From one perspective, it’s exciting to read the statistics on the number of people who are aging in place and living longer, but who still need some degree of assistance with daily activities.
The United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging found that in 2013, there were 44.7 million people age 65 or older in the country, making up 14.1% of the population; by 2060 they project that figure to more than double to 98 million or 21.7% of the U.S. population. However, it’s like a bar graph with that demographic heading straight up and a question mark below it for the number of capable caregivers to meet the demand.
In addition to the elderly, many people of all ages require assistance to remain at home, including people recovering from surgery, living with a chronic condition such as MS or Parkinson’s, and those who are physically or developmentally disabled. The future demand for in home caregivers is evident in the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimation that they are one of the fastest growing professions in the U.S.
Learning more about people who choose to work in the caregiving profession including their training, professional and personal backgrounds, and why they do what they do, can go a long way toward relieving concerns about staffing a home care business.
Donna Barr, 59, got her degree in early childhood education before becoming the owner of a preschool in Connecticut.
“I just adore helping people and helping children,” she says.
Ms. Barr has been a caregiver with Homewatch CareGivers serving Western Washington state for the past three years of her whole 25-year caregiving career.
“I’ve also worked with a few elderly clients,” she says. “I like to make things easier for them, to get to know them and understand them.”
When it comes to working with young children, Ms. Barr is passionate. “I like it when I win over the parents’ confidence,” she explains. “At the end of the day, I can share cute stories about what their child did.”
Yes, caregivers can and need to be trained, but for many there is an innate desire to help others that enhances their skills. Jeannet Gutierrez, 58, is the mother of two grown children and a full-time caregiver for Homewatch CareGivers in Washington.
“When I came to America from Peru, being a caregiver made me feel like I was helping my Mom again,” Ms. Gutierrez says. “People are so lonely sometimes.”
In Peru, Ms. Gutierrez worked in her mother’s restaurant and as a secretary for a computer business, but when she came to the United States, she went to school and got a nursing assistant certificate.
Now she takes pride in hearing that the families of her clients are happy with her care. “I have worked with many hospice patients,” she says. “I feel very helpful when I talk to the family and explain how they need to still show their love.” Ms. Gutierrez is about to celebrate nine years as a professional caregiver.
These two women are just a small sample of the many people who seek out work to serve others—children, elders, or infirm—in the home care industry.
Read how we support our franchisees in finding and hiring the right people, on our People Development franchise page.