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 workers.
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 services.
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