The numbers don’t lie—the United States has a rapidly aging population, and with that rapidly aging population comes a new set of responsibilities in the workforce. As more people are getting older and living longer, many Americans require a degree of assistance in their golden years. This shift has opened new opportunities in caregiving. While the work can be daunting at times, the benefits of becoming a caregiver make it a worthwhile career for many people searching for purpose.
Sense of Purpose
We’re all searching for work that has meaning. It’s no surprise that one of the most common adjectives preceding “work” or “job” is “soul-crushing.” Much labor, when we can find it, is depersonalizing, draining, and gives its workers the feeling that the task at hand is ultimately irrelevant. Make no mistake—caregiving isn’t easy. In exchange for the hard work, however, you’ll find a job that is spiritually rewarding, which can keep you going through the more challenging days.
You can’t be a caregiver and be disconnected from other people. As you’re certainly aware, we are living through increasingly isolated and lonely times. If the alienation of the pandemic combined with people’s ever-encroaching screen time has left you crying out for real connections, you’ll enjoy working as a caretaker. In this career, you can make strong connections with your client and their family and friends. Your colleagues in the field will also be there to share the unique highs and lows of the job, giving you the support system you need to thrive.
This seems counterintuitive at first glance. Caregiving, being challenging labor, seems like it would take its toll on your body long before it pays any dividends. On the contrary, recent research seems to show that the process of caregiving has positive effects on health and mortality. The physical aspect of caregiving can be good exercise that a sedentary job would not provide, while the mental side of the job can keep your mind sharper for longer.
It’s okay to balance internal motivations with external ones now and then. Among the benefits of becoming a caregiver is a distinct tax benefit—if you receive difficulty of care payments from the government to ease the burden of caregiving, you may be able to make additional non-deductible contributions to your IRA based on these payments. Previously, difficulty of care payments did not count as income, but new legislation has allowed caregivers to make larger IRA contributions based on these payments, meaning more money has a chance to grow toward retirement.