Taking care of yourself is important for a number of reasons, and knowing how to get the care that you need most is just as important. Getting the care you need most can manifest in a lot of different ways, for example:
- Getting medication.
- Seeing the doctor regularly.
- Seeing a therapist.
- Working out regularly.
- Brushing your teeth.
- Seeing the dentist.
- Socializing with other people.
The list goes on, and being sure that you’re meeting all of your care needs can help you live a more comfortable life in general, but some people need a little help with this. That’s totally ok, everyone’s a little different.
That’s why today we’re going to be taking a look at the perks of having a personal care assistant so that you can have a better understanding of how this can help. Unfamiliar with the concept? No worries, we’re going to be covering it in detail in this article.
What is a Personal Care Assistant?
If you’re not super well-versed on this topic, that’s ok. Not everyone knows everything and the caretaking industry happens to be something that’s very commonly misunderstood. So, let’s start from the beginning. What exactly is a personal care assistant?
A personal care assistant, also known as a PCA, is someone who helps with activities of daily living. These activities can range from something as simple as helping someone take a shower to more complex tasks like handling finances or providing transportation to and from doctor’s appointments.
In general, the goal of a personal care assistant is to help make life easier for their client. This can be done in a number of ways, but some of the most common tasks of a PCA include:
- Helping with hygiene needs such as bathing, dressing, and grooming
- Assisting with ambulation and transfers
- Preparing meals
- Providing transportation
- Performing light housekeeping tasks
- Running errands
- Providing companionship
Personal care assistants are just normal people, but they do need to be certified by the state they live in order to work. The requirements for certification vary from state to state, but in general, the PCA will need to have a clean background check and pass a short exam on basic caregiving skills.
Most personal care assistants are certified through a community college or other type of training program. These programs typically last around two months and cost between $500 and $1000. After completing the program, the PCA will need to take the state-mandated exam in order to receive their certification.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about some of the benefits of having a personal care assistant in more detail than we already have. While it may seem like an unnecessary expense to some, there are actually quite a few advantages to having someone help you with your day-to-day tasks.
For starters, having a PCA can help reduce stress and anxiety. If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety or chronic stress, then you know that even small tasks can feel insurmountable at times. Having someone there to help with those tasks can make a world of difference.
Another benefit of having a personal care assistant is that it can help you stay independent for longer. If you’re starting to struggle with some of the activities of daily living, then getting assistance can help you maintain your independence for longer than if you tried to do everything on your own.
Finally, having a PCA can provide companionship and socialization opportunities. If you’re struggling with loneliness or isolation, then spending time with your personal care assistant can help alleviate those feelings. In addition, many PCAs are also willing to provide transportation services so that you can get out and about more easily.
How Do I Know If I Need A Personal Care Assistant?
Knowing when to get a PCA is pretty important for a whole lot of reasons, but not everyone knows when they should be looking into this so that they can get care as soon as possible.
There are many different reasons why someone might need assistance from a personal care assistant (PCA), but it typically comes down to struggling with activities of daily living (ADLs).
These activities include things like:
- Ambulation (walking)
- Transfers (moving from one place to another)
- Meal preparation
If you find yourself struggling with any of these activities on a regular basis, then it might be time to consider hiring some assistance in the form of a PCA. In addition, if you find that performing these activities is causing you pain or making your existing medical conditions worse, then hiring help may be the best option for you.
So how do you go about finding and hiring a personal care assistant? Well, first things first: You’ll want to make sure that the person you’re considering hiring is certified by your state as being able to perform ADLs safely and effectively.
As we mentioned earlier, most states have programs where potential PCAs can become certified after completing some coursework and passing an exam. Once you’ve found someone who meets these criteria, the next step is simply sitting down with them and discussing your needs.
This will give them a chance to get an idea of what kinds of tasks they’ll be expected to perform, as well as what days/times they’ll be needed. It’s also important to discuss any special considerations, such as allergies or medical conditions.
Once you’ve found someone who meets all of your needs, it’s time to move on to the logistics. This includes things like scheduling, compensation, and insurance. When it comes to scheduling, it’s important to be as flexible as possible in order to work around both your and your PCA’s availability.
With compensation, most states have minimum wage laws that must be followed; however, some people choose to pay their PCAs more depending on the tasks they’re expected to perform or the number of hours they work.
Finally, you’ll need to make sure that your insurance covers any care that’s being provided by a PCA; if it doesn’t, then you may be responsible for paying out of pocket. If that would be too much of a burden for you, you could either find a new insurance provider or go a different route.
Hiring a personal care assistant can be a big decision, but it’s one that can make a world of difference in your life. If you’re struggling with ADLs, then don’t hesitate to reach out for help. There are plenty of qualified and certified PCAs out there who would be more than happy to assist you.
Why Some People Avoid Getting a PCA
There are a number of reasons why someone might avoid getting a personal care assistant, even if they could really benefit from the assistance. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Not wanting to admit that they need help.
This is often an issue with older adults or people with new disabilities of any age who are used to taking care of themselves. They may feel like they’re losing their independence if they have to ask for help with things like bathing, dressing, or grooming.
- Not wanting to burden others.
This is a common concern among people of all ages. No one wants to feel like they’re a burden on their loved ones, so they may avoid asking for help even if they really need it.
- Thinking it’s too expensive.
Although personal care assistants are not typically very expensive, some people may think that they can’t afford the extra expense.
- Not knowing how to find a qualified PCA.
This can be a valid concern, especially if you don’t know where to start looking for someone who is certified and qualified to assist you with your ADLs.
Although there are some valid reasons why someone might avoid getting a personal care assistant, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision either way. In some cases, the benefits of having a PCA can outweigh the potential downsides.
If you’ve done the research and found the resources available to you, you could pretty easily circumvent all of the issues listed above. That being said, it can take a bit of adjusting to get used to the concept of having another person take care of you. That’s ok, change is scary and it takes time to get used to most things.
Finding Out What Works for You
Knowing what’s going to work best for you can make a world of difference in your personal life as well as your mental health. Not being able to take care of yourself the way that you used to can be a huge bummer, but once you find the kind of care you need you’ll find that your life is easier and more comfortable than it was without it.
Many people are entirely unaware of the perks of having a PCA, but you could pretty easily enjoy them with just a bit of effort and possibly a couple of visits to your doctor’s office.