They decided to travel abroad and care for the elderly in their homes. What does a day look like for carers, how much time off do they have and after what time do they go back home? We bring you useful information about this work in our latest blog.
Carers can earn a good income, learn the language and gain experience. In the previous blog you could read who this job is suitable for, today we take a closer look at what a caregivers’ day looks like and what they do during their free time.
Where and for how long
The Atena recruitment agency sends its caregivers to Austria, Germany, Switzerland, England and the Netherlands, and in each country the clients are used to different tours. While carers in Austria work for two to three weeks, they travel to Germany and the Netherlands for longer periods of time. They stay with the senior from one to three months. England is flexible in this respect, and a carer can work for shorter or longer tours.
Daily programme and free time
The caregiver is the person with whom the senior begins and ends his or her day, which is why this job is defined as 24-hour care. “The caregiver and the senior have breakfast and tea together, watch TV or go for a walk,” describes Michaela Šarníková from the Atena recruitment agency. They play games, sip coffee, but also exercise if the senior’s health requires it. “A caregiver could thus be defined as a health helper and companion in one,” says the HR manager.
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How much free time a carer will have depends on the individual family. Some seniors go to a day centre during the day and it is during this time that the caregiver takes time for themselves. Some seniors have their families come for the day or take them into their homes, in which case the caregiver is free all day. Alongside their work, the caregivers also manage to get to know the country that has become their temporary home. Some go on trips and shopping, others prefer to relax at home.
What experience do they have
Agata, who is looking after an elderly lady in the Netherlands, has free time from Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm, for example. “The lady spends this time at the senior centre so I can cook, do laundry, go shopping or go on a trip to Amsterdam,” she says. Catherine has agreed with her family that she will have 14 hours off during the week. “They already had a routine like that and it suited me. And what do I do when I have time off? I go to the shops or take a walk in the park.” Mariana has five hours to herself every day and, as she enjoys manual work, she mostly spends her free time at home. “I knit, make jewellery, talk to my family or read books. At first they offered me a day off, but I was better suited this way. We had no problem agreeing because the family is very supportive,” she describes.
Help at the start and on the phone
Becoming a carer is often a challenge for those people who want to earn extra money. The Agency is a strong partner that can support them financially in the beginning. “For example, if someone doesn’t have the money to travel abroad, we will pay for it,” describes Michaela Šarníková, manager of Athena. “We will buy him a ticket, negotiate the terms and conditions, prepare an employment contract. In addition, any caregiver can contact us by phone and contact us with any problem.”
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The agency does not charge for these services; it does them for its employees as part of their employment contract. The only exception is Austria, where nannies work on an Austrian trade licence and so their employer is not an agency. “In other countries, caregivers have an employment contract with us, so we fulfil all the employer’s obligations, including paying the fees to the health and social insurance,” adds Michaela Šarníková from Atena.