Learn about working with paid in-home help

Older adults, their family or others close to them, as well as the staff providing in-home help, all benefit from having good working relationships.

Writing a job description can make expectations clear by spelling out:

  • All care and tasks needed and how often staff will help with each

  • Work hours and schedule

  • How to document work activities and share information

  • Food preferences and dietary limitations, if meal preparation is part of the job

  • Whose car staff will use, if driving is part of the job

  • Expectations around staff schedule changes, meals, work-related expenses, phone use, visitors, smoking and other issues

To improve relationships with in-home help, older adults and their family or friends can:

  • Share and discuss the job description with in-home staff and agencies

  • Explain personal and cultural preferences, especially ones that affect diet, care, language, preferred names or daily routines

  • Ask about staff training and credentials

  • Ask what kind of care staff can and can't provide

  • Ask if care is overseen by a licensed nurse

  • Read the contract, guidelines and standards that staff work under

  • Read reports of staff activities

  • Share positive and negative feedback with in-home staff and agencies

  • Post important information in the home, such as the job description, dietary needs, emergency plan and contact list

  • Secure valuables and documents with sensitive information in a locked room, cabinet or other container to avoid problems

Many older adults have help from both paid staff and family or friends. Paid staff can make it easier for family or friends to help the older adult while taking care of other responsibilities.

Paid staff and family or friends can work together to support the older adult. For example:

  • Family and friends can help explain the older adult's needs, preferences and routines, especially to new staff.

  • Staff can answer some questions about the older adult's condition.

  • Family and friends can visit the older adult when staff are there, to see and give feedback on their work.

  • Staff can show family or friends how to provide some kinds of hands-on care.

Good working relationships can make it easier to raise concerns with in-home staff and agencies. Serious concerns about staff stealing from, bullying, isolating, neglecting or abusing older adults in any way should be reported to local authorities.