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September 3, 2015 | 19th Elul 5775

Home Health Aides: FAQs

What is a home health aide? How does one find a home health aide? etc.

The Scenario:

You live in New York City and get a phone call from a relative in Florida whose health has recently deteriorated and needs help at home.

Q: What is a home health aide?

A: She or he is an individual who can provide care that is primarily responsible for the purpose of helping your relative with the activities of daily living, such as serving or preparing meals, help with taking a shower, reminding to take medications, accompanying to doctor's appointments, etc.

Q: How can you find a home health aide?

A: You can find a home health aide through a licensed agency in your relative's community. You can also place ads in local newspapers or ask that notices be put up at local places of worship. A senior center in the area might also be of assistance.

Q: How often does my relative need help?

A: Home health aides work on an hourly basis. Your relative may need help every day from 9-5 or only on several mornings a week. You should talk with your relative and your relative's doctor about what services are needed and how often they need to be provided.

Q: What about payment arrangements for a home health aide?

A: The aides wages are calculated on an hourly basis. Currently, the national average is between $8.60 and $15.00 an hour. The home health aide will want to be paid on a weekly basis. You will need to make arrangements for payments. One possibility is at the beginning of each month to send your relative the number of checks needed for a month's worth of services. Then the relative can give the aide one check at the end of each week. Private insurance and public programs, such as Medicare, may cover some of the costs of home care services. Medicare may pay for services under certain circumstances; such as upon release from a hospital.

Q: What other resources are recommended?

U.S. Administration on Aging

Caring From A Distance

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