When you’re searching for a job, one of the first things you look at is the job description. What will you be doing all day? What are your responsibilities? Looking for a caregiving job is no exception. And in most cases, there are a few tasks that you’ll be performing on a regular basis. Keeping the house tidy, helping with personal care, providing transportation, and being there for safety and companionship will likely make up most of the day.
What you may not know is that there are often fun “bonus” parts of the job that aren’t included in the job description. For many caregivers, these extras are what make a career in caregiving so rewarding. Keep reading to learn five surprising things caregivers do as part of their jobs, with insights from current caregivers.
Helping seniors continue to do the things they’ve loved all their lives
A big reason seniors want to stay in their homes and use an in-home caregiver is to maintain their independence. That includes keeping with their life-long hobbies and routines.
Ellen shares part of her job:
“She loves to swim, so we go to the pool so she can do that, and we also walk. She also loves to eat out, and part of my job is finding a new restaurant to try (we get takeout).”
Cindy also helps her client practice her love of the arts:
“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.”
Doing things you like to do
At Sequoia Senior Solutions, we do our best to match caregivers with clients who have similar interests and personalities. For a good reason! The more you have in common, the easier it will be to have a great relationship with your client. And you’ll enjoy your job more, too.
Devita shares her experience:
“My favorite client right now is Bonnie. She’s so sassy and I love it! She’s very funny and caring and is always put together. She likes to go get her hair done, which I love.”
Janie also shares a love of books and old TV shows with her client:
“She can’t speak but I read to her and she smiles. I put on older TV shows that I like, and she likes that as well. Clients need this kind of stimulation.”
And Cindy loves to cook for her client:
“For the afternoon shifts, I’ll make her lunch if she hasn’t had it yet or snacks throughout the day. I like cooking, so I enjoy this part of the job!”
Helping seniors do things they thought were out of reach
As you age, you start to realize that maybe there are some things on your to-do list that will just never get done. Hear how our caregiver Ellen has helped her clients:
“A client had an old recipe book and really wanted to make recipes from her mother. She didn’t have anyone to do it with her and she couldn’t do it on her own, so I started making them for her. It became a real thrill for her and was a really fun thing to do.
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 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.
And it could be something small. One woman had a broken lamp and she was frustrated that she couldn’t fix it. I fixed the lamp and it made her really happy. It could be that they need something written and mailed. They need someone to listen to them and figure out what is important to them.”
Giving their families comfort and peace of mind
As a caregiver, your impact reaches beyond just the client you work for.
Cindy speaks about her client’s family:
“Her husband and children are very loving and supportive – it’s a beautiful thing to see. You couldn’t ask for a better family to work with.”
Janie appreciates what she does to help her client’s family:
“Her family caregivers are her daughters, who are wonderful and take turns caring for her when a professional caregiver isn’t there. They’re so happy that someone is there that really cares for their mom when they are not.”
Helping seniors feel seen, heard, and appreciated
We all want to feel like we’re respected and listened to, but oftentimes seniors don’t feel that way. As a caregiver, you have the opportunity to truly make another person feel good about themselves and appreciated.
Here’s what Ellen does for her client:
“Another important duty is advocating for my clients at medical appointments. They need someone to speak up for them. Knowing what questions to ask and when to push back for the client. Seniors are often afraid to ask questions or they feel apprehensive when talking with the doctor.”
DeVita has carried her work over into her everyday life:
“Now that I’m a caregiver I feel more comfortable talking with older people because I now understand what they’re going through. When I am out at various places and see older people, I strike up conversations because I know that one small comment or compliment can brighten their day. When you’re older, things can be way harder than they are for younger people, and that interaction can help them feel seen as a person.”
Cindy places great importance on connecting with her client:
“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.”
There is so much more to being a caregiver than just tasks around the house. That in itself can be of great help to a senior, but there are opportunities to make an even bigger impact.
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: