Part One of a Two-Part Series
From a young age, I was always a helper. I worked as a full-time nanny and volunteered with the American Red Cross as well as my church. When my dad was deployed, I helped raise my younger brother and even set up a fundraiser to send toys, food, and supplies to Iraqi families who had been left with nothing as war raged through their country. Helping others made me feel good. Being able to assist someone and put a smile on their face is what motivates me to achieve greatness.
During my senior year in high school, my grandma fell ill and moved in with us. With my dad away and my mom working full-time, I was in charge of caring for my grandmother. I helped her get ready in the morning, take her medicine, prepare her meals, and just interact with her. Prior to moving in, she had experienced depression. Even a walk around the block or a game of mancala lifted her spirits immensely. It was personally rewarding that I could bring so much happiness to her and I will cherish those memories forever.
Not only was I helping to heal my grandmother’s physical and mental state; she was healing mine. Being my grandma’s go-to-girl helped me tune into my compassionate and empathetic self. I didn’t view it as a chore but rather a bonding experience. Elderly individuals are wise, and if we all slowed down with our busy lives, we could learn valuable lessons from them. One piece of advice my grandma provided me with before she passed away was never to take a single day for granted. This knowledge from my grandmother helped shape me into the person I am today and subconsciously pointed me in the direction of a career in caregiving.
After graduating high school, I had no idea which direction to point myself in career-wise. I started to brainstorm different career paths and occupations that fit my personality, when It dawned on me: I wanted to help people. Although I had cared for my grandmother over the years, it never occurred to me that I could be compensated for my duties.I missed my grandmother tremendously and longed for that feeling of self-gratification that came along with caring for her. I briefly researched caregiving as a career and found many programs as well as testimonials from caregivers who enjoyed their jobs. I was a compassionate yet diligent worker, and my personality traits seemed to match up with the personal qualifications of caregiving.
One of my main criteria in searching for jobs was employment availability. I was not going to pursue a career in something that was not in high demand. Luckily for my generation (I’m 21,) the baby boomers are reaching old age. This means that as they retire and require more medical assistance, the healthcare industry will be forced to expand. According to the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, the senior population is expected to double between now and 2050. This large population will require at least one million new healthcare jobs by 2024. Just another reason for me to pursue a career in caregiving.
In conclusion, the abundance of employment opportunities paired with my desire to give back to the elderly community is what drove me to pursue a career in caregiving. Being able to provide joy to aging individuals is what makes me who I am.
Now for my next task, I will find a caregiving agency to complete my training.