Working in senior care abroad has become a popular choice for many Poles looking for professional stability and attractive salaries. Germany, as our western neighbor, offers not only competitive salaries but also the comfort of cooperation in a culturally similar environment. In this article, we will take a closer look at job offers, for our compatriots, in care in Germany. We’ll discuss the benefits, requirements, and key aspects to consider before deciding to leave.
According to the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden, there are almost 2 million people of Polish origin living in Germany. These are both people who emigrated to this country and settled there permanently, as well as people whose ancestors came from Poland, so the level of their use of the Polish language may vary.
Reasons for choosing a Polish family in Germany by caregivers
Polish caregivers for the elderly in Germany have a choice as to who they would like to take care of. Care jobs in Germany are for caring for seniors of both Polish and German origin. When making this decision, it is worth considering the pros and cons so that you can happily fulfill your duties after starting cooperation. When thinking about the reasons why caregivers decide to work in care for a Polish family in Germany, opportunities and threats come to the fore. Caring for a Polish family is an opportunity to learn German in practice. A Polish senior living in Germany can undoubtedly speak German at least at a basic level. In such a situation, the Polish caregiver can slowly learn new phrases and learn the language in practice, without fear that he or she will not be able to communicate with the mentee, because initially, the language of their communication may be their mother tongue (in this case, Polish). In addition, the caregiver in this model of care has the opportunity to immerse themselves in Western culture, which is undoubtedly a valuable experience for later years of work. On the other hand, the initial lack of proficiency in German may pose a threat, which may lead to difficulties in communicating with the family and with other people while performing the duties of a caregiver. Difficulties in communication in emergencies can be particularly acute. Thus, working as a caregiver in a Polish family in Germany provides many opportunities to gain experience for later years of work, but at certain times it can also cause problems that the caregiver will have to face.
Knowledge of the German language and fear of the language barrier
Language is the primary means of communication, and for a caregiver working in Germany, it is a key element of her work. The optimistic variant assumes that the mentee and perhaps the whole family communicate fluently in Polish, which is conducive to fruitful cooperation.
However, there may be a less fortunate situation where the mentee, despite understanding the Polish language, prefers to communicate in German, and the family is less available for a caregiver to a Polish family in Germany. In such a situation, establishing cooperation with a senior may prove difficult, and in some cases impossible. This is because the duties of a caregiver for the elderly are related to the need to communicate with the person in care.
Waiting for more psychological comfort
When deciding to work in care abroad, many caregivers feel stressed and insecure. Lack of proficiency in caring duties, distance from family and friends, as well as adaptation to a new place – all this is a challenge. In this context, working for a Polish family in Germany can be seen as a “gentler” alternative. This gives you the chance to get to know the culture of the German-speaking country and the surrounding area. In addition, it is a great opportunity to gain experience and confidence in caring for seniors.
Limitations and disadvantages of working in a Polish family
Choosing a job as a caregiver for the elderly in Germany may seem tempting, especially if you have Polish roots. However, this job offer, like any other, has its drawbacks and limitations that you should be aware of before making a decision.
A small number of caregiver jobs
Despite having high qualifications and experience in caregiving, it is not always easy to find a job in elderly care in Germany, in a Polish family. Care agencies are often not able to send caregivers to a Polish family right away, as this type of job offers in care in Germany are relatively rare. In such a case, it is worth considering two options: expanding the search to include other agencies for caregivers for the elderly or considering working with a German family that does not have Polish roots.
Difficulties in communicating with the senior’s German-speaking family
Although the family’s Polish origins may seem to facilitate communication at first, in practice it often turns out to be misleading. It happens that the mentee, despite his or her Polish roots, does not speak Polish fluently. They may find it difficult to express their thoughts precisely, which in turn will lead to misunderstandings and frustration on both sides.
Senile dementia – seniors forget words in Polish
One of the biggest challenges for caregivers is the fact that they do not have the opportunity to get to know the person they care for before they arrive. It may turn out that the person in need of care, despite previous information, uses Polish to a limited extent. Even if the agency confirms the senior’s language proficiency, this information may be outdated, e.g. from a year ago. Within a few months, the health of a senior, especially one suffering from dementia, can deteriorate significantly. As a result, seniors may forget words in Polish, speak indistinctly, or lose the desire to communicate in this language altogether.
