Job seekers can find immediate employment opportunities in most areas across the country as companions to retirees. No medical training is required, although most applicants require a driver’s license and their own transportation.
“Right now, there is a crisis for caregivers. Demand is very high. We all need it,” said Eileen Booker-Yount, director of care management for the Visiting Angels chain in Mesa, Arizona. “There is strong demand for all caregiver jobs.”
Visiting Angels has more than 600 franchises in 50 states that employ caregivers who help seniors with transportation, meal prep with ease, light housekeeping, and other activities of daily living, and being mostly friendly.
Some Visiting Angels franchises as well as many other Aged Care employers nationwide hire home health aides or personal care aides. They tend to help with additional tasks such as brushing teeth, showering, and toileting.
These caregiver jobs are in demand
Home Health Aides
Typically, these assistants need a high school diploma or equivalent and must complete formal training and pass an exam. This profession often does not require you to have your own transportation while it usually requires you to be a driving companion.
Home health aides earned a median annual salary of $27,080, or about $13 an hour, in 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It expects total employment for these caregiver jobs to grow 33% in the next eight years as baby boomers age.
BizInsure, a marketplace for business insurance, notes that many home health assistance training programs last only two weeks. Training programs cost between $200 and $1,000. Because there is such a shortage of people to fill carer positions, some employers will pay for new hires to obtain their carer certification.
Most community colleges offer training and exam prep for these caregiver jobs.
The course and exam are more about knowing how to take care of people than medical training.
Many job seekers who are not willing to get help with showering and using the toilet already possess skills that can be put to good use as a full- or part-time companion.
We are looking for someone with empathy, not empathy. “A person can walk in someone else’s shoes and see the world from their point of view,” Booker Unit said. “We’re looking for that piece of respect, that they really want to make a difference in someone’s life.”
Look here to see if Visiting Angels fills in caregiver positions in your zip code.
Since each Visiting Angels franchise has a different owner, there is no set salary scale. Many offer a competitive wage of $2 or more per hour above the state’s minimum wage. Poker-Yount said employees with more experience may be compensated more. Some offer benefits. You can work full time as a companion or less than one four hour shift per week in most cases.
State-specific licensing or association requirements for caregiver jobs vary, although it is not uncommon for companions to undergo criminal background checks and provide references. Some programs also require training in CPR.
Who usually works as a caregiver?
Some caregivers are students who are in medical school or working to become a physical therapist, but many are interested in people with no specific academic or medical training who would like to work part-time or full-time.
Poker-Yount does not require job applicants to obtain prior care by working with seniors in a professional setting. It is looking for employees who have taken care of a family member at some point in their lives for six months or more.
“He who has taken care of a little sister with Down syndrome, or who has been caring for someone who has difficulties in intellectual development or who has taken care of their spouse, is a wonderful companion,” she said. “We have found that providing family care is the best experience in providing comprehensive care.”
Poker-Yount is certified to train companions to care for clients with dementia.
“Not everyone feels comfortable providing care in the world of dementia, either because they’ve lived through it or because they haven’t had the experience and that terrifies them,” she said. “When a caregiver has zero to little experience of dementia and gets a client (with dementia) they grow with. They become extraordinary. They are small steps along the way.”
Employers make sure that the caregiver is comfortable with the elderly and that the client and caregiver are a good fit and a good work environment.
Katherine Snow Smith is a staff writer for The Penny Hoarder.