The UK’s ageing population is constantly in the headlines. We’re all living longer, mostly due to medical advances which keep us healthy. Government statistics estimate that by 2041, there will be 20.4 million people over the age of 65 in the UK. That’s over a quarter of the total population. Although many older people live independent lives, some need a bit of additional help with everyday tasks. That’s where the adult care industry comes in. There is an army of workers looking after older people, and if you’re thinking of joining them, here’s everything you need to know about the adult care industry.
Types of adult care jobs
The jobs which immediately spring to mind when talking about adult care are nursing jobs. It’s certainly true that many more nurses than previously are working in hospital geriatric wards or in care homes. But that’s just part of the picture. There are lots of other types of people working in similar fields. Care home staff may or may not be qualified nurses, and take on all the day to day care for their residents. This could include dispensing medication and helping them get dressed, but also involves leading activities, cooking or cleaning. Most older people aren’t in homes though, and are looked after in their own homes.
The type of care will depend on their needs. Many have people going in once or twice a day to help with getting them up, or back to bed in the evening. Others have more practical help with cooking or running errands like going to the bank. The range of roles is as varied as the types of people who need just a little bit extra assistance to live life to the full.
If you’re interested in nursing, then you’ll have to study general adult nursing at college or university and then make the move into care work after you have qualified. If you are interested in other types of roles, then you may be able to apply for roles without any formal qualifications. Look at local recruitment websites or the NHS jobs site to see what is available. Most agencies will provide full training to new staff.
Qualifications and Training
As a bare minimum, you’ll need basic qualifications in English and Maths. if you have experience working in the care sector or nationally recognised qualifications, this should make finding work easier. Everyone working in these roles will also need to apply for an enhanced DBS check. These are the police checks which used to be called Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) checks. You might not be able to start work before you receive your DBS certificate, so apply for one as soon as you can.
The one negative of this type of work is that is it notoriously low paid. Starting salaries for carers are general national minimum wage. However, remember that this sector is booming. The ageing population guarantees this type of work isn’t going to disappear. It also provides the opportunity for great carers to move into supervisory or management positions as their careers progress.