important to think about the physical toll this role can have, especially for those who do need help with their mobility. Working as a carer for senior citizens can be very physical work, so making sure that you have good strength and are fit is important if you want to make this work easier for yourself. This will help to reduce the chances of injury to the people in your care as well as yourself and will help you to keep going throughout the day. You may also find that exercises like yoga or Pilates can help you stretch out your muscles and build strength in your core, and this can make you feel more comfortable.
Working with senior citizens can be a very rewarding and interesting job, but working in a carer’s role isn’t the right path for everyone. The points listed above are just some examples of the qualities and training you will need to pursue this career path, so consider your current position and figure out which skills you need to develop to help you thrive as a carer for the elderly. You should also explore the different options for working environments, as you might find that you are better suited to some than others.