Being A Caregiver-Pt 2

  Special Thanks once again to Greg Brown and James Armstrong, from Now What Jobs for this article. Many of us are attempting to deal with this new role in our boomer years.

Following is part two of an interview with Phyllis Slater, owner of Slater Solutions LLC. Ms. Slater has devoted years to providing coaching and concierge services to the working caregiver and aging parent. Visit Phyllis Slater’s website .

Q. Is caregiving a rewarding career?

A. Yes, I have a creative personality and passion to find solutions. Working for others did not provide that freedom, which was a trade-off for security. Eight years ago I started my own business helping seniors to downsize their home, pack and unpack for relocation, and organize the home for ease of movement. This process is more than just packing and unpacking. Now the family can learn how to properly do these tasks for themselves by hiring me for coaching sessions over the telephone.

As time went on, I created friendships with other senior care providers. It became clear that there was a gap with respect to information, resources and the caregiver. Unfortunately, aging is not a pleasant thought and people wait for the last minute to think about it.

Q. could we have an overview of caregiving?

A. There are two types of caregivers. There are both family and professional caregivers.

Q. What does it mean to be a family caregiver?

A. Family caregivers are on call 24/7 should a loved one’s health and care change. Today a loved one may be independent but a fall tonight could mean hospitalization, rehabilitation and care when they return home. That is if they return home.

Q. Describe a day in the life of a family caregiver.

A. From rising in the morning, responsibilities start with making sure a loved one takes meals and medications; is bathed and dressed; you cook, clean, shop and provide transportation. Don?t forget the importance of social interaction with the loved one.

Family and professional caregivers must work as a team. A perfect scenario of how to be a great caregiver includes planning ahead for any contingency, which includes a list of products, services and resources within reach. However, this is not reality since most caregivers wait until a crisis to think about these things. There are unknowns, such as being independent until illness places them into a nursing home. Years ago there wasn?t any in-between stage. Now we have options such as Assisted Living and Continuing Care Facilities.

Q. What kinds of people are most in need of caregiver services?

A. Caregiver services should be available to someone who has physical, mental or age related challenges.

Q. What do these people need the most?

A. Support and services in a clean, caring and affordable environment. Aging is a process. Preparing for reality of aging is as important as preparing for retirement.

Q. What kinds of challenges does a family caregiver face?

A. When a loved one can no longer be fully independent, many families have no idea of the emotional and physical stress it puts on them. The key is to avoid ?burnout? by taking time out for a quiet walk, lunch with friends or bringing a massage therapist and hair stylist to the home.

Q. What kinds of advice do you give to a Boomer who is considering getting a caregiver for his or her parent?

A. Plan ahead by asking friends for referral services they have used. Keep a record of this for future reference. Doctors and organizations provide referrals, but that does not mean they have ever used them or know someone who has.

If a professional caregiver is required, interview their company as closely as they will interview you.
* Is the company and staff bonded?
* Will one person be the primary caregiver?
* Does the personality of your loved one work with the personality of the caregiver?
* What is the pricing?
* Perform company background checks.

Q. What are some of the disadvantages of being a caregiver?

A. Burnout is a big concern if there is no personal respite time allowed. Sometimes a spouse feels guilty about taking time away from the ailing spouse. What happens is that the healthy spouse dies first.

James O. Armstrong, who is President of, Inc.,, also serves as the Editor of In addition, he is the author of “Now What: Discovering Your New Life And Career After 50” and the President of James Armstrong & Associates, Inc., which is a media representation firm based in Suburban Chicago.

Becoming A Caregiver

As baby boomers many of us are care givers for family members. This is an insightful article from James O. Armstrong.

Following is part one of an interview with Phyllis Slater, owner of Slater Solutions LLC.  Ms. Slater has devoted years to providing coaching and concierge services to the working caregiver and aging parent.  Visit Phyllis Slater’s website at

Q. Why did you become a caregiver?

A. At 23 years of age my first husband became ill at the same time I became pregnant. I was to become a caregiver to two people.  This challenge has made me sensitive to the stress of being a caregiver. There was a limited support system available at that time. Today, the best support systems are for those who are low income.

Q. Where does a person go to become a caregiver?

A. Check with the Area Agency on Aging or government aging services. They can provide information about which jobs require certification, bonding, and extensive training.  Non-medical in-home care requires very little schooling.

Q. Are there classes that people take?

A. Colleges offer courses for a variety of caregiving careers. Hospitals have their classes and requirements. The Internet is a great source of research for this. However, decide what area you would enjoy working in and contact the appropriate companies in that field to see what they require.

Check out Center for Caregiver Training at And, there is Educational Resources for the Family and Professional Caregiver at I have never used them, so it would be up to individuals to learn more.

Q. What is the income for the professional caregiver?

A. It depends on the field of caregiving that is desired.  An in-home care worker earns between $15 to $21 dollars an hour.  Many times they work for a client only four hours a day or once a week.  In-home care companies usually do not provide health coverage but pay for the bonding and background checks.  Each state has a different law about this.  Naturally, an insurance specialist, lawyer, and financial planner can earn whatever the market allows.

Q. Where can a family caregiver get funds to pay for professional services?

A. From…
* Family
* Medicare
* Medicaid
* Reverse Mortgages
* Long Term Care Insurance
* Financial Planning

Some Senior Centers have volunteers to assist with non-medical care.

Q. Tell us about you.

A. Eight years ago, I left 25 years of working as an administrative assistant and word processor for Human Resources, to start my own business. I was concerned about the challenges of the working caregiver generation. They will face situations our parents did not.

Two years ago, I was diagnosed with a vision challenge that to date has no cure and am considered legally blind. To date I remain independent and able to assist others outside of the home. However, planning for the future, I had adjusted how to assist others by offering on-line support 24/7 anywhere in the United States.

The key is to face reality and make changes before needing to. I refuse to give up my passion to make life easier for the working caregiver and praise their efforts. My first step was to write a book [CALMING THE CHAOS: Life Raft for the Working Caregiver] to be used as a tool only. It talks about all the information you will learn during this interview in an easy to read, large print guide. Once a caregiver understands what services to look for and why, the next step is finding a professional caregiver.