Take care of your safety
When you start working with a Polish family abroad, you must be sure that your employment is legal. Working as a caregiver in Germany illegally is not only a crime but also a risk of being punished for illegal practices. Make sure that your tenancy is based on a contract that guarantees health insurance, pick-up at a designated location, and payment of wages on agreed dates. Always keep the contact details of the Care Agency or the families you work with so that you can get help quickly if you have a problem.
Advantages of working with a Polish family in Germany
When you choose your first job as a caregiver for the elderly in Germany, in a Polish family, you are faced with a unique opportunity. This is the perfect opportunity to learn German. Instead of waiting to leave, start learning right away. Getting to know the culture and customs of Germany, gaining experience in caring for seniors, and obtaining the first references are key elements that can be a solid springboard for future, more interesting orders. As a result, it allows for a wider choice of offers and may increase the earnings of a caregiver for the elderly.
Relations between a Polish caregiver and a Polish family in Germany
Building relationships with strangers is always a challenge. In a situation where there is a conflict, a caregiver for an elderly person in Germany who does not speak German may feel uncomfortable. To be able to successfully establish and nurture relationships with newly met people, it is worth ensuring that there is no communication barrier. This can be done by taking language courses, taking private lessons, or learning on your own.
Career prospects and the choice of a German vs. Polish family
Thousands of people from Eastern Europe find employment in the care sector. Regardless of whether you choose to work in a German, Polish, or French family, you must be able to take care of yourself. First of all, you should be able to set your boundaries and be assertive. Doing something against your principles and beliefs always has negative consequences. What’s more, it is worth taking care of a precisely written contract to be sure that we have legal employment in the German labor market.
Less attractive career prospects when choosing a Polish family
Although working in a Polish family may initially seem like the best choice in Germany, it is often associated with lower wages. Such an assignment is suitable for a start or if you are planning a short stay abroad as a caregiver.
Working conditions and respect for the work of a caregiver
Caregivers for the elderly play a crucial role in the lives of seniors and their families. Working as a caregiver in Germany requires not only skill but also respect. Lack of proficiency in German can make the babysitter dependent on the family, which can be exploited by dishonest people.
Benefits of learning German and practicing in a German family
For many caregivers, starting to work in a Polish family is only the first step. After such an experience, they decide to develop further in German families, where the job offer is much wider. The final decision depends on your ambitions and career plans.
Support for caregivers planning to work in Germany
Care agencies are like a magnet for talents in the recruitment process – they carefully analyze and recognize candidates’ predispositions. Job offers indeed go to those who are ideally suited to work in care. Sometimes even the brightest people need support. A common practice is to direct candidates for their first assignment to a Polish family in Germany. This allows them to develop their competencies and learn German in practice during their daily work with seniors. And what about emergencies? No worries. Most care agencies equip their caregivers with emergency numbers that can be called at any time of the day or night.
First trip to Germany without knowledge of German
Starting a care job with a family that comes from the country of the caregiver can be a game-changer in your career. Such a way of starting a career not only increases the attractiveness of the caregiver on the labor market but also gives invaluable experience and a sense of security.
Training and tools for caregivers
The best Care Agencies not only recruit but also invest in the development of their employees. To support caregivers, they offer German language courses, first aid training, or courses for caregivers for the elderly. And what do they do for those who are already working? Well, they are also given proper support and help in their further development. For example, this is done by providing educational materials on bedsore care or how to creatively organize seniors’ free time.
Summary: Is it worth working for a Polish family in Germany?
Working in a Polish family in Germany or Austria can be a real opportunity. As in any profession, you need to focus on certainty and safety. So how do you check the honesty of the family? The best indicator is the family’s long-term cooperation with the Care Agency. If the family is new to the database, it is worth approaching the topic of cooperation with more caution and checking it carefully.
The Importance of Language Proficiency for a Long-Term Career
Are you planning a career in senior care? Maybe you are looking for a job in care in Germany? If so, invest in learning German. Knowledge of the language does not only mean higher earnings as a caregiver for the elderly. It is also about freedom of choice, the ability to take care of yourself and minimize the stress of being in a foreign country. Knowledge of the German language opens the door to endless possibilities in the care industry.