Serving others, giving back, and offering compassionate empathy in unexpected and occasionally overwhelming circumstances—this is the role of a caregiver. You may have found yourself on this particular path for any number of reasons. Perhaps you started caregiving for an aging parent after they had a bad fall. Or maybe you have always had a devotion to helping others.
However you got started, caregiving is one of the most important jobs you’ll ever have—and one that can be both deeply rewarding as well as challenging. Caregiving is an ever-changing field, and there is always room to learn more and improve your skills as a caregiver. Participating in workshops and training programs can help you to gain confidence, offer more to the aging adult you work with, and bring enthusiasm back into your routine.
The Benefits of Continuing Education for Caregivers
Whether you’re a professional caregiver or a family member looking after an aging loved one, there are multiple benefits that can come from pursuing continuing education and training in caregiving.
- Offering your loved one the best care possible through improved skills
- Acquiring expertise and experience in a new field
- Becoming eligible for more advanced career opportunities
- Meeting, and receiving support from other caregivers
- Gaining confidence and enthusiasm for your role as a caregiver
- Expanding your professional network
Courses for Bay Area Caregivers
Happily, San Francisco provides local caregivers with a wealth of educational resources to fit most people’s interests, availability, and budgets.
Elder Abuse Awareness
Elder abuse is an important issue that concerns all caregivers working with older adults. We here at Institute on Aging are particularly passionate about bringing awareness to this growing concern. We offer programs and presentations to help caregivers learn how to identify elder abuse, report it, and prevent older adults from being exploited. Check our calendar to find out if any events are coming up, or call 415-750-4111 for more information on future trainings.
Programs like essentiALZ are well-suited for both professional caregivers and family members of older adults living with dementia. They offer paid online courses for dementia care and advanced caregiving, as well as some free e-learning courses to enhance your basic skills. These programs are perfect for caregivers who don’t have time to attend a course outside their home, but want to be able to learn during their free time.
Meanwhile, the Alzheimer’s Association has a book called “Caregiver Notebook.” This handy guide gives caregivers of all levels a chance to read other caregivers’ stories. A book like this can be useful to have as a reference to glance at during the tough times. They also have a DVD series called the Savvy Caregiver, which is made for families and caregivers alike to learn about caring for a loved one with dementia at home.
Local non-profit Openhouse offers training programs for caregivers and family members of LGBT older adults that explore issues pertaining to this at-risk community. These topics include how to tackle the challenges surrounding access to proper healthcare, best practices for serving the LGBT aging community, and raising awareness about obstacles that LGBT older adults face on a daily basis.
If your aging loved one is grappling with psychological issues, Institute on Aging houses an award-winning program in Geropsychology. This program—which has been recognized for its innovation in education and training—allows high-level students to participate in a practicum for home-based psychotherapy, provide support to IOA’s Friendship Line, and engage in other psychology-related services.
Caregiver Certification Training
This 10-hour online course will teach you the basics, as well as some advanced knowledge, of what you need to know to begin a career as a caregiver. It’s offered by Caregiver Training University, in accordance with the caregiver training requirements for California state. While beneficial for families caring for aging loved ones, this training may be especially helpful if you’re looking for a job as a caregiver—the course will boost your understanding of the field, improve your confidence, and help you know what to expect in your new career.
General Caregiver Training
There are numerous organizations that offer training programs to all levels of caregivers, whether you’re a family member, a professional caregiver, or a home-aid worker. For instance, local non-profit Homebridge offers an intensive 12-day caregiver course, in addition to continuing education courses and other training programs.
Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA)
Training as a Certified Nurse Assistant can help caregivers really improve their health care skills, as well as qualify them for a wider variety of caregiving jobs. This is a significant commitment—in terms of both time and money—but it will give you the necessary training to really excel at caregiving and move forward with it as a career. In San Francisco, two highly respected training programs are available through City College of San Francisco and Providence. City College of San Francisco may be particularly appealing for caregivers look for an intense, short-term program.
Continuing education can be just as valuable for family members as it is for professional caregivers. Whether you choose to enroll in a local training program, participate in an online course, or attend a weekend workshop, pursuing further education in caregiving can support you in becoming a better caregiver. No matter what your level of experience is, there are programs available to help develop your next set of skills—and help you to more deeply connect with your aging loved one.
If you’re unsure how to better assist your aging loved one, Institute on Aging can help with our variety of services and programs in San Francisco or free online resources. Contact us today to learn more.