If you’re considering becoming an in-home caregiver for seniors, you’ve probably already identified that you’re the type of person who enjoys spending time with seniors and making a difference in the lives of others. You know you have what it takes to tend to someone’s physical and emotional needs, and think you’re well suited to working in a quieter home setting instead of a bustling hospital or nursing home.
If all of that sounds like you, then there are a few main pathways for you to explore. They generally break down into two categories: non-medical, companion caregivers and skilled medical caregivers. You may hear the following titles used to describe each type of caregiver:
The main differences between these two categories of caregivers are level of training, what duties they can perform and pay rate for services.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, senior care jobs are in high demand: Employment of home health aides and personal care aides is projected to grow 41 percent from 2016 to 2026 and employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 15 percent during the same time period.
When it comes to interviewing, preparing ahead of time and being yourself are key. Make sure you have good answers in mind to potential questions, which you can review and prep ahead of time, but also remember the interview process is about identifying if this is a good employer-employee fit — and that goes both ways. You can start to suss this out in the phone interview, but during an in-person interview is when you really want to come fully prepared to answer all questions and to get a good sense for the family — both the senior and other members — as a potential employer.
A few helpful items to have on hand include:
When it comes to questions you may be asked, it’s a good idea to practice what you might say ahead of time. Don’t worry about memorizing answers, but having a general idea will allow you to answer more fully and to sound polished and prepared if the questions do come up. Ones you may encounter include ones about:
As with any job, getting paid a fair wage is probably top of mind for you. According to Care.com data, the average national hourly rate for an in-home senior caregiver was $17.32 when hired independently. When hired through an agency, Genworth, a long-term care insurance provider, cites an hourly rate of $22 for a home health aide, though that’s what the client pays, including agency overhead costs, so that likely doesn’t all go in your pocket.
A number of factors will affect your rate including location, your skills and experience, the level of care you’ll be providing, and other benefits or compensation. Once you find a family you want to work for and settle on a pay rate and schedule, it’s a good idea to create a contract. Contracts allow all parties to feel comfortable and aligned on expectations, and provide a written reference should an issue crop up during your time with the family. A comprehensive contract would include:
Whether it’s your first day and you’re looking for tips to start you off on the right track or you’re years in and experiencing burnout, we’ve got you covered.
To start, here are a few expert tips for your first day:
For those who are well into their job and may be starting to experience burnout, here are a few tips to help you cope: