How the Business of Caregiving is Evolving
Amid the fast-paced tempo of modern-day lives, one rarely has time or courage to think about growing old.
Nevertheless, time seems to take its toll and aging happens whether we think about it or not. It’s not a kid’s game of pretense where you can just toss a blanket over your head and the monsters will go away.
Whether you prepare yourself for it or not, you are bound to get older and, unfortunately, some form of weakness or frailty is likely to accompany the piling up of the grey-haired years.
Our lifestyles are often unhealthy, due to the rush we all find ourselves in these days.
It’s not to say that we are just physically threatened by the contemporary lifestyle. We may also become psychologically, socially and emotionally frail.
Having said that, it’s fair to mention the other less pleasant possibilities of some kind of a malady that can sometimes make people less independent than most of us like to be.
With all this in mind, it might be wise to get familiar with the business of caregiving which has over time evolved and is evolving still.
The word “caregiving” is pretty much self-explanatory, right?
As for the business, it is similar and it, of course, concerns providing the best possible care for those that need it the most.
Old, people with special needs and every other person that requires any kind of help with getting around on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis including helping with everyday chores, eating, drinking and maybe even assistance in the bathroom.
To be precise – caregiving is part of our instinct. It’s the very thing that kept us going and enabled us to survive as a species.
Being kind and helpful to another is not just a cultural thing. We have in our instincts the urge to stick to a group and maintain it which slightly bends the whole natural-selection-thing.
Keeping the youngsters safe and sound is a social obligation, but also an honor which makes us feel useful and overall helpful members of society.
After a while, when we grow up, the tables usually turn. The ones who provided for us need our help and provision.
Sounds corny, but, the secret to providing proper caregiving is very simple – love and willingness to get the “customer” to really and honestly feel that he/she can always rely on someone.
Now it can be done in an institutionalized form as a health-care work or on a voluntaristic basis.
Most people still prefer their family members to take care of them instead of institutionalizing them or getting them professional help, but that can often be detrimental to the caregiver as well as the care receiver.
HISTORICAL PINPOINTS ON CAREGIVING
Besides the self-inflicted societal-based caregiving, it is important to underline that, no matter how natural it should be, as in every milestone of world history – someone has to rise and push it through the threshold and over the top in order for a business to flourish.
The thing is – we couldn’t with 100% assurance put our hands on the sole beginning of the caregiving as some kind of business.
It has probably been there forever, at first voluntaristic, individual and then in terms of familial, tribal and then semi-institutionalized care.
Just remember: in every historic situation, especially in the times of war, for an example, there was always a squad of caregivers who fought the most important battles, with no guns and with no ammo – the battles for human lives and giving everyone a shot at feeling like a legit member of the society.
As for the first fully institutionalized caregiving facility, one can, of course, think of hospitals.
However, not only sick people require help.
There are also medically untreatable anomalies that unfortunately can prevent individuals from being fully independent (but anyway, can any of us say that we are fully independent?).
These days, a need has been recognized for not only medical workers but also sociologists, psychologists, and many others to join the ranks of different caregiving facilities to provide guidance for different kinds of people in need.
Just think of rehab centers, right?
Modern age comes with modern problems and modern problems come with modern solutions.
For example, addiction is not a disease, although it can culturally spread and result in different kinds of sicknesses.
For every new form of a need for care, an institution specialized in the field seems to sprout which responds to the demands in the market, but also raises the quality of provided care to a higher level.
GROWTH OF THE CAREGIVING AWARENESS
As previously stated, in the near past the awareness and acceptance of the caregiving as an everyday topic and the normal part of social behavior has risen highly.
Especially after WWII, a few decades after, when the dust and decay settled down, the humanistic worldview set in on a global scale.
It all began as an unpaid type of work, especially stressed as volunteering.
We must admit, there is a nice chunk of humanistic prestige in the label of a volunteer, but not much profit, which can be detrimental to the service itself.
SOCIAL SCIENCES AND CAREGIVING
The second half of the twentieth century gave birth to a plethora of social and humanistic sciences and areas of thought that we have never considered before.
There were some efforts to help the ones in need even after WWI, especially with post-traumatic stress disorders, but it all usually came down to just drugging the trauma out of the people’s minds with little concern for their absolute mental and physical recovery.
Enter psychology. Those insane and scary asylums from the start of the 20th century, depicted in American Horror story and similar works of art, became a thing of the past.
Especially with the work of the famous French philosopher and psychopathologist Michael Foucault who criticized the prison-like ambient of the psychiatric hospitals in Europe and America, things started changing rapidly.
