As an agency owner, I often get asked, usually in frustration from family members, “Ross, why is ‘Susan’ no longer working here? She was great, and now she’s gone. What are you doing that’s making it so people don't stick around?”
My response is somewhat noteworthy, but probably not terribly unique.
“Care giving is not typically a “career”.
Meaning… Care-giving as an occupation is one of the lowest paid jobs. Our wages are set by reimbursing government agencies. In our case, we have to lobby the state legislature for wage increases.
We compete with fast food workers, convenience store clerks, grocery store baggers, etc. The fact is, basic laborers make higher wages than care giving.
Care-giving has become a job that you take while you’re looking for and/or waiting for another opportunity to come along.
In our agency, many of our new hires drop off within the first few months. Many times during the training process when they realize how much work caring for others really is.
We find that if a caregiver lasts for at least 1 year, then they will typically stay with us for the next 3-5 years. If they last more than 5 years, then statistically we retain them for 7-10 years. Thus becoming what we affectionately call “life-ers”.
Most of those who make it past the 1 year mark are truly doing it out of love for the work.
During exit interviews we ask our care givers why they’re leaving. The response is usually, “I found a better job that pays me more and allows me to better support my needs and/or the needs of my family.”
We understandingly wish them well in their new job and often times let them know that the door is always open if they need to or decide to come back. As a more established agency, we have had many come back over the years as their life situations change.
I started Brighton Support Foundation for the purpose of keeping people in the field of care giving. To support professional caregivers, and those individuals and families that find themselves in a position to care for family members both old and young.
We’re excited to do this through the following…
1. Negotiating discounts and special offers from area business exclusively for caregivers. A way for people to say “thank-you”, and for caregivers to stretch their personal budgets even further.
2. Brighton Support Foundation leadership institute. A 3-day extensive training on the most important things that make caregivers promote-able within their companies. Teamwork, delegation, leadership and accountability.
3. Specialty training and continuing education on topics like Autism, and best behavioral practices.
4. Scholarships for specialty training, continuing college coursework, and for family members of disabled individuals.
5. Giving out little perks and gifts to say thank you and encourage caregivers to continue doing what they do. Cards, notes, pins, gift cards, prizes, and awards.
While some of these things are small ways to say “thank you”, we’re hopeful that the money savings on goods and services, along with donation money for scholarships, and leadership institute will be tremendously impactful in the lives of the caregiver and will help to make care-giving, a career to not only be proud of but also one that is sustainable for them and their families.
To do this, we need your help. No matter who you are, at some point in your lives, you will be, or have been affected by a caregiver.
Help me make care-giving an even better choice of career for the great people who love to care by donating today!
Every dollar counts.