A new training academy has opened in Durango to help meet the need for caregivers who can work with the elderly and disabled.
Caregiver Learning Academy was started to bring new caregivers into the field because there is a shortage of them, and the need for them is expected to grow as baby boomers age, said Erin Youngblood, the academy’s administrator.
“There are a lot of caregiver positions available, however, there is a high burnout rate, especially if you aren’t trained correctly and you don’t have the support that’s needed. So the academy helps people be ready,” Youngblood said.
The academy was started last year by the owners of Comfort Keepers, a Durango in-home care company. It has graduated six students.
Caregivers may work for in-home care agencies and assisted-living facilities. They perform all kinds of non-medical services, such as giving baths, preparing meals, ensuring clients are taking medication, setting up appointments and providing transportation, among other tasks, she said.
It is tough but rewarding work that requires compassion, she said.
“It starts with a true desire to help,” Youngblood said.
The training prepares caregivers for physical tasks, such as transferring clients in and out of wheelchairs and in and out of bed. The academy also covers how to work with patients who have more challenging conditions, such as dementia, she said.
Certification is not required to apply to be a caregiver in Colorado. Caregivers typically earn between $12 and $16 an hour, she said.
The training is also open to caregivers who are caring for a family member in a non-professional setting.
“When you are taking care of someone, it can be scary if you don’t know what you’re doing,” she said.
The academy provides 20 hours of online training and about 14 hours of classroom training with a registered nurse and a certified nursing assistant.
Courses are currently free through a grant provided through the American Association of University Women. Without the grant, the training costs about $250 per student.
The academy requires a $50 refundable deposit for materials.
Youngblood plans to start a class in March. As the academy develops over time, she plans to offer courses quarterly.
For more information, call 335-8885 or visit caregiverlearningacademy.com.