Active Seniors Find a Way to Give Back — As a Home Aide

Posted: 11/19/2018 3:49 PM by Interim HealthCare
Retirement sounds like a dream, but many people who still have energy to burn find themselves bored when they finally get there or restless and unfulfilled. A handful of former retirees in Coshocton, Ohio, about an hour northeast of Columbus, have found a solution: Become a home aide to other seniors who need help at home.
Most seniors want to age in place rather than live out their remaining years in a nursing home or other facility. But that can be challenging for those with physical or mental health issues that make performing basic daily tasks like cooking or getting dressed difficult. At the Coshocton branch of Interim HealthCare, active seniors are being trained, with pay, to provide the kind of services their neighbors need through the branch’s Retired to Hired program.
The training includes 24 hours in the classroom learning skills such as CPR and first aid, and 32 hours of in-home training with a mentor. The aide-in-training then accompanies the training RN to a nursing home, where she demonstrates competency in required skills before working on her own in clients’ homes. 
To meet the hiring criteria, retirees must be physically fit enough to assist with bathing, dressing and transferring clients to and from the bed, chair or toilet, and must be able to drive.

Cindi Harriman, RN, branch manager for Interim’s Coshocton, Ohio, branch, says the aides who joined Interim through the Retired to Hired (RTH) program have benefitted personally by giving back. “They have been made to feel more useful and have developed friendships with some of the clients,” she notes. “One of our RTH employees was just recently recognized with the Employee of the Month award for going above and beyond with her clients.”
The clients benefit, too. “Our clients value the RTH employees because they are hard workers, they are reliable and do not call off. They feel safer with them and can relate more to the senior employee.”
Why would someone become an aide when they could spend their days gardening or golfing? “Usually it is because that person still has something to contribute to society…maybe they have always been a caring, nurturing person,” says Harriman, who notes that many seniors also need to supplement their income. “This is a job where you can do both — supplement your income and give back to someone less fortunate who needs a companion, caregiver and/or a friend.”

Having a sense of purpose and staying connected socially are important in “retirement;” they may even help you live longer. Of course, becoming an aide isn’t for everyone.
“I explain right up front the type of individuals I am seeking for the class: caring reliable, nurturing, honest, compassionate,” says Harriman. “I want the person they would want caring for their parents.”