I recently spoke with a group of fresh graduates from a local nursing assistant school. The instructor wanted me to help the students understand the expectations of clients in a home setting. When I touched on the subject of housekeeping, the students reacted negatively. “I am certified, so I don’t have to help with housekeeping!” said one student. I replied, “That may be so in a hospital setting, but clients in a home setting need housekeeping assistance.”

The reality is that illness and loss of endurance impede a person’s ability to perform basic chores. A physically impaired person may still willingly struggle to bathe, dress, and toilet themselves. A large sense of personal dignity and empowerment stems from continuing to care for one’s self. The trade-off is that in order to save up the energy to continue with these tasks, a physically challenged individual must delegate the more mundane, non-personal chores to an able-bodied helper.

Clients utilizing home health care assistance usually request a caregiver’s help with cleaning up and straightening up. Here is a list of household chores that can easily be delegated to an aide or companion:

– cleaning the bathroom after use

– cleaning the kitchen after use

– changing bed linens

– washing laundry

– taking out the trash

– bringing in the mail

– cleaning the dinette table after use

– loading and unloading the dishwasher

– making meals and snacks

– running errands

– buying groceries, medications, and supplies

– answering the telephone and taking messages

Clients should allow extra time in the caregiver’s work schedule to accommodate completion of these chores. It is also advisable to retain a “cleaning service” for monthly or biweekly cleaning blitzes. The aide or companion can take care of the routine chores in between.

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