Professional Caregiving: Expanding Your World
By Pamela D Wilson CSA, CG, MS, BS/BA
The goals of The Caring Generation website for professionals are to:
- Raise the level of professionalism in the caregiving industry through education
- Promote collaboration among professional caregivers through The Caregiving Collaborative
- Educate and raise awareness and sensitivity to issues faced by family caregivers
I hear from many care communities and care agencies that their care staff is “computer illiterate.” Many individuals who use the Internet on a regular basis fail to understand the benefits of going digital to increase their professional presence, personal knowledge and social networks. With smart phones, I-pads, electronic readers and access to computers at the library, having access to the benefits of technology has become easier. One not need own a computer to use a computer.
Just as many of our elderly clients become isolated and lonely with age and time, so will we who care for these older adults if we fail to embrace good habits of building social networks and using electronic communication tools to avoid our worlds from becoming smaller with age.
Many of our older clients are socially and emotionally lonely because of widowhood, loss of friends and physical or mental declines. For older adults there is a difference between knowing, wanting and being able to build social networks that is less a factor for those of us who are active and still working. What might you do each week, if only for 30 minutes, to build your professional presence, personal knowledge and social networks and to support your residents and patients in doing the same?
You may or may not be aware that a Linked in profile is a requirement to fully access all of the articles, podcasts and videos on The Caring Generation website. Isn’t it interesting that building a professional presence opens doors to FREE information and education?
Having a Linked In profile allows you to connect with other professionals in your industry, to research information and to obtain introductions to others you might like to meet. Building your connections also allows you to have a network of “go to” people when you need information or have a question.
For example you work at a hospital and wonder who the admissions person is at ABC nursing home. I suspect that if you posted that question to your network you would receive a quick response. Another example might be looking for a resource providing a specific type of service or product. Posing the question to your network would likely provide a range of responses and is a great time-saver as compared to searching the internet and making 20 phone calls to people or businesses you do not know.
Joining Facebook offers similar benefits but on a personal level. Most Facebook users are able to locate high school and college friends and to easily stay in touch with friends and family. Due to the time constraints of keeping in touch with family and friends, Facebook is quick way to update others on your activities and personal interests.
That being said, remember that what is posted on the Internet remains forever. Take care not to post photographs, personal opinions and posts that you would not wish to appear on the front page of the newspaper with your name as the author. Unlike what “happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”, information you post on the internet may be damaging years down the road when an employer or other party is investigating your background. That photo of the tattoo you posted on your backside may not be viewed positively by others.
If your caregiving expertise falls into a certain category, for example, nursing, assisted living, home care or financial management consider joining an online professional association. Most, if not all, professional associations have extensive websites offering continuing education, and the ability to connect with their members who may also serve as advisors when you are seeking information.
The Internet offers unlimited access to expand your world. Spending 30 minutes a week to advance your professional presence, to become more educated and to expand your world has significant benefits. If you are reading this you have a network ready and waiting to meet you. Start today by building a LinkedIn profile so that you might immediately access the articles, podcasts and videos on The Caring Generation website – then send me an “invitation to Link”.
Teach your family members and your parents what you learn so that when your parent age — or if they are already retired — they might lessen the effects of social and emotional isolation by accessing the infinite, ever growing world of electronic communication and the Internet.
If you work in a care community and see residents who are isolated, share your computer and internet talents with them so that they may become more connected. By expanding your learning and your talents you are able to share with others and in doing so, build your network that will be valuable years down the road when you become one of the older adults that today you serve..
© 2019 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved.
©2014 Pamela D. Wilson, All Rights Reserved.