What it Takes to Be a Caregiver

Not everyone can look after someone on a daily basis. It involves a lot of work. Take the case of my grandmother.  I always promised my grandmother that I would never place her in a nursing home.

But when she became ill, diabetic and had to get one of her legs amputated, and have many comorbidities that we couldn’t take care of her any longer. We had to place her in a long-term care facility because we couldn’t handle her daily needs.

While she was in the facility, being a dental hygienist, I noticed that they were not cleaning her dentures. Other residents were also not getting the teeth brushed daily. So I would clean my grandmother’s teeth as well as the other residents’ teeth. After she passed on, I continued to take care of the oral health of seniors in nursing homes.

Although being a caregiver can be challenging, I found my purpose and passion in caring for our greatest generation. So, being a caregiver is a satisfying career for those who decide to do it as it gives you an opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives.

If you decide to become a caregiver for seniors, you have to be fully aware of the responsibility and duties that the role entails. This article will enlighten you about the common caregiving roles, qualities, and training.

Who Cares for Seniors in Nursing Homes?

Certified Nursing Assistants’ (CNAs) are the primary caregivers of seniors in long-term facilities.

One of the fun parts of being a CNA is hearing the stories of your clients and joining them for fun activities.

But most of your duties will relate directly to hands-on care and patient support. A standard shift may involve handling phone calls, helping patients with daily and physical activities, changing beds, and keeping an eye on their food consumption.

You may also be required to maintain patient hygiene, nutrition, and medication management.  You may be tasked with ensuring that patients are getting proper nutrition from food and vitamins.

You need to be comfortable drawing blood, prescribing, and administering medications because it is not unusual for qualified caregivers to perform these procedures.

Home caregivers

You can choose to work in seniors’ homes as a home caregiver. In this case, you can work directly with agencies that will help connect you directly to people who need them. You can easily get a job with an agency if you don’t have job experience as they are willing to train.

Depending on the patient that you are working with, you may or may not have a care plan. If you have a care plan, use it as a guide on what you should do every day with your patient.

Your work may include maintaining a tidy environment. This includes making beds and sweeping as it is difficult for seniors to do this often. It will ease their burden if you do this.

Some seniors might need help getting in and out of wheelchairs or driving them to a doctor’s appointment. As a caregiver, it will be your responsibility to help them with this. The amount of transportation that you will do will depend on what the client needs.

Qualities for a good caregiver

One of the most important qualities that you need to have as a caregiver is patience.  I remember walking in one nursing home. As soon as I arrived, the CNA ran to me. “Sonya! Sonya! We have a lady that has been here for five months. She has dementia and her mouth has a horrible odor. Can you see her?”

I went to see the lady. When I walked over to her, I realized there was a language barrier. It took me 15 minutes for her to trust me enough to let me into her mouth. When she opened her mouth, what I saw changed my life. They were covered in food, debris, and black mold.

It took a lot of patience to get the senior to comply and allow me to help her. But I was happy that I cleaned her mouth and brought her happiness.

If you like caring for other people, being a caregiver can be a rewarding career.

In addition to having a caring personality, you need qualifications and experience.


Most CNAs are required to take an auditory learning course that requires at least 75 hours of training and must be well aware of the basics when caring for the facility’s residents.

Enroll in the Geriatric Toothfairy Certified Nursing Assistant Training. The course is designed to educate, motivate, and communicate the importance of oral care for aging adults.

The course is fun, energetic, and informative for the entire team. Each participant will be required to take a post-test and will receive a certification of completion from the Geriatric Toothfairy and American Mobile Dentistry and Teledentistry Alliance.


Table of Contents


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email