6 Things Home Health Aides Learn From Their Clients
Posted: 11/12/2018 4:45 PM by
Home health aides often derive deep satisfaction from their jobs because they make a noticeable difference in people’s lives. The desire to give back is one of the reasons aides choose the career in the first place. For many aides, though, a pleasant surprise is how much their clients end up returning the favor.
Interim HealthCare home health aides and personal care aides say they’ve learned meaningful lessons from spending hour upon hour with their clients and becoming, in many cases, part of their family. Here are just a few examples.
RELATED: What Are the Duties of a Home Health Aide?
Attitude really is everything
“A great attitude can take you a long way,” says Rachel Quoi. “Be grateful for the little things in life.”
Mary Hofmann’s clients have taught her the value of gratitude, too. “Be thankful for everything,” she says. “Everything is a blessing, even when you don’t think so.”
Andrea Blackbird learned that no matter the circumstances, you have control over your perception. “If you perceive that your life is good, then it is,” she says.
Another aide says her clients have taught her how important optimism is. She sees what a difference it makes when she walks into a client’s home with an upbeat attitude. “Being optimistic about any situation gives them a sense of hope,” she says.
Perseverance also counts. Zelma Coles learned this from the struggles she’s witnessed: “Never give up. No matter how tough things get, you have to keep pushing forward.”
Empathy is important
The value of empathy, patience and tolerance emerges again and again as a lesson learned.
“You don’t know all of what [clients] have been through in life, so don’t judge someone by how they are now,” says Darlene Moore. One of the things she likes best about her job: “Giving all the love you have and seeing the results in the trust, respect, love and compassion they give to you.”
Family and friends are gifts to treasure
Many Interim aides have developed a new appreciation for time spent with family and friends.
“The main thing I learned from my patients is to be thankful for your family,” says Cheyenne Pugh. “So many of my patients don’t have families to come around and visit or even help them. To know that I have a great support system just for me and my girls makes me 10 times more thankful.”
“Never take it for granted,” says Timeca D. Cade. “Love life, and appreciate those who are in your life.” That includes her clients, who she says lift her spirits as surely as she lifts theirs.
Listening is a powerful tool
Ellen Honsinger discovered that it’s important “to be a good listener no matter how small an issue may seem.”
Many aides say it’s astounding what they hear when they offer to listen, such as anecdotes about World War II from a veteran. “I love hearing stories from years past and seeing clients’ faces smile when they talk about happy things,” says Michelle Mack.
Mary Hofmann agrees. “Spending your day with someone who’s seen things we’ve never seen and hearing stories about it is amazing,” she says.
“They are all full of wisdom,” says Rachel Quoi.
Asking for help is okay
Home health aides are typically hired to help clients with daily activities they may not be able to manage on their own. Without that help, many would require a nursing home or other facility.
Michelle Mack learned that reaching out for assistance when needed is smart. Her life lesson gleaned: “To be strong but ask for help if needed.”
The most important day of your life is today
“My clients have taught me that life is precious and ever-changing,” says Tami Salley. “You can try to plan your future, but be prepared for the unknown, and live every day to the fullest.”
“Life goes fast,” says Tricia Palmieri. “Enjoy every moment, the good and bad.”
Kaci Stephenson, a home hospice nurse, notes, “I’ve learned so much from my patients. The big one is to live every day as if it’s your last. We are never promised tomorrow and most of my patients are on their last stretch, but even in those finally hours they have taught me that each second of our lives count and to make the most of it. I have another patient that told me to always take one day at a time. ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff.’ It’s really changed my perspective.”
Contributed by Kenna Simmons. Simmons is a former editor for the Arthritis Foundation and WebMD. Based in Atlanta, she writes about healthcare, business and where the two intersect.