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Aides—An Agency’s or Your Own? /
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Paid Aides—An Agency’s or Your Own?
There are at least two universal
truths that apply to family caregivers. First, they are
among the most caring, loving and generous people in
today’s world. Second, sooner or later most realize that
although their love and intentions to assist a family
loved one are unlimited, their human stamina for
providing that assistance has limitations.
Sooner or later, most families realize the need for
outside relief or replacement help. Some wisely bring in
outside help providers from day one to complement family
caregiver efforts. Others prefer first to use only
family help before eventually becoming physically and
emotionally tired and asking for some relief.
Regardless of how and when the decision is reached, the
family discussion next becomes, “Where can we find
quality, trustworthy providers?”
Community volunteers can be tapped to provide several
types of very dedicated, responsible help. Whether the
volunteers come informally from friends or through a
structured organization, many families successfully
reply on unpaid relief assistance.
Other families prefer to hire providers. They usually
find there are two primary sources. Aides can be
personally employed or contracted from agencies.
Personally employed PAs (personal aides or assistants)
are often the choice of help recipients who have
long-term needs and who are able to insist on
maintaining a maximum control over the quality of their
lifestyle. When, instead, a family prefers agency aides,
it’s usually because the recipients are unwilling or
unable to employ their own PAs, or they receive funding
from a source that requires using aides from an approved
So, from where should your family’s auxiliary help be
recruited? To begin a more detailed comparison, let’s
first debunk the great myth about agency aides: “If I
hire an agency aide, a professional who is experienced
and trained will arrive at my door, will know exactly
what needs to be done, and will simply take care of my
needs while I relax, rest, and recuperate.”
Regardless of an agency aide’s abundance—or often
complete absence—of experience and training, that person
will arrive on the first day with the same greeting as
someone personally employed, “Hello, I’m Heidi (or Sam).
Please tell me what help you need, as well as how and on
what schedule you want me to provide it.”