Caregiving is often referred to as the invisible profession. This is mainly due to the lack of knowledge people have about the profession and its very private nature. Caregiving as a profession is still often not considered a “real” profession, even though it’s possibly one of the most socially beneficial and essential jobs someone can do.
In a recent interview with Forbes magazine, Ai-Jen Poo, who leads Caring Across Generations, stated that “for generations, our default caregiving infrastructure was essentially women staying home”. This seems to be very much the current feeling around caregiving, that it’s not a real profession because it’s the responsibility of someone else, but in the modern era of full-time employment, shift work and rising costs of living, we are less and less able to care for our loved ones as they get older. Caregiving is now at a crossroads, with the challenge to meet the demands of a rapidly growing population being the ultimate hurdle to get over. Ai-Jen Poo believes that radical change is needed in the USA to achieve this, with “access to the support structures and systems that allow for us to take care of our families while we work” is the ultimate goal.
A large part of this goal will be the role that adult day care and home care plays in helping elderly and less actively mobile people get the care they need, and when and where they need it. To meet the future demand, a change in the perception of caregiving as a profession is likely to be needed, so it can become a truly inspirational career option that’s is no longer seen as a stop gap. While the industry already has great quality carers, more will need to be done to meet future demand in this way, and bring the invisible profession into plain view!