Health-care industries actually started caring for those in need, both mentally and physically, both socially and psychologically.
These days Shutter Island scenarios are hard to find although at the beginning of the 20th century it wasn’t quite so.
All of this doesn’t just relate to psychiatric institutions but retirement homes and such.
We also have to mention – caregiving is strongly tied to the primary health care provider, chosen doctor or a nurse, aligning the two types of care in such an order that respects and honors the dignity of the client.
Making sure that the general health and potential disabilities of mental issues, or issues of any kind are being accounted for and keeping it as humanely as possible. Making the caregiving or receiving feel normal because it actually is.
THE BIG BANG OF STUDIES
Maybe the most important part of bringing a new field of study is – performing studies and taking a good look at the results.
Concerning this topic, it all went great. Many of the studies performed showed an extreme rise in the mental and overall health of the ones included in the studies.
Their life expectancy has risen, happiness indicators started showing, giving the green light for pushing it over the edge, as a branch of social sciences and also as a business that has the potential to rise and make a mini-revolution for the humanity.
To be precise and exact, most of those studies aren’t dated back in the past. A decade, or a century, what does it matter? The wheel started rolling and the momentum did its magic.
One of the most important aspects of any type of care is – preventing the possible bad outcomes. And basic of that is self-care and the promotion of self-care.
It has been defined as “a process of maintaining health through health-promoting practices and managing illness”.
As the multiple studies have shown, the caregiver plays a significant role in helping and boosting the self-care.
Simply said: it’s always easier when you have someone to cheer for you and make you able to perform the actions yourself to a certain extent, instead of giving you everything on the platter.
Additionally, adding the family aspect to the equation helps reduce the risks and plays a highly appreciated part of the self-care infliction.
Studies have also shown that family-oriented care-giving surroundings of the patient are of primary importance when it comes to supporting and keeping on the tracks in taking the proper medication, dietary choices and behaviours concerning exercise patterns.
The interaction between the caregiver and the patient form the relationship of specific dynamics, depending on a number of factors such as disease, dependence level, personal relationships and many more.
Just keeping it in mind: self-care promotion is probably the most important part of the story.
It’s a lot better and so much more efficient to support the patient or the person in need to do it on their own if they are able of course.
THE ECONOMY OF THE CAREGIVING
For the best of all of us, the modern age has made it possible for the caregiving to grow out to be a proper, full-time business.
Making it a business has risen and improved all the aspects of care proficiency.
Starting from better organization, managing and addressing the needs of patients to highly increasing the overall efficiency of the program.
Yes, there is some kind of money-flow in the business (as in every other business, of course), but the accent here isn’t on the making of a salary, but rather on providing the best possible service to the ones that need it the most.
However, it’s not all shiny regarding the economic status of it.
For example, a motion should have been passed to prevent unpaid labor in the business of caregiving that exceeds work for hire by a huge margin.
Certain data show that the amount of money flowing in unpaid caregiving enterprises is estimated to be around 196 billion USD, while the paid part generates only 115 billion USD, all added up with the nursing homes included.
As we can see, it is around sixty to forty percent ratio, which isn’t really the best possible model for a business of such kind.
On average, around forty million Americans per year are providing care for their loved ones.
Helping them remain in their homes as long as possible and assisting them in everyday tasks that they cannot manage by themselves, such as eating, bathing, shopping, taking their medicines and achieving everyday goals that they set upon themselves.
This shows that we still have a long way to go on that field, but, still, it’s incredible how fast the industry develops. Patience, hard work, spreading awareness and investing is all we can do, but we must do it all the time.
MILLENNIALS IN CAREGIVING
At every step we make we can hear the elderly people complaining about the millennials. They’re lazy, not interested in anything, and of course, spoiled…
Let’s look at the facts. Luckily, facts don’t care about our feelings. Facts are telling us a completely different story here, to our great surprise.
Facts show that the millennials are actually pretty much invested in caregiving and caregiving business, contrary to the myth of being a lazy and uninterested bunch that doesn’t care about the elderly and the disabled.
The following photo closely depicts the status of the millennials in the caregiving business.
As we can see, millennials make every one out of four hires in caregiving in America. That is not a small number, to be honest.
Also, millennial family caregivers are more likely to care for someone with an emotional or mental health issue.
Average millennial (in the US, just to be clear) spends more than 20 hours a week providing some form of caregiving, and one in three employed millennial family caregivers earns less than 30 000 USD per year.
