Starting a new career can be a very exciting time, but it can also be a little scary. You may not know what to expect, or you may feel unsure it’s going to be the right fit for you. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! It’s common and very understandable to feel these mixed emotions.
One of the best ways to get more insight into a new job (and how to do it well!) is to hear from those who are already doing it. In this article, we’ll share four pieces of advice that will help you start your caregiving career off the right way.
Look for an employer that fits you
Caregiving jobs come in a few different forms. You can work for a client privately as an employee, you can be self-employed, or you can work with an agency. Each option has pros and cons, so you’ll want to carefully consider which type of employment will be best for you.
You’ll also want to give some thought to who you’re working for. If you choose to work for an agency, be sure to do your research to make sure the company treats its employees well and has an excellent reputation.
Our caregivers share what they like most about working with Sequoia Senior Solutions:
“The team and the owners treat everyone with respect and are encouraging. They’re very professional and organized and have a good communication system. There’s teamwork and camaraderie that I didn’t find at other places. They reward your education and training, and the training and videos are very motivating.” – Ellen
“I enjoy the freedom of going to a client on my own–they trust and respect that I will do my best for the company. The communication and teamwork are good as well. I feel appreciated and can talk to them. I also feel I have job security because the company has been in business for a long time.” – Janie
“It’s such a caring and dedicated group of people. Very hard working. Everyone does their very best. My care manager, Emily is a wonderful person. It’s just a great team.” – Cindy
“They care a LOT, and everybody is very communicative. I’ve worked for other companies as a caregiver and I didn’t feel I was prioritized, but here they care about caregiver mental health. If I have a family situation, they’re very open and understanding and make sure I’m okay.” –Devita
Learn more about what to look for in this recent article: 5 Things To Look For in a Great Professional Caregiving Job
Take advantage of training and resources
At Sequoia Senior Solutions we place great importance on training and supporting our caregivers. Wherever you choose to work, be sure to ask questions about their training process and what resources you have available to you. Here’s what our caregivers have to say on the topic:
“I’ve taken all of the great training courses. I think they’re essential even for experienced caregivers to refresh their knowledge. I would also say learning good mechanics is key. You can easily hurt yourself when moving your client if not done properly.” – Janie
“The trainings are very informative. They’re not at all boring and you can do them at your own pace. The managers really encourage you to do them, and you get raises. You are always recognized as you complete new trainings.” – Devita
“There’s such a wide variety of clients and their needs are all different, so every situation is new. It’s important to have the training that Sequoia Senior Solutions provides. And the training is good – you feel supported throughout and ready to do the job.” – Cindy
Read more about training in this post: Getting Started as a Professional In-Home Caregiver: What You Need to Know
Look for ways to connect with clients
Taking care of someone is a very personal experience, so building trust and developing a relationship goes a long way. Our caregivers share their insights on how to connect with clients make a positive impact and make the job a little easier and more enjoyable
“When you meet a new client, remember that they may be scared and hesitant. I try to get to know them right off the bat, starting with asking them, ‘What would you like me to call you?’ Make a joke to break the ice a little. When they feel comfortable, it makes the relationship much better. Be yourself and smile!” – Janie
“I love doing things that make a difference. Everyone has something that they want to do but just can’t, like my client who wanted to cook from her mother’s recipes. I was able to help a lady write her life story. I wrote them down as she told them, and it ended up being about 16 stories and taking a few years. The stories were always special moments in her life, and it also helps the client with processing the end of their life. Everyone has interesting stories and I love listening to them.” – Ellen
“I have one client who I care for about 20 hours per week. She has Alzheimer’s, so it was a little challenging at first. But now that I’ve gotten to know her and her needs, we’ve built a great rapport and it’s like a friend visiting. She has an art background, which is a passion of mine as well, so a lot of our time together is spent doing arts and crafts projects while we chat. She also likes music and singing, so we listen to music, too. The most important thing is connection. It’s so great for them to have someone they can talk to and do activities with. It’s vital human contact.” – Cindy
As you can see, caregivers play an important role in the lives of their clients! Check out this recent article for more information.
Have patience and empathy for your clients AND yourself
It takes a special person to be a caregiver, and two of the qualities most caregivers have are patience and empathy. It’s important to be patient and empathic with clients, but you also need to take the same approach to your own self-care. As our caregivers explain, it may take some time to feel comfortable on the job and build a relationship with your client:
“People think it’s much harder than it is! They say, “I could never do that!” but it’s more about compassion and emotion. It takes patience. What we think is easy can be hard for them. And you get emotionally invested, so you need to be ready for that and be able to separate the personal from the professional.” – Devita
“Be patient with yourself and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to call your care manager. It’s a learning process, and it takes some time to grow into it but it’s one of the most rewarding things you can do.” – Cindy
“To be a good caregiver, you have to be a people person and have empathy. Treat them with respect and integrity and don’t talk to them like they’re children.” – Janie
Want to learn more about what an average day looks like for a caregiver? Read this related post.
If you’re ready to learn more about becoming a caregiver with Sequoia Senior Solutions, visit our “Becoming a Caregiver” section and fill out our interest form today. You can also read more about professional caregiving in our recent blog posts: