There are a whole host of reasons why people embark upon careers in caregiving, and that can be true at almost any stage of a person’s life. People fresh out of college may want to become involved in a profession where they can really make a difference for mankind, and make the world a better, more enjoyable place for patients who need care.
It also happens fairly often that people who have chosen careers become disenchanted with them somewhere along the way, being unfulfilled by dull, repetitive work that may not have any real significance to anyone. Obviously, the term ‘meaningful career’ will have different relevance to just about everyone, but if you are a person looking for a career that involves helping others, bringing joy to people who may not have much joy, and upgrading the quality of life for people unable to do that for themselves – then you should seriously consider a career in caregiving.
To be sure, professional caregiving is not all rainbows and roses – there are frustrations and drawbacks, just like there are at any other worthwhile pursuit. At times, patients will be uncooperative and even refuse care, there can be a high stress level at various times, and there can even be some extremely emotional times, when the person being cared for is undergoing debilitating health conditions, but the rewards – well, they can be positively life-changing.
While job security should probably not be your first priority with starting a career in caregiving, it is of course a very practical consideration, and one that you should keep in mind. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, growth for the number of home caregivers needed during the period from 2016 through 2026 is expected to approximate 40%, which is a staggering figure. Compared to job growth in other professions, that is about 10 times the kind of increase that other careers will experience during the same time frame. There will always be a need for home caregivers, partly because our general population is aging rapidly, and also because the cost of placing elderly or disabled persons in assisted living environments is skyrocketing.
Personal Strength and Wellness
This might not be the first benefit you think of when considering a profession of caregiving, but it is true nonetheless that caregivers have statistically demonstrated greater strength and health resilience than their counterparts who have no involvement with caregiving. The daily rigors of providing care for a homebound person often involve assisting them with navigation, hygiene activities like bathing and washing, and helping them get sufficient exercise. All of that activity and physical exertion are reflected back upon the caregiver, keeping them more active and stronger as they carry out the daily routine of providing needed assistance.
Flexibility of Work Schedule
If you have never been someone who wanted to be stuck in a 9 to 5 job routine, doing the same thing day after day ad infinitum, you would probably find professional caregiving to your liking. In many cases, you can choose the hours you want to work, and this alone can be extremely useful and practical. If you have a family to care for and you have limited availability, you might be able to schedule your work hours around the times you have to be home to provide care and support for family members.
You might only have two or three days each week that you can commit to caregiving, but there are still job opportunities in caregiving which can accommodate that. No matter whether you’re looking for part time work, full time work, or just a few hours each day, there is a person somewhere who will benefit by the care and companionship you can provide. Even on a limited basis, you can still earn a good income in professional caregiving, and you can make life a little better for someone who really needs you.
Deeper Purpose in Life
There are some careers which are necessary in their own way, because they provide goods or services to a consuming public, but which have little or no real meaning attached to them, other than production. Obviously everyone can’t be involved in professions which are deeply fulfilling on a personal level and which contribute to the betterment of mankind or of individuals. But for those who do choose a career in caregiving, there are few other professional pursuits which make such a huge impact on the lives of other people. When you see how much companionship and caring means to a homebound senior, it can provide a warmth of good feeling that can make you glad you chose this profession. Helping others might be one of the greatest ways to show your own good qualities and your capacity for caring.
What are you waiting for?