About Caregiving

Caregiving About ImageAs Rosalyn Carter, former first Lady, said:

There are only four kinds of people in the world.
Those who have been caregivers.
Those who are currently caregivers.
Those who will be caregivers.

The Tennessee Tech Caregiving Center is designed to address the growing needs for caregiving in the Upper Cumberland.

Caregivers are in demand

From 2014–2024, the demand for professional caregivers is expected to grow by 633,100 jobs, more than any other single occupation, according to UnitedHealthcare.

According to the Tennessee Office of Research and Accountability, by 2030:

  • Seniors will make up 22% of Tennessee’s population
  • Total population between the ages of 65-84 is projected to increase over 60%
  • 23 counties are projected to see the senior population double
  • Oldest baby boomers – those 85 and older – is projected to increase 68 %
  • 12 counties projected to increase by over 100 percent.

This population change will result in significant growth in the demand for and potential cost of public long-term services and support programs for low income Tennessee seniors.

Tennessee has:

  • Almost one million unpaid caregivers
  • Valued of the unpaid care they provide is more than $10 billion per year
  • Most caregivers in Tennessee lack training or guidance
  • They spend hours alone serving the needs of their loved one
  • The isolation deprives them of emotional support
  • The stress from caregiving diminishes their health
  • They feel guilty that they have not done enough
  • They do not know where to find resources

The Tennessee Tech Caregiving Center is designed to address the growing need for trained caregivers and provide support for the non-professional caregiver.  

The Tennessee Tech Caregiving Center will address the need for training, resource identification, support for care providers (Respite Care), and create an equipment bank for families.

What is Caregiving?

What is Caregiving?

Caregiving is providing care for the daily needs of someone that is unable to care for themselves.  The care my include addressing the physical and emotional needs of someone that requires continuous support and attention.  The individual could be a loved one or a friend.  Most caregiving occurs in the home.

What Caregivers Do

What does a Caregiver do?

Caregivers perform a wide variety of tasks to assist someone else in his or her daily life, for example, balancing a checkbook, grocery shopping, assisting with doctor’s appointments, giving medications, or helping someone to eat, take a bath or dress. Many family members and friends do not consider such assistance and care “caregiving”—they are just doing what comes naturally to them: taking care of someone they love. But that care may be required for months or years, and may take an emotional, physical and financial toll on caregiving families.

For some people, caregiving occurs gradually over time. For others, it can happen overnight. Caregivers may be full- or part-time; live with their loved one, or provide care from a distance. For the most part, friends, neighbors, and most of all, families, provide—without pay—the vast majority of care.

Are You A Caregiver?

Are you a caregiver?

You might be a caregiver to a partner/spouse, parent, child, family member, friend, or neighbor if you are providing assistance with any part of their daily living. People often require assistance from a family caregiver because of age, medical condition, decline in overall health, injury, illness or disability.

Click to see if you are a Caregiver

Caregiving Roles

The important roles fulfilled by a Caregiver

The caregiver fulfills critical needs for the one needing care.  According to the Patient Empowerment Network, the caregiver can assume the following responsibilities:

Advocate. Sometimes patients are not completely forthcoming with their physical or emotional needs and tend to downplay their pain when speaking with doctors. Caretakers play an important role in honest communication between doctors and patients by upholding patient preferences for treatment options when the patient cannot or will not speak for him or herself.

Personal Care. Caregivers may help with daily activities such as dressing, bathing, toileting, or arranging child care.

Household Tasks. Caregivers are often in charge of preparing meals, doing chores or laundry, shopping for groceries or paying bills.

Emotional Support. When faced with a serious diagnosis, patients are often overwhelmed by the emotional and physical turmoil. Caregivers are tasked with the important duty of providing support and encouragement for the patients as well as themselves. Communication is key in the relationship between a caregiver and a patient. It is important to both openly share feelings and remain empathetic to the situation.

Medical Care. Caregivers must be present, take notes, ask questions and assist loved ones in making decisions with the care team. They may also be responsible for administering, ordering, and picking up medication, providing transportation to appointments, and dealing with scheduling, billing, or insurance issues. Caregivers may also assist with other medical processes such as physical therapy, injections, feeding tubes, etc.

Personal Skills

Do you have the personal skills for being a Caregiver?

Care facilities, private clients and agencies generally are looking for individuals with certain personal traits. Occasionally, these characteristics are considered more of an asset to certain employers than education and experience. Do you have these innate skills?

  •  Attention to Details
  • Time Management Skills
  • Strong Problem Solving Abilities
  • Excellent Written and Verbal Communication
  • Superb Interpersonal Skills
  • Compassion for Others and a Positive Attitude

Job Opportunities

What are the job opportunities for Caregivers?

A career in non-medical caregiving is ideal for compassionate individuals who have a strong desire to help other people live their daily lives to the fullest but who don't necessarily want to undergo extensive medical training such as nursing school or other intensive programs. The most typical charges caregivers tend to are the elderly, patients needing post-op care and individuals with acute or chronic illnesses.

Caregivers provide a meaningful service and can be rewarding for those who truly have a passion for the work. There are many environments that employ non-medical caregivers such as client's homes, assisted living communities, hospice, nursing homes, group homes, day services programs, and post-surgical rehabilitation facilities. Such workers are employed under a variety of position titles such as:

  • Live-in/Live-out Caregivers
  • Elderly Caregivers
  • Full-time/Part-time Caregivers
  • Home Health Aides
  • Personal Care Assistants
  • Nursing Assistants

Knowledge Through Training

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Do caregivers need specific knowledge skills?

Caregivers need to perform complex medical tasks, supervise patients, make decisions, solve problems, provide emotional support and comfort, and coordinate care. Using these skills, caregivers administer medications, plan and provide meals, handle medical equipment, and provide direct care such as wound care and lifting and turning.

Caregivers also provide custodial care, transportation, and advocacy. Some tasks are merely time-consuming; others are difficult. Family caregivers also typically manage the household. To improve function and safety for the patient, caregivers may need to modify the environment and acquire equipment and assistive devices.

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