Home Health Aides

Care for Seniors
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Many families of seniors and the elderly notice their loved one is having trouble living at home alone. When an elderly or senior relative begins to need help to get through the day, the family has a tough choice to make. Do they wish to place their loved one in a facility such as assisted living or continuing care? Do they wish to become home caregivers? For families unable to provide the help needed due to time constraints, hiring a home health aide is the right decision.

What is a Home Health Aide?  Home healthcare aides go by many names, including:

  • Homemaker aides
  • Personal attendants
  • Home attendants

Many have training and certification in light medical care and are called:

  • Certified Nurses Aides, CNA
  • Certified Medical Aide, CMA
  • Certified Nursing Assistant, CNA
  • Home Health Provider
  • Home Care Giver
  • Habilitation Training Specialist
Senior Citizen with her Home Health Aide
These aides provide personal care, generally within the home of the elderly and disabled.
They help seniors who are having trouble with day-to-day grooming tasks, such as dressing or eating.

They may also work with senior citizens who have mobility issues or struggle with early-onset dementia or Alzheimer's.
Other duties performed include:

  • Maintaining patient care records and carefully noting the condition and progress of the patient. They must report any problems to a direct supervisor or case manager.
  • Providing patients with help moving in and out of beds. They are usually asked to help patients with their baths and with dressing and personal hygiene.
  • Assisting with their personal care, including changing bed linens and doing laundry.
  • Adhering to prescribed diets and planning, preparing and serving meals to patients.
  • Administering any prescribed medications.
  • Providing companionship by talking, watching television or reading aloud.
  • Providing light exercise designed to keep the patient alert and healthy.

Senior home health care aides work with those who are age 55 or older. Unless they suffer from a terminal or debilitating disease or injury, or from early-onset dementia or Alzheimer's, seniors generally need support on a limited basis.

They may need help with ordering or preparing senior meals. A home care aide for seniors can ensure the senior eats properly.

Seniors may need help with light housework, dressing and chores that involve standing and reaching, as well as daily medication reminders.

The senior aide may hire on with a family and stay with them for weeks, months or years. The goal for a senior home aide is to allow the senior to live as independently as possible. Senior home care aides may run errands for the senior. Often, the aide is hired primarily for companionship purposes.

These are home care givers who work mainly with the elderly or those approaching the end of their life.

Finding a reliable home care giver is the difference between remaining at home or being forced to choose a nursing home.

Because home healthcare is fairly new, it is unregulated. Those considering hiring a home health care aide should take the following into consideration:
  • Consider community-based resources. Contact the local Council on Aging or senior center as well as the area hospital. Almost every county in the United States has an agency designed to help the elderly stay in their own homes. Local agencies can often help with providing meals, help with household chores and transportation, all at little cost.

  • Get a social worker to assess the needs of the patient. This can be done through the local Department of Family Services.

  • Ask for recommendations from nurses and doctors.

When hiring a private home healthcare giver, many consult a private home-care agency. Check to see if the home health aide agency contacted is one that hires, screens, trains and supervises its aides. It could be just a registry of independent health aides and not an actual agency.

Home health aide agencies can help families who need to make a decision about hiring help for the elderly or for seniors. Finding a good home aide can be difficult without help. Although the turnover can be high due to low wages, a home health agency will generally pay their employees more and provide extra training. This ensures the patient does not have to constantly change aides and become accustomed to new people.

The advantage of using a home health aide agency is the agency is responsible for supplying aides And paying the aides. An agency is also responsible for paying the insurance cost in the event an aide is injured while working in the private home. Agencies also run criminal background checks and supply the family with a new aide in case of emergency.

Additional Links of Interest

For information and help finding a home health aide agencies in your area, contact:

1. The Alzheimer's Association  -  Phone: 1-800-272-3900

2. Medicare Health Compare Tool - An online research tool by Medicare that helps you find a home health care professional by zip code.
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This page was last updated: 6/6/2014

What is a Home Health Aide

Senior Home Health Aides

Elderly Home Health Aide

Home Health Aide Agencies
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-Becky Wood
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Becky Wood