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Working With Your Home Care Aide

How to Ensure Quality Care for Your Loved One


Updated July 30, 2008

Photo © Microsoft

Frequent communication with your home care aide will foster a good working relationship.

Photo © Microsoft
Once you've chosen a home care aide, it's important to work with the aide to make sure that your loved one is receiving quality care. Here are some tips for building a good working relationship with your home care aide:

  • Think of yourself as a staff supervisor. If you've chosen a home care aide from a volunteer agency or home care agency, you won't be the only supervisor, but you'll still need to clarify your expectations and needs whenever the home care aide enters your home. If you've hired a private home care aide, you will be the only supervisor ensuring that the aide is doing a good job. Either way, be assertive about your loved one's needs without being overly nitpicky (sometimes called micromanaging), which can backfire and create tension between you and the aide.

  • Watch for signs of abuse or neglect. While it's unlikely that you'll run into this if you've done a thorough job choosing your home care aide, you still need to be alert to signs that the aide might be abusing or neglecting your loved one. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, common signs of abuse or neglect are physical symptoms (bruises, abrasions, burns), withdrawal or depression (above and beyond any depression your loved one may have exhibited previously), poor hygiene, weight loss, and an unkempt living space.

    If you suspect abuse, report your concerns to the aide's volunteer agency or home care agency; if you have a private aide, you can call your local police or nearest adult protective services office. If you suspect that your loved one is in immediate danger, call 911.

  • Keep the lines of communication open. It's important to communicate with your home care aide on a regular basis. Find out what happened while the aide was there. Did your relative exhibit any changes in behavior or health status? Did the aide discover a technique that was particularly helpful considering your loved one's current Alzheimer's symptoms? It's also essential for you to keep your home care aide aware of any changes in your relative's status so that the aide can adjust accordingly.

Perhaps most importantly, showing appreciation to the home care aide and respecting his expertise will help foster a good working relationship that will enhance the care that your loved one receives.


DeGraff, A. H. (May 28, 2008). Paid aides: An agency's or your own? Caregiver.com Weekly Newsletter (Issue #381). http://www.caregiver.com/articles/general/paid_aides.htm

Frequently asked questions. National Center on Elder Abuse. March 18, 2008. http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/ncearoot/Main_Site/FAQ/Questions.aspx

Mitchell, T. (April 11-13, 2008). Hiring a caregiver to help at home? USA Weekend, p. 10.

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