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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.


To maximize use of a person who helps you at home, consider the following subjects, each of which are discussed in other sections of this article.
  • Follow time tested steps to maximize use of home health aides. For example, make a list of specific chores you need the person to so.
  • Protect your financial and personal property.
  • Check your home for potential accident zones.
  • Ask volunteers to help.

NOTE: Check your Homeowners or Renters Insurance to be sure helpers are covered while on your premises. If a helper uses your car, be sure your Automobile Insurance covers. If you engage the aide as an employee, you likely need Workers Compensation insurance.  

Steps To Take To Maximize Use Of Home Health Aides

The following steps have worked for other people to help maximize use of a home health care person:
  • Make a list of what you want the aide to do.
    • Include everything that you want done, that you do not feel well enough to do. 
    • Let the aide tell you that if a job is not something that falls within her or his job description. Call the agency to confirm if you still have a question whether the task is something the aide should be doing.
    • One method of assuring recurring chores are completed is to store the list of chores in a computer and print copies for each day. Nurses and other caregivers can mark off each chore that gets done. Initials would indicate who did the chore.
  • Be specific about what you want an aide to do. For example, rather than say, "Please clean the bathroom," ask that the toilet or sink be cleaned.
  • Do not expect that your helper will do chores that aren't on a list. Even terrific helpers are human and can't think of everything all the time
  • Keep in mind that the person is your employee, not your friend. That doesn't mean you shouldn't share personal information or stories. It does mean that your needs come first. For example, if you go to the market with your aide, she or he should confine shopping for you and not leave you alone while shopping for personal items.
  • Keep track of the time the aide spends with you. Many aides put in for more time than they actually spend with a patient.
  • Be sure the aide is aware of your need to avoid unnecessary infections. Hand washing is said to be the single most effective means to control infection. An aide should always wash his or her hands before handling you, after using the bathroom, and before preparing food.
  • Oversee home care workers or appoint someone to do it for you. This is not a matter of distrusting the person. It is instead about the old adage: "trust but verify." No matter how well intentioned a worker may be, most people need to be managed to be sure that agreed activities are carried out.
    • If you appoint someone else to supervise the helper, he or she doesn't have to be in your home. Periodic visits and phone calls should be sufficient.
    • If you are confined to a limited area such as your bedroom, make sure the rest of your residence is being taken care of.
  • Food:
    • Perhaps food shopping and preparation can be minimized by having meals delivered at home. To have meals delivered, start by contacting the Eldercare Locator -- ask for the area agency on aging nearest where you live. Call 800.677.1116 or offsite link All programs have eligibility programs.
    • When it comes to food shopping, you can eliminate the chore in many areas by ordering on the telephone, or on-line. For example, on the West Coast, Safeway delivers: offsite link
    • If an aide does shop for you, tell him or her what your secondary choices are in case your first choice is not available.
  • If you have a caregiver that oversees your care, establish a means by which your nurse and other helpers who come into the home communicate with the caregiver. You could have a simple pad or notebook that remains in the home in which the caregiver and helpers can communicate with each other. The helpers can also list the chores which they did so the caregiver knows what, if anything, remains to be done.

How To Protect Your Financial and Personal Property From Home Health Workers

For example: 

  • Put your valuables away. Not in a drawer - but off premises or in a secure safe or lock box that the aide doesn't have access to.
  • Put small valuable objects out of sight.
  • Don't leave blank checks lying around.
  • Don't give an aide the password for ATM withdrawals or to online bank accounts.
  • Don't give an aide your credit card.
  • If you use a computer program for your finances such as Quickbooks, add password protection so unauthorized people don't have access.
  • Have checks deposited directly to your account.

Check Your Home For Potential Accident Zones

For example, loose rugs and excess clutter on the floor. Also look for items you need which are in difficult to reach places.

For a useful free home-safety checklist (which was prepared for seniors) contact the US Consumer Product Safety Commission 800.638.2772 or offsite link

Ask Volunteers To Help

Ask your family and friends to help. The more they do, the less there is to do for an aide – which translates into less time and less expense.

You may not be used to asking for help. Keep in mind that people who care about you want to do something to help. Giving them specific chores allows them to feel like they’re doing something to help someone they care about.

If you’re elderly, Faith in Action 877 324 8411 offsite link and Senior Corps Senior companions Program 800 424 8867 offsite link make visits to the elderly, help with simple chores and provide transportation to medical appointments.