“A good caregiver acts as an extension of a person with a disability’s body. They do what an individual can no longer do for themselves, enabling them to live as safely and efficiently as possible. It may seem counterintuitive, but having someone reliable to depend on can make a person more independent,” says Matt, a C6 quadriplegic. Not all caregivers fit this ideal mold. Matt gives his perspective on why quality caregivers are hard to find.
“A job that involves ensuring the health and well-being of another person requires talented and caring people.”
Shortage Of Caregivers
There is a shortage of caregivers nationwide. Matt says, “As the population of the United States ages, more senior citizens are moving into assisted living facilities of various care levels and these facilities need to add employees to keep up with the increase in demand.” He continues by discussing how facilities remain understaffed because employees are overworked and underpaid thus creating caregiver burnout, substandard care, and shortages of employees.
“As a result, good caregivers often work more hours than they would at a more traditional job.”
The same problem exists for in-home caregivers. There is a high turnover rate and many caregivers stay at a job for short periods of time.
Matt states another reason for the caregiver shortage are the low and stagnant wages that come with the job. He says, “Many caregivers are forced to work for several clients or several agencies just to make enough money to make ends meet.” Other industries can offer higher wages for jobs that require less education and training which makes it difficult to recruit the best candidates to become caregivers.
Changes Need To Be Made
“In order to make caregiving jobs more attractive, changes obviously need to be made,” says Matt. He suggests that education and training need to be made accessible, affordable, and thorough for all potential caregivers for the following reasons:
- By offering education and training either through a state-funded program or a private company or institution, potential caregivers will be exposed to a variety of medical diagnoses for which medical care is needed.
- Exposure to various fields would allow caregivers to have some flexibility when searching for jobs and to have potential for advancement.
Lastly, Matt states, “A mandated increase in wages for caregivers would go a long way in attracting more candidates to the profession.” He goes on to say the only way to attract people is to provide a wage that makes caregiving worth a person’s time and effort.
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