Getting your CNA could open up many doors for you. Alot of people are recommending home health--in many cases, you would still need certification (as a CNA, Patient Care Tech, etc. and in CPR/First Aid) to go that route as well. You can do more than just typical Nursing Home work with a CNA. Depending on where you live, there are many hospital jobs for CNAs (usually for those with experience where I live--in the South-- however, a friend of mine got hired as a hospital CNA right out of training with no previous experience, up North. Depends on the situation and where you live). The hospital jobs, are usually much less demanding as far as lifting/moving patients, etc. (from what I've heard from people who have this experience).
I have my CNA license and currently have two offers--home health and Assisted Living. Home health usually pays more for less work, so it is a win win. However, if you later want to move up the career ladder, you will find it very difficult to land a job in some hospitals/facilities without experience. Many hospitals in my area do not accept home health as valid experience to work in their facilities (it sucks, I know!) Assisted Living, Rehabilitation Centers, and Retirement homes are usually much less work. Many of my class mates in my CNA class were working these types of jobs, and they simply reminded patients to take medications, cleaned, and served them food, washed their clothes, etc. They did no lifting or "butt cleaning" as other members so eloquently put it =). I am in Nursing school
, so I am using this as an opportunity to gain experience in the field.
In my CNA class, there was a good mix of people. At 22, I was the youngest! The two ladies that sat next to me were 40 and 60 years old. Both with children and one with Grandchildren. The ladies that sat behind me were two women in their late twenties, married with children, and a 50 year old with a husband, grown children, and grandchildren. The other two students were 27 and about 55, so everyone in my class was pushing 30 or middle-aged! Do not feel weird for wanting to make a career change. It is never too late. My mother is in her forties and about to join me in Nursing school. Do what is right for you, and do not allow others to dictate your life (I know you don't need to be told this by a 22 year old, but it helps to know you're not alone!) Just do your research and understand the challenges you will be facing. We are here for you in the allnurses community if you need us! Good luck! =D