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Your Home Care Aide Options

Here's how to find the right type of in-home care aide for you or your aging loved one.

In-home health care aides perform a variety of functions that do not require medical training and which service both long and short term needs. They can provide much needed respite care to help family members or other volunteers take a break from their caregiving responsibilities. Some of these tasks performed by a home health aide are:

  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Doing laundry
  • Changing bed linens
  • Helping with toileting and lifting
  • Planning meals
  • Assisting with medications
  • Wound care and bandaging
  • Helping with dressing and showering
  • Driving and transportation assistance
  • Caring for children if a parent is disabled or too ill
  • Shopping and running errands

Home Care Aides

Home care aides are generally supervised by a registered nurse or other medical or social services professional. In many cases, home health aides do not have specialized training. Some may have on-the-job training and others may have certification from the National Association for Home Care and Hospice, or a local hospital, community college or health care agency. The following people can perform home health aide services:

  • Family members
  • Friends
  • Neighbors
  • Members of a church or synagogue
  • Volunteers through a religious or civic organization
  • Agencies that supply certified home health care aides
  • Check Care.com to find a listing of home care aides in your area

All in all, you have many options to meet your family's home-health-aide needs. Work out a plan that meets your needs without overburdening one volunteer. Keep in mind that generally, home care aides do not have medical training. If your elderly loved one needs help with injections, a home care aide may not be suitable. Be sure to ask specifically about training and qualifications as these can vary.


Ronnie Friedland has co-edited three books on parenting and interfaith family life.

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