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A home health aide typically is hired to help someone who is elderly and needs assistance with daily living activities or to assist someone who is ill, disabled or cognitively impaired. As part of her job responsibilities, a home health aide typically is asked to do some light household chores that she would normally do around her own home to keep it in working order, as well as perform duties that ensure that the client is safe, clean and fed.
Job Duties Can Vary
Some aides go into the client’s home daily, whereas others may go to the home a couple of times a week or as little as once a week. It all depends on the needs of the client and how much assistance he requires. The aide and the client and his family members should determine at the beginning of the working relationship exactly what type of help the client requires and how often. The primary focus is on helping the client so that he can continue living in his home. The aide provides assistance that makes this possible. She may help the individual bathe and fix meals for him. She may take him to doctor’s appointments and to the grocery. At times the aide is required or asked to do housekeeping duties.
Keeping up with the basics around the home can be difficult for a sick or elderly person who is confined to bed or has limited mobility. The home health aide typically does light housekeeping chores such as washing and drying dishes to assist her client. Doing the laundry also is a great help to the client, particularly if the washer and dryer are located in the basement or another area that the client can’t access. An elderly person who may have vision and balance issues will need an aide's help with everyday kinds of tasks, as he generally is not able to navigate stairs or maneuver well on his own.
Food preparation often is a part of a home health aide's duties. With input from the client, the aide may make up a grocery list and do the shopping, taking the client with him if possible. If the client is diabetic or on a certain kind of diet, the aide must observe any food restrictions when purchasing and preparing food. The home health aide also may be responsible for preparing and serving the food, including helping the client eat if necessary. After eating, the aide typically is responsible for cleaning up.
The aide may be asked to wash bedclothes once a week and make the bed. Some aides may be required to vacuum or sweep with a broom and mop the kitchen and bathroom floors. Other housecleaning jobs that may be required include emptying trash and taking it to the dumpster, dusting and cleaning out the refrigerator occasionally.
Cindi Pearce is a graduate of Ohio University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in journalism. She completed both the undergraduate and graduate courses offered by the Institute of Children’s Literature. Pearce has been writing professionally for over 30 years.