That means that they definitely face more pressure to balance real work and caregiving: 73 percent work and do so on an average of 36 hours weekly.
As far as Hispanic/Latino Millenials in caregiving are concerned, some data suggest that about 70% of them are male. On average they are obliged to work 42 hours per week, compared to the Caucasian already mentioned work time of 36 hours per week. They obviously seem to be taking take more pressure regarding the subject.
Time-consuming, the mentioned group is involved more than any other – around 34 percent of them contribute more than twenty-one hours per week. Also, their percentage rate goes much higher, making it around 40 percent of Hispanic/Latino caregivers being millenials.
Next time you start talking bad about the millenials, do think about this – maybe one of them is going to take care of someone of your interest. They are not as bad as it seems. Reality shows the contrary, to be honest.
Taking all the factors, millennials in the caregiving role make a unique experience and a good trend, and they for sure are shifting the way we look upon it nowadays.
In order for the business to be totally legal and transparent, there was a need and a demand for acquiring the certifications in order to get involved in caregiving.
This matters especially because some institutions, such as nursing homes and assisting living communities actually require the certificate in order to get hire and work for them.
Most of the states in the US have their own local caregiving resource centers and provide reputable training classes. In lots of cases, training is also available at local colleges, vocational schools, organizations like the American Red Cross, etc.
Mostly, these organizations work together and help each other out when needed – their cause is a good cause and they share it with passion.
Caregiving is all about helping anyone in need and that are the words that mark the spots of everyone included in various organizations mentioned.
Anyone who is interested in involving the caregiving can apply, it’s simple – undergo the criminal background check, complete a 75-hour training course, pass the home care aide knowledge and certification examinations and – you’re on your way of becoming a certified caregiver.
EXAMPLES OF SUCCESSFUL CAREGIVING BUSINESSES
In order to thrive, the caregiving business had to widen the field of action. In practice, that means that it had to infiltrate the private businesses and to find a way to the company owners and people willing to start businesses involved with the caregiving itself.
Results are, once more, to a great surprise and luckily to all of us – good. Very, very good. A lot of companies had started dealing with it and engaging with the planned schemes of the business.
Experiences of the clients are excellent, rising up the number of clients each and every day by a big margin.
Truth is, it is not free of charge, but, the experience that clients get for a small fee – is definitely money worth and beyond.
For example, Caring Transitions has already facilitated lots of people and already has more than 200 franchises all over the United States over only twelve years of their existence.
They are dealing with settling parents into assisted living facilities or help them deal with the remaining possessions after they had passed away.
Their motto is – every family has a story, and they tend to give their best to help people tell those stories in full.
Another good example is Wellthy, whose words are – modern, seamlessly human and tech-powered, are compiling the technology and keeping it up with the modern-day era in service providing.
This company had its own renaissance, fueled by demographic trends and policy shift to rapidly grow over the last four years.
To showcase their excellence at what they do – some of the major companies, such as Hearst and Snapchat even offer their workers Wealthy as a part of the hiring contract and as a benefit for their hires.
Other, caregiving-focused companies are also flourishing and seeing a spike in demand. Growth of the caregiving business has made people think and has made them start caring about their loved ones, and themselves, obviously, for the future.
As we can see, caregiving has gone far in its evolution over time.
What has started as a given-by-nature, now has found its place under the roof of institutions.
It all began far in the past and since then it’s keeping us as human as humanly possible.
As the years went by, societies have been striving towards humanities and started vocally and effectively showing care among one another and one for another.
We really came a long way, from natural selectionist animals to caregiving creatures (caregiving in every possible sense, not just in a manner of business-wise caregiving), but still, there is an even longer road ahead.
Started from the bottom of the ladder – as volunteer work and we have climbed it and risen to the level of legit business nowadays, including all members of the society and trying to include even more of us in every day that goes by.
As previously mentioned, there are lots of national and private organizations that are dealing with training and making people properly capable of helping others in need.
To conclude: caregiving has grown a lot, which is an awesome thing. It has shown that it can be a sustainable full-time business and also provide care, help, and love for the customer. It has grown so much over the years that even high-profile companies offer benefits of caregiving companies as a part of the hire.
Nowadays, there are even agencies that connect you to individual care providers for your loved ones in need.
That in itself is a sign of the caregiving industry growing and earning its rightful place in the economy.
As for the predictions on the evolution of caregiving business, one can only include technological advance as a means of shifting the paradigm, because as a society, especially in economically developed countries of northern Europe and America, we have proved that our empathy is as strong and as organized as ever.
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