Monday, November 23, 2009

Caregiver Certification eases fears

I remember hearing a family member tell me that leaving their mom with a new caregiver and walking out the door to go to their own home reminded her of leaving her child at day care for the very first time.

It’s scary. It means trusting someone you don’t know well to care for someone you love and feel responsible for.

Your stomach churns and there’s a sick feeling deep down. Your mind circles around the fear: what if the caregiver doesn’t listen to her? What if she speaks sharply to her, or is rough with her?

You worry if she really has the skills and knowledge to provide the care your mother needs, and the judgment to know what to do if something awful happens (a fall? wandering off?).

You wonder if your mom will ever forgive you for not caring for her yourself; for turning to strangers to provide care.

There’s no easy way to get past these initial feelings when you place your precious loved one (parent or child) in the care of someone else.

Here’s one idea, though, that’s gaining a lot of traction nationally: make sure that the caregiver has solid, formal training with a certification to show for it.

That’s a tough requirement, since most states don’t require caregiver certification, and many areas don’t even have classes to certify caregivers. It’s a fast-growing field for training however, and new online courses make certification available to anyone with an internet connection. Ask – and expect – anyone who provides caregiving to your loved one to be appropriately certified.

It might not take away the initial “first day” jitters, but it will give you a sense that you’ve taken one more step to ensure the safety and care of your loved one.

Online caregiver certification courses are available from a variety of sources, including our newly launched Personal Care Certification course from the Institute for Professional Care Education ( For details, go to our website or call us toll free at 877-843-8374.

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