As medical advances allow people to live longer, the need for people to work with the elderly has increased. Perusing a job as a healthcare professional such as a nurse, physicians, gerontologist or occupation therapist is very beneficial and high demanding. Most people who choose to work with the elderly population have had some sort of closeness with an elderly while growing up that influences them to work with the elderly population.
In this field experienced, two participants were interviewed, both female one works as a Pharmacist and the other a Certified Nursing Assistant. The Pharmacist goes by the name of Tammi Blackwood from Macon GA who works at CVS, and other participant goes by the name Hyercin Harris from Marietta GA, who works with Comfort Keepers. Both Tammi and Hyercin jobs involved some interaction with the elderly. The data was collected through an interview process. The interview was very easy since I am close to both of the individuals. The participants were asked a very easy question regarding working with the elderly via phone conversation. The participants were not compensated for doing this interview nor pressured in any way when answering the questions. There were 8 questions job-related questions. I asked both individuals some similar question and two questions that were different during a separate interview. The first person I interviewed was Tammi since I know him personally I knew his answers were without bias. I was able to ask him 8 questions without interruption while taking appropriate notes. The second person I interviewed was Hyercin. Unlike Tammi, who I relate to a lot because we both went to the same church during my time living in Macon, Hyercin and I share a work-related friendship. Some of the questions I asked Tammi was different from the questions which I asked Hyercin. The ladies were very honest when answering the questions.
Out of 15 questions asked each of the ladies 8 questions. I did not ask each of the ladies the same question is asked in order:
1. When did you decide to become work in your current job?
2. What is a typical day working in your current job is like?
3. What do you find rewarding about working with the elderly?
4. What are the opportunities for advancement when working in your field?
5. What are the challenges you encounter on a daily basis?
6. Since older people are living longer what new resources do you think is needed help today’s older age group?
7. Do you think the number of people being diagnosed with dementia has increased over the years? Give a reason why.
8. What are the concerns of the family member when you meet them for the first in deciding whether a facility is the best place for their loved ones?
9. Do you think it is better for a patient to be cared for when placed in a facility or at home with the family?
10. I understand the facility do both assisted living and residential after a patient health has decline and place on hospice advice the family to place them in a nursing home or do they stay here until they have passed on?
11. What are the challenges you encounter when hiring qualified staff to care for the elderly?
12. Do you experience a high rate of turnovers?
13. What procedure do you have in place if a family member complains a staff?
14. What do you see yourself ten years from now?
15. What advice would you give to a young person who is interested in working with the elderly?
From what I gathered both individuals gave a different view as to why they decided to work with the elderly population. Tammi story was similar to many she says the main reason she decided to work as a pharmacist was to help find a cure for her late mother who was battling Lupus during that time. Tammi says a typical day at work as a pharmacist in a retail store is always hectic. She does counseling, phone calls; utilizing medication basically she has to multitask. The 3rd question I asked Tammi was what she finds so rewarding about working with the elderly. She says working with the elderly population is a great opportunity. The elderly are less demanding when it comes to their meds because they already know what they want. Although they require more time and counseling they are more appreciative. Most of them are on a fixed income so sometimes they asked questions about sharing their friend medication which is not a good idea.
Some of the barriers she says she encounters with the elderly is communication issues because of problems with lack of hearing also ethnic and lack of education. I asked when she encounters a person with language barrier do they have a translator to explain to the client. She says they have no counselor but she often called a friend from another branch who speak fluent Spanish to translate when she come across certain Spanish clients. Tammi mentions a lot of cool resources that can help the older population since they are living longer such as building exercise centers that cater to the elderly, providing community education for the elderly, counseling the elderly population about healthy dieting and encouraging more family support. Hyercin was not interested in working with the elderly at first but while working as a janitor at an assistant facility she became interested in becoming CNA because she saw the need of care for the elderly. I asked both ladies what is a typical day like at work interacting with the elderly. Hyercin works mostly with a residential patient she gets to interact closely with her patient. She says that sometimes when she gets to work the patient sometimes acts mean depending on their moods.
As a CNA sometimes you have to know how to handle a certain situation without it becoming worst. Hyercin says a typical day at work often depends on the patient mood. The patient has ups and downs. At the time you have to basically give the patient space to vent out before taking care of their needs. Which leads me to ask her what advice would she give to a young person who is interested in working with the elderly population? She says a young person who is willing to working with the elderly should be able to handle psychological and physical situations.
The job does not come with a pamphlet that explains everything situation sometimes you have to use your intuition and do what is right when a certain situation arises. You require being observant and making mature decisions. Both ladies agree that dementia has increased over the years and patients suffering from the illness are better cared for at home with family and friends instead of a nursing home. The patient should who live in an environment where they feel loved and comfortable usually copes better than those who live in a facility or nursing homes.
Pharmacist plays a big role in managing medication for the elderly. Due to the elderly living longer more drugs are being prescribed and having multiples drugs can be confusing for both patient and caregiver. A pharmacist can prevent some of the related problems that the elderly patient encounters. Tammi works at CVS where she interacts with many different clients but she says she loved working with the elderly population the most because they give the trouble and often times them already knows what they want. Tammi works at the Pharmacy in CVS where she prescribes medication to a patient on a daily basis via drive-through and in-store pickups. She has worked with CVS for more than 17 years as a pharmacist.
Hyercin works as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). I typical day working as a CNA at a residential home entails assistant with bathing, light housekeeping, cooking, an assistant with medication and lots more depending on the patient situations. Some jobs involve lifting and running errands etc. Some patients need 24 hours care and some just need supervision depending on their illness. I met Hyercin while working on a residential case in Marietta. The patient required a little assistant and was a very kind patient. She often works night shift but sometimes does day shift. The fun part of working with the agency remains you get to pick a shift that fits your schedule.
I have not worked as a pharmacist but worked as a junior clerk several years ago at a pharmacy where I did help with delivery of medication and help with customer services. Although being a pharmacist is not one of my interests, I admire how dedicated some pharmacist has towards their patient. I have had many years working a home health aide with several agencies so I know what it is like working as a certified nursing assistant. I feel the elderly population is one of the most neglected people and since the old are living longer there should be more resources directed toward the older population. Working with the elderly population can be fun but just like any other jobs, it takes time patient and passion.
Robert, R., & Mosher-Ashley, P. M. (2000). FACTORS INFLUENCING COLLEGE STUDENTS TO CHOOSE CAREERS WORKING WITH ELDERLY PERSONS.Educational Gerontology, 26(8), 725-736. doi:10.1080/036012700300001386