What is a caregiver, and how can one help parents who want to age in place? As we age, there is a certain irony in that some of the needs we thought we outgrew tend to return. Once we needed help to bathe, to feed ourselves – to take care of the necessities of day-to-day living.
It’s quite unlikely, however, that those good people who once fulfilled those needs for us are in any position to do so again. Those needs can be met, however, fully and compassionately, by professionals who formally hold titles of caregivers or aides.
So, what exactly is a caregiver? What is an aide? In a sense, so many might claim that title, caring for loved ones, whether family or friends. In a professional sense, however, these are dedicated people licensed as Certified Nursing Assistants or Geriatric Nursing Assistants.
Certainly, those are credentials you should look for if you or someone whose care is important to you may need more attention in meeting daily demands. CPR certification is another skill set found among the most professional aides and caregivers.
Caregivers and aides will also be found in a variety of settings, accommodating the needs of whomever they assist. If the setting is a home, a caregiver or aide might help someone dress, or help with daily grooming and toileting, perhaps even make a meal or do some laundry. The services of a caregiver or aide may even be coordinated with a hospital staff, for example, should a client be in need of more serious medical attention.
For obvious reasons, caregivers and aides largely assist seniors – though people at all ages, depending on their particular circumstances, may benefit from the services of a caregiver or aide. Certainly, however, with America’s senior population growing like never before, and living longer and more vitally as well, it’s likely that caregivers and aides will become an ever-more familiar part of everyone’s lives.
Whether hiring a caregiver or aide, or otherwise depending on their services, the profile of this profession is rapidly gaining prominence. Consider, for example, that in Maryland, 15 percent of the population is older than 60, according to the state’s Department of Aging. That population is expected to grow to 25 percent of Maryland residents by 2030.
For them, and others who need those extra helping hands to ensure that as some abilities taper, quality of life does not, caregivers and aides are at the ready to provide a range of day-to-day services, in a range of settings, with professionalism and compassion.