One of the great things about nursing is being able to have a somewhat flexible schedule. But while you don’t have the typical 9-5, you may work odd hours too. If you’re feeling the need to spice up your work life, consider at-home caregiving for seniors in your spare time. Registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and certified nursing assistants are all in high demand right now. According to the Home Care Pulse Benchmarking Report 2022, 85.3% of caregiving agencies turned down cases in 2021 due to caregiver shortages.
And caregiving demand should only increase. According to AARP, 80% of people prefer to avoid facilities and age comfortably in their home. Every day in the U.S. 10,000 people turn 65. This will more than double over the next several decades to top 88 million people and represent over 20% of the population by 2050. More people than ever will need help in their home.
So, how can you find a position like this, and what should you look for in an employer? Here’s my advice to you.
- How to find at-home caregiving opportunities. The Home Care Association of America (HCAOA), National Association of Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) and Aging Life Care Association are all great resources. If you’re Florida-based you can also check out Yümicare which is a digital marketplace helping seniors and their families find trained local caregivers – matched by proximity, availability, specialization and psychosocial characteristics.
- Pay attention to the employer’s retention rates. When vetting potential employers, try to find out or ask about their employee retention rates. The industry standard is 31%, so try to aim for numbers higher than this. You can also ask to speak with an existing employee about their experience – what they like about the organization or wish they had known when considering the opportunity.
- Try to be consistently paired with the same senior(s). Lots of caregiving agencies pair professionals with different seniors each shift. This can be problematic, as you will need to spend time and energy bonding with a new senior and familiarize yourself with their medications and schedule. Plus it’s actually worse for the senior’s cognitive function to have to acclimate with a new person each time they need care. Also, if you can consistently be paired with the same senior, try to do tasks together versus for them. This helps them gain a sense of empowerment and will keep their thinking sharp.
- Find opportunities close to your home. Depending on how your employer matches caregivers with patients, you may be matched with a senior across town, which means you will spend significant time in back-and-forth transit. It’s also important to find out whether you will be paid for commute time. Try to find an employer who will match you with a senior close to your own neighborhood. This will also make it easier for you to do any errands for or with your senior like grocery shopping, going to the pharmacy, etc.
- Try to be matched with a senior who has something in common with you. Caregiving for a senior can be a great way to make a new friend, and it’s even better for them and you if you have a foundation – like something you both have in common. Your hobbies, favorite sports teams, favorite movies, hometown – can all be bonding points which you can use to build a relationship with your senior.
With such a great caregiving need in the U.S., I hope this helps you in your career, and hopefully you can make a new friend and a little more income along the way.
About Alexander Moore:
Alexander (Alex) Moore is the CEO & Co-Founder of Yümicare (you-me care), a Jacksonville-based digital marketplace which specializes in helping seniors and their families find trained local caregivers. He has 20+ years of healthcare system experience, working for local organizations like Florida Blue health solutions, Guidewell Connect and Brooks Rehabilitation. Alex received his master’s degree from the University of North Florida in healthcare administration & management, and he’s a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS). He has also volunteered with the Society for Healthcare Strategy & Market Development (SHSMD) for over eight years.