You can’t go wrong by seeking a career as a home health aide.
The need for qualified senior caregivers is great and it’s a field where you can do a lot of good.
As a home health aide, you make it possible for seniors to age with dignity in the comfort of their own home.
Your duties will vary depending on the individuals in your care, but your patient may need help with personal care (bathing, dressing, grooming), home care, meal prep, shopping and transportation to and from doctor appointments.
Before committing to the job of home health aide, take time to assess the pros and cons of this profession to determine if it’s right for you.
Table of Contents
- Pros of Being a Home Health Aide
- Cons of Being a Home Health Aide
- 14 Pros and Cons of Being a Home Health Aide – Summary Table
- Should You Become a Home Health Aide?
Pros of Being a Home Health Aide
Becoming a home health aide is a wonderful way to be of service to others.
Your support and companionship will make a tremendous difference in the lives of seniors in your care.
The following are some of the positive aspects of pursuing this profession:
1. Fill a Great Need
Home health aides fill a great need in society at large.
As the elderly population continues to grow, families will be looking for dedicated caregivers to help with their aging parents and other relatives.
Most seniors, if given a choice, would prefer to age at home with the help of a personal caregiver than live in a residential care facility.
Your support as a home health aide will enable them to do so, without fear of danger or harm.
2. Foreseeable Job Growth
Experts foresee a substantial growth in home health aide jobs in the near and distant future.
If you choose this profession, you won’t have to worry about employment.
The demand for home caregivers will only increase as the population of elderly seniors and seniors with disabilities grows.
As your services will be highly sought after, you can be selective in the jobs you choose to put your skills to the best use.
3. Flexible Work Hours
Home health aides enjoy greater flexibility in their work schedule than many other types of healthcare professionals.
If you’re married or have a family, you’ll appreciate the flexibility that this career choice offers.
You can work part-time or fulltime, only mornings, only afternoons or both, leaving your evenings free to spend with your family.
Granted, the more hours you work, the more money you make, which can be a plus if you’re the sole provider in your family.
4. Personal Touch
The job of a home health aide is up close and personal, providing mental and emotional comfort as much as physical care.
You’ll have the opportunity to develop a personal relationship with others and develop meaningful friendships over the years.
If the thought of working closely with people appeals to you, this could be the profession for you.
Serving as a home health aide gives you a chance to make a difference in the lives of others.
You can also add a personal touch to every aspect of your job.
5. College Degree Not Required
Becoming a home health aide doesn’t require a college education.
A high school diploma or GED will suffice.
You can kickstart your career by enrolling in a training program to prepare you for your career.
Some training programs are more in-depth and informative than others, so take time to research your options and choose wisely.
Keep in mind that comprehensive training could open more opportunities for employment.
Getting certified for your profession can also be helpful in advancing your career.
6. Opportunities to Learn and Grow
A career as a home health aide presents opportunities to learn and grow.
As an independent healthcare provider, you’ll be responsible for making decisions concerning your patient’s care.
Caring for others requires planning, organizational and problem-solving skills, all of which you can develop on the job.
You’ll also learn valuable people skills that can equip you for the future.
Your work as a home health aide can be used as a stepping stone to advance your healthcare career.
7. Personal Satisfaction
Serving others as a home health aide can be extremely rewarding.
Your services help improve the quality of life for others.
You can take heart in knowing your work has meaning, purpose and value.
What better way to spend your time than doing a job you love?
Cons of Being a Home Health Aide
No profession is without “blemishes” and the job of home health aide is no exception.
Along with the pros, there are cons to choosing this career path.
Here are some of the negative aspects of choosing home health aide as your profession:
1. Poor Pay
At the entry-level, home health aides don’t make a lot of money compared to other healthcare professionals.
The pay gets better, however, as you gain experience and training on the job.
You may need to tighten your belt for several years before you see a significant increase in your salary.
Over time, however, the value of your services will be recognized by those in need and you’ll be earning the wages you deserve.
Although a career as a home health aide can be satisfying, it can also be stressful due to the dynamics of the job.
Different patients have different needs, some of which can be overwhelming.
You may have to work with uncooperative patients or perform tasks that tax your energy and strength.
Things may not always go as you planned, forcing you to alter your schedule or change directions without warning due to circumstances
beyond your control.
To avoid undue stress, you’ll need to learn how to deal with the ups and downs of the job.
3. Physical Demands
There may be times when the work of a home health aide is physically demanding.
If a patient has mobility problems, you may have to pick him or her up to wash, dress or place him or her in a wheelchair.
You may be on your feet a lot due to performing the duties of cooking, cleaning, shopping and other chores.
The job of a home health aide often entails long hours and physical exertion, so you should be prepared for both.
4. Exposure to Sickness
When you work in other people’s homes, there’s always the risk of catching viruses from sick patients or family members you come into contact with during the course of the job.
As you clean and sanitize a patient’s home, you’ll also be exposed to germs from the environment.
Wearing a mask and using gloves when cleaning the house can provide a measure of protection against infectious diseases.
It also helps to pace yourself when cooking or cleaning to avoid accidents.
5. Difficult Patients
Elderly people can be unpredictable, at best.
Your patient may be cooperative and easy to care for one day and difficult the next.
Seniors can become cranky or hostile at the drop of a hat due to changes in their schedule or environment.
If your patient’s in pain due to a chronic condition, he or she may become angry or depressed.
At times like these, you’ll need greater patience and understanding to do your job.
Dealing with difficult patients can be tough, but it’s par for the course when working as a home health aide.
6. Challenging Work Environments
Working in a person’s home can sometimes be challenging.
The home environment may not be conducive to quality patient care due to cramped quarters, bad lighting, poor maintenance or other problems.
Sometimes, you can institute changes to make the environment a safer, more comfortable place to work and live.
Other times, you have to make do with what you have.
Adaptability is a quality worth cultivating as a home health aide, so you’re not put off by challenging situations on the job.
Burnout is a common problem among home health aides and other health care professionals.
Working with senior patients can be exhausting – physically, mentally and emotionally.
As you grow close to your patients, it can be heart-wrenching to watch them endure the pain and suffering of a chronic condition.
Over the years, the emotional trauma of losing patients to age or chronic illness can be devastating as well.
Counseling and the support of colleagues and friends can be helpful in dealing with these issues so you don’t suffer from burnout.
14 Pros and Cons of Being a Home Health Aide – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Home Health Aide
|Cons of Being a Home Health Aide
|1. Fill a Great Need
|1. Poor Pay
|2. Foreseeable Job Growth
|3. Flexible Work Hours
|3. Physical Demands
|4. Personal Touch
|4. Exposure to Sickness
|5. College Degree Not Required
|5. Difficult Patients
|6. Opportunities to Learn and Grow
|6. Challenging Work Environments
|7. Personal Satisfaction
Should You Become a Home Health Aide?
There’s no doubt that the job of a home health aide can be rewarding.
Your job makes it possible for seniors to live happier, healthier lives at home as they grow older.
That can be a great relief to families who cannot provide the same level of care.
By weighing the pros and cons of this profession, you can get a better idea of what it requires to see if you’re up to the task.
Your career as a home health aide could lead to even greater opportunities in the healthcare field in the future.