Personal Care Assistants: What They Do and How They Help

personal care assistant

If you’re caring for an aging loved one who lives at home, whether only occasionally or round-the-clock, chances are you could use some help. Most family caregivers either don’t have the time, strength or training to fulfill all of their loved one’s care needs.

That’s where a personal care assistant can come in. Also known as personal aides, these trained in-home caregivers can help with a range of activities of daily living and chores, not to mention companionship.

When to Use a Personal Care Assistant

Many family caregivers of aging adults enlist personal care assistants to solve problems in their home care situations. For instance, a small woman caring for her spouse may hire a strong aide who can help move her spouse from bed to a chair. A son concerned about privacy might hire a personal care assistant to bathe his mother.

The added assistance often enables the aging adult to remain at home rather than moving to a facility. And for caregivers, hiring this help can provide a much needed break as well as peace of mind, especially if the personal care assistant provides regular services and is familiar to the person receiving care.

Services Provided by Personal Care Assistants

Personal care assistants can help with the following:

  • Companionship

  • Light housekeeping

  • Grocery shopping

  • Preparing meals

  • Grooming & hygiene, including bathing and dressing

It’s important to note that personal care assistants do not provide medical services, such as diabetes care, but can help administer prescribed medications and -- if they have the proper training -- can help move those with mobility limitations.

Difference Between Personal Care Assistants and Elder Companions

Personal care assistants are sometimes confused with elder companions, but there are some key differences, says Jennifer Voorlas, a Los Angeles-based geriatric care manager and owner of Geriatric Care Consultants, LLC.

Elder companions typically have less training than personal care assistants and assists with tasks like meal preparation, light housekeeping and grocery shopping. However, unlike personal care assistants, elder companions are not qualified to provide help with personal care such as grooming, bathing or dressing.

Cost of Personal Care Assistants

Personal care assistant rates range from $15 to $40 per hour on average for intermittent help, and about $150 to $200 per day for live-in care. These costs can vary widely depending on where in the U.S. you live. More information on average home care rates can be found at Genworth.com.

How to Hire a Personal Care Assistant

Start your search for a personal care assistant in Caring.com's Senior Living Directory. There, you’ll find listings for in-home care agencies, most of which provide personal care assistants. Search by city or zip code to see ratings and reviews.


about 2 years ago, said...

Caregiver for Seniors Will provide excellent, loving, attentive care & companionship to Senior(s)! Experienced in all aspects of geriatric care, including food preparation, bathing, toileting, eating, dressing, grooming, walking, or helping out of bed or chair, as well as giving meds. I am also experienced in "end of life care". I'm a great listener/conversationalist, willing to read out loud, write letters, play cards, games, recite poetry or play music (piano & organ) for and with Senior(s). I can also provide light housekeeping such as vacuuming, doing dishes, laundry, changing beds, dusting, etc. I'm a good cook, have a fun-loving personality, lots of patience, & a great sense of humor! I can easy do shopping, meal planning, run errands or take you to your appointment. I love my work and will treat you like family!


over 2 years ago, said...

I had no idea that they did so many things to help. I think it's amazing that they put so much thought into the kind of work they do, and make sure that they are helping people as much as they can. it would be nice to know that that much care is being given to those in need of it for sure.


over 2 years ago, said...

We provide Home Care, Home Health Care, Mental Health, and Behavior Health aides. Please visit our site http://www.premiercarestaffing.com/ Any and all questions can be sent through the site or left in the comments below


over 2 years ago, said...

http://www.premiercarestaffing.com/


over 2 years ago, said...

We'd like to pay my sister, and our mother agrees, for the care she provides our mother. The funds would come from my mother's trust fund. My sister is the executor. Where can we find out what legal forms (taxes, etc.) my sister would need to file?


over 3 years ago, said...

are the employers of in-home care workers suppose to withhold taxes and are they suppose to withhold unemployment taxes also or provide a 1099


over 3 years ago, said...

expect soon to need in-home personal care. Nice to get this information, including the "how to get started" section. Thanks.


over 3 years ago, said...

Great post. Caregivers are so valuable to families who need help taking care of their aging loved ones. The peace of mind alone is important, however, caregivers also do an incredible job of simply being their for the client. They can help with everything from cooking, to cleaning, laundry, even bathing.


almost 4 years ago, said...

Dad's coming home in about 30 days. He just had a tennis ball sized tumor removed from his stomach. It was benign, but they spotted a small growth on each kidney. Whew! I hadn't seen my dad in over 20 years. I wasn't expecting any of this, but when I saw him and his living conditions I knew I was coming back from Boston to stay. To stay and take care of my dad. Thanks for the info. Things are falling into place. One day at a time, right? Keep the faith. Wolf 14 Words


almost 4 years ago, said...

yes! this is good for me as i struggle with grooming. especially the toileting and bathing part. i would also require someone to shave me as my hair grows rapidly even though i am old. i would prefer a tall dark latino middle aged man to assist me with this


over 4 years ago, said...

Will medicare pay for A personal care assistant, I am alone all the time and need help with many household tasks due to cronic illnesses


over 4 years ago, said...

I am a personal caregiver but I am married to a veteran. I work in the homes and a living center. Am I eligible for the same help as any other veteran spouse? I would love to just be at one persons home and not 2 or more. Please help


almost 5 years ago, said...

i'm looking for people who do in home care


over 5 years ago, said...

Hourly sarley for home health who is wheelcar boundl


over 5 years ago, said...

My parents have a wonderful neighbor that helps them almost every day with shopping, visiting and all around moral and emotional support, he is on call all day and comes at a moment's notice. He has installed railings/bars for safety in the home/ helped daddy recover from minor fall when mom couldn't help him up, takes them out to eat. He works 14 hour shifts on weekends, so he is not available then. How can we have VA or Medicare pay him for all his help?


over 5 years ago, said...

I have found that the special clothing for the person receiving care that makes it more comfortable for them and easier for the caregiver to give personal care is available at 'www.weavestitch.etsy.com.' It works for my caregiving and the wearer loves them.--grandma


about 6 years ago, said...

Having someone come to the home for regular help can turn into a companion I could leave my loved one with so I can get out for a break with a friend or to do personal shopping.