What is it like to be a Caregiver?
Your clients and their loved ones probably never
expected to be caring for a person who is sick or has a
disability. As professional Caregivers, we need to
ensure a meaningful quality of life for our clients, the
care recipient, and ourselves. Just as the care
recipient has special needs, so does the professional.
Job security with appropriate pay and benefits
contribute to a positive professional self image. People
who are appropriately compensated and trained are better
Respect by clients is another aspect
of this issue. Too often people who need our services do
not realize that we are trying to help them do what is
necessary to maintain or achieve their independence. It
is our responsibility to help our clients understand our
roles and empower them to be good consumers of our
Professional Caregivers must also
serve as advocates for our clients. We must work
together (with our clients) to get public and private
agencies to be more responsive to the needs and concerns
of people who need our services. The professional
Caregiver and care recipient need to work with each
other in a respectful relationship. The care recipient
and their families need to understand the role of the
professional intruding in their lives.
How do we accomplish this goal?
First, we must advocate for better conditions for
ourselves and our clients. Second, schools need to teach
human service workers how to effectively work with
people who have special needs. Agencies need to
reinforce this training with in-services and ongoing
supervision. Third, the government needs to be
responsive to the concerns of people who have special
needs or may be homebound, and their caregivers. This
includes providing better benefits and not cutting home
care and other human services.
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