i happened upon elder care by accident.
it is part of my nature. i am VERY good at it (i call it my talent, you can sing or play instruments, i can take care of elders). i was the child that was visiting all the older relatives and staying in touch.
i have never been in a residential care unit.
however here is my experience. like any jobs it has its positives adn negatives. yes absolutely rewarding which for me is more important than money.
however there are VERY dark aspects to it too. i have had relationships ruined by elders who live alone, have dementia and suddenly change their mind about looking at you as an enemy than the friend you were. i have had v. v. hard times where i could not continue any more. it was emotionally devastating to me to have to watch someone get worse because suddenly in their eyes i turned into a devil AND they chose to live alone and since then have gotten worse.
which is why i love hospice work. most of the people i work with are sooo grateful for all teh help they get. yes of course i have to deal with other emotional issues where the family members are having a hard time watching their loved one decline. i have had to sometimes play a go between and point out when one was being a curmudgeon and request them to apologize to teh other person.
how were you with your child when they were 3 years old or really explosive children. would you be exhausted and frustrated by the terrible threes and yet understand and not let it get to you? well that's pretty much eldercare.
its one of the jobs where you work to please yourself. you do the best that you can even though your best is too good for other family members.
i would say try it out with a few families. i dont know what institutional care looks like. i think its a little more safe from private party or even agency care - safe emotionally i mean.
i would not invest in this profession. i would try it out for a year or two (if that) to see if it really is your calling or not and then fully invest in it.
it makes a HUGE difference - and everybody sees it - when you are just doing the job or you really care about the people.