The demand for reliable companions for the elderly is steadily growing in the U.S. as people live longer and choose to age in their homes. This increased demand offers a unique opportunity for people seeking meaningful work and a chance to positively impact their community.
If you live in Oklahoma and are interested in helping seniors enhance their quality of life and live more independently, being a companion to the elderly can provide personal fulfillment and be a good source of income.
This post will guide you through things you need to know about embarking on the rewarding career path of being a caregiver for the elderly in Oklahoma.
What Does it Mean to Be a Companion to the Elderly?
A companion to the elderly is a type of caregiver who offers support, assistance, and companionship to seniors within the comfort of their own homes.
Companions most commonly work with elderly clients who are homebound and socially isolated. They also work with those who have chronic illnesses or conditions and are less able to perform daily tasks by themselves.
This type of caregiver doesn’t assist with any medical or health-related tasks. Registered nurses and home health aides perform these duties. Rather, a certified caregiver focuses on personal care and looking after their client’s social and emotional needs.
Duties of a certified caregiver or companion to the elderly may include:
- Providing stimulating conversations
- Offering friendship and emotional support
- Engaging in social activities and hobbies
- Assisting with daily living activities, such as bathing, dressing, and grooming
- Grocery shopping and meal preparation
- Light housekeeping
- Running errands, such as picking up prescriptions
- Offering transportation to appointments
A caregiver commonly works alongside a client’s loved ones. They provide temporary respite when family caregivers need time for themselves.
Benefits of Being a Companion to the Elderly
Being a companion to the elderly can be a challenging yet extremely rewarding role.
It’s meaningful work that offers you a sense of purpose and the opportunity to make a positive impact in an elderly person’s life.
You’re helping those who otherwise might not be able to age in the place they’ve lived for much of their lives. You’re also offering a friendly face to people who spend a lot of their time isolated and alone.
Being a caregiver is also a position that offers a lot of job flexibility. You can control your working hours and plan your schedule around your own busy life. Part-time and full-time caregiving roles are available with most agencies.
Finally, being a caregiver to the elderly is a position with great job security. There will always be elderly people who need companionship and help living independently. Caregiving is a hugely in-demand role.
How to Be a Companion to the Elderly
Whether you’re looking after an elderly loved one or pursuing a career as a certified professional caregiver, certain skills and traits will help you be a good companion.
Key traits needed to be a companion to the elderly include:
- Patience. Many people experience physical limitations or cognitive decline as they age. These limitations can make everyday tasks more challenging and time-consuming. It’s crucial to approach situations with understanding. Allow clients the necessary time to complete tasks at their own pace. Patience shows respect and empathy, fostering a more positive and comfortable environment for you both.
- Reliability. When an elderly person depends on you for support, it’s essential to follow through on your commitments. Being reliable means showing up on time, fulfilling promises, and being consistent in your presence and availability. This reliability helps establish a sense of security and trust.
- Active Listening. Being fully present and attentive to what an elderly person is saying, helps you better understand their needs, concerns, and emotions. It also shows that you value their thoughts and opinions and provides an opportunity for more meaningful conversation.
- Empathy. By putting yourself in another person’s shoes, you can develop a deeper understanding of their situation and needs. Empathy allows you to show compassion and build mutual trust. It helps elderly adults feel heard and understood.
- Respecting Boundaries. Every person has their own preferences and personal boundaries that should be acknowledged and respected. It’s essential to establish clear boundaries to create a sense of safety and trust. Recognizing privacy and personal choices is a way of respecting a person’s dignity and autonomy. These things are key to maintaining a healthy relationship with your client.
- Foster Another Person’s Independence. Being a caregiver isn’t just about doing things for another person. It’s crucial to foster an elderly person’s independence and encourage them to engage in activities too. Find ways to involve them in daily tasks, hobbies, or social activities to promote autonomy and well-being.
How to Earn Income by Being a Companion to the Elderly
If being a companion to the elderly seems like something you would like to pursue as a paid career, you can look into becoming a professional caregiver.
Below is what you’ll need to do to earn an income as a professional caregiver.
Obtain Necessary Certification and Licenses
What it takes to become a professional caregiver varies between states.
Some states don’t require any certifications to work in the non-medical personal companion care field. Others require at least some basic training and certifications.
In Oklahoma, the Professional Association of Caregivers recommends an eight-hour certification course to work as an in-home personal care aid.
Many schools and caregiver organizations offer basic caregiving courses. These courses teach you the basics of caregiving, such as job responsibilities, basic hygiene, personal and environmental safety, simple first aid, and emergency procedures. They can be done online or in person to fit around your current lifestyle.
Understand Your Legal and Ethical Responsibilities
Understanding your legal and ethical responsibilities as a companion to the elderly is also crucial. It ensures the well-being and safety of those in your care.
Familiarize yourself with relevant local and national laws on elder care. These include regulations regarding privacy, abuse, and negligence. These laws protect the rights of the elderly and safeguard you from potential legal issues.
You should also understand your ethical responsibilities when working with elderly individuals. These include maintaining client confidentiality, respecting autonomy and dignity, and avoiding conflicts of interest.
Look for a Caregiving Job
Once you’ve obtained your relevant training and understand your responsibilities, it’s time to start looking for paid caregiving jobs in your area.
Seeking a Caregiver Job in Oklahoma
If you’re looking to pursue a fulfilling caregiver career in Oklahoma, there are a few key steps to help you get started on your job search.
Steps to finding a caregiver job:
- Determine Your Availability. Before jumping into your job search, establish your availability and desired schedule. Decide whether you prefer part-time or full-time work. Identify any specific days or hours that you can commit to caregiving duties. Doing this will help you narrow down suitable job opportunities.
- Check Job Listings. Begin your job search by exploring platforms that list caregiver positions in Oklahoma. Look for online job boards, caregiver-specific websites, or local classified websites that feature job openings. You could also ask other people within your network for recommendations.
- Research Agencies. Some caregiver positions in Oklahoma are offered through home care agencies. Research reputable agencies in your area that specialize in elderly care. Read reviews, check their credentials, and gather information about their application process and requirements.
- Submit Your Application. Once you’ve identified suitable job listings or agencies, it’s time to prepare your application. Create a professional resume highlighting your relevant experience, skills, and qualifications. Tailor your resume to show your compassion and reliability. Write a cover letter expressing your interest in caregiving. Explain why you are a good candidate for the job.
Become a Caregiver with Providence Home Care
Providence Home Care is a fully-licensed Oklahoma-based home care provider. We’re looking for compassionate and reliable caregivers who want to improve the lives of the elderly and feel great about what they do.
We’re committed to serving our caregivers by fostering personal and professional growth and helping you achieve a good work/life balance. When we look after you, you can look after our clients to the best of your ability.
If you live in Oklahoma, contact us about starting your career as a companion for the elderly today.