Job Description of a Personal Assistant to the Elderly

Elderly people often need a bit of extra help completing ordinary tasks, and many hire personal assistants -- either permanent or part time -- to keep their daily lives running smoothly. Personal assistants may work in a residential setting, in a care center, or in an elderly person's home. Job duties require personal assistants to attend to all personal and medical needs of the aged person in their care. Most of the time, this requires excellent communication and listening skills, as well as the ability to coordinate and share work with healthcare providers.

  1. Personal Care

    • The personal assistant attends to all the personal needs of the aged person under her care. This includes bathing and dressing the person, and taking care of hygienic activities such as nature calls and other needs. Most personal assistants prepare meals tailored to the charge's dietary requirements and food sensitivities. Personal assistants often run errands, do laundry, and keep house. In most cases, the personal assistant also serves as a trusted confidante for the elderly charge, listening to his concerns and providing emotional support to cope with his health conditions, family issues or other problems. Many caregivers live with their charges, though not all do.

    Health Supervision

    • The personal assistant is responsible for taking care of the aged person's health. She must gather information from physicians, nurses or other health care providers regarding the health conditions of the patient, and must understand the nuances of any required care. This includes keeping the elderly person's prescriptions up to date, and monitoring overall health on a day-to-day basis. Most assistants must also maintain accurate records of all care activities performed, and must note any changes in the person's health, outlook, or general disposition.

    Healthcare Teamwork

    • The personal assistant must usually remain in constant contact with all of the elderly person's caregivers, and in most cases actually acts as a part of the person's healthcare team. The assistant provides advice and insights to all of the client's doctors and nurses, and assists in developing an effective care plan.

    Preferred Qualities

    • In addition to technical expertise in medical conditions and treatment, a personal assistant has to have a combination of skills to succeed. A passion for making others' lives better is fundamental to the job. Dealing with elders is often sensitive work, and personal assistants must have the patience, tact, wisdom and empathy to connect with elderly people, understand their behavior, and provide appropriate support for them and their families. Most of the time, a background in medical services or social work is a strong asset.

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