ARTICLES / Caregiver / The
Caregiving Role: A Meaningful ... /
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 services.
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