A career in aged care can be extremely rewarding. It offers plenty of opportunities and rewards, while also providing you with a sense of fulfillment as you care for the elderly.
However, aged care can be extremely demanding. It is challenging and requires a well rounded set of skills. Therefore, not everyone is suitable for the job.
If you are considering a job at an aged care center, this article will tell you everything you need to know about the field.
Jobs in the aged care sector have grown tremendously over the past years. That’s because improved health care has enabled more people to live into old age.
This translates into a growing healthcare and social assistance industry. According to a census in the US, the Health Care and Social Assistance sector had the highest employment in 2018.
With a high demand for aged care workers, finding a career in aged care is easy, given one has the required skill set.
Salary for aged care workers varies across jobs. It also depends on experience, who your employer is, and your level of qualification.
The average salary for an aged care worker in the United States is around $56,209 a year. A majority of aged care workers’ salaries range between $24,500 to $40,000.
The skills you need
Apart from being dedicated and passionate, there are certain skills that you need to have for a successful career in aged care. Take Banfields aged care as an example, and consider that skills can be divided into technical and soft skills.
Technical skills make sure you have the knowledge and expertise needed for aged care. These skills need to be learnt and include:
- First aid skills
- Knowledge about hygiene
- Home maintenance
- General health knowledge
- Physiotherapy knowledge
Soft skills are needed to smoothen your interaction with the elderly. These skills mostly reflect your personality, your willingness to adapt, and how you carry yourself around people. They include:
- Compassion and empathy
- Good communication
- Being responsible
- Being patient
- The ability to adapt to unexpected scenarios
The qualifications you need
Generally, you do not need a qualification to work in aged care. Most employers require just a high school diploma because on-site training is usually available.
However, having a qualification will set your application apart and enable you to begin work immediately.
Also, some aged care jobs do require a qualification. For example, you must take the NCLEX exam and become a registered nurse to work as an aged care nurse.
Roles and responsibilities
Being a worker for aged care is not always easy. There are numerous roles you have to play. These include:
- Assisting with personal care. This includes helping your client with daily basic tasks such as dressing, showering, toileting etc.
- Assisting with nutrition. You need to make sure your client is getting their meals on time and are well-hydrated. This could include making meals and assisting them in feeding themselves.
- Monitoring vitals. As an aged care provider, you will need to monitor your client’s vitals daily. These include blood pressure, temperature, pulse etc.
- Household chores. As part of your job, you will have to perform basic household chores. These include keeping the house clean, taking out the trash, looking after the mail etc.
- Arranging transport. You will be required to ensure transport for your client to appointments and other social engagements.
- Implementing care plans. Aged care providers need to implement care plans. Care plans are tailored to your client’s needs and, therefore, their instructions need to be carried out daily. Examples include administering medications, helping with exercises etc.
Aged care is a term that covers a vast set of jobs. Different aged care jobs vary based on their roles and responsibilities. Because each job is different, so is the pay. It is important to understand which job interests you and is most suitable for your personality type. Examples of aged care jobs are:
- Aged care worker
- Residential aged care support worker
- Community care/lifestyle support worker
- Care manager
- Aged care nurse
Aged care is a rapidly growing industry with plenty of job opportunities. It is a fulfilling and challenging career choice that comes with its own set of rewards.
If you are passionate about helping people and have the required skill set, then a career in aged care might be the right choice for you.
Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.
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