How to Work as a Substitute in Elder Care Homes

How to Work as a Substitute in Elder Care Homes thumbnail
Some elder-care facilities hire temporary workers as a cost-cutting measure.

If you are interested in working at an elder-care home such as an assisted-living facility or nursing home, but you don't want to commit to a full-time position, working as an elder-care substitute may be the right choice for you. Many companies today are trying to save costs by turning to temporary workers instead of full-time workers to fill employment needs. But while you gain in flexibility as a temp or substitute worker, you will generally not be eligible for benefits and you will have less job security.


    • 1

      Decide which position you would like to substitute for at an elder care-home. Typical positions include nurses, nursing assistants or health assistants, caretakers, drivers, custodians, janitors and security help. Elder-care homes may also have additional needs such as therapists, social workers, barbers or cooks, so don't discount your unique skills and training.

    • 2

      Ensure that you have the relevant licensing, training or experience necessary to work as a substitute in your position. For example, nurses and nursing assistants must be certified and licensed to practice in their home state. Caretakers must demonstrate proficiency in bathing, dressing and monitoring the elderly and, in some facilities, must have training and certification as a medical assistant. Janitors must demonstrate ability to perform heavy cleaning and trash pick-up; custodians preferably should have handyman experience or even certification in construction trades like plumbing and electrical work. While there are no academic requirements to become a security guard, some facilities prefer an associate's degree or a certificate program in an area related to criminal justice.

    • 3

      Conduct a thorough job search. According to Jia Lynn Yang at CNN Money, a job-seeker should network heavily, target his job search and hone his resume to exactly fit the job description. Register with temporary agencies that elder-care facilities use to fill their part-time or substitute positions. Also contact nearby facilities directly to inquire about substituting and the best way to apply. Network with other workers or even residents at nearby elder-care homes to build a reputation and raise your chances of being hired as a substitute.

    • 4

      Exceed expectations at work. Temporary employees are more vulnerable to budget cuts and reduced staffing needs, so perform your duties to the best of your ability and remain courteous and professional at all times.

Tips & Warnings

  • Seniors in elder-care homes are often frail and feel vulnerable. Assuage any fears they may harbor toward substitute workers by speaking calmly, chatting in a friendly tone and behaving in a trustworthy manner.

  • Be aware of your rights and responsibilities as a substitute or temp worker. Part-time employees are usually paid per hour, and generally receive no benefits such as paid sick or vacation leave or unemployment. According to, part-time employees do have rights under federal law, and must be treated the same as full-time employees with regard to minimum wage, overtime pay and the right to protest work-related injuries and illnesses.

Related Searches



  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Related Ads