ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tips For Keeping Caregivers, Household Employees, Personal Care Assistants

Updated on August 9, 2010

Over the last 30 years I have employed so many PCA's that I can't even begin to remember them all. My skills as a manager and employer have improved so I generally retained personal care assistants much longer now than in the beginning. The longest anyone has worked for me has been 17 years. Currently, I have four ladies. Two are full-time and two are part-time. Their range of employment with me runs from two years to 15 years.

I try to adhere to the following tips as much as possible.

1. Respect them as people and skilled individuals.

Most of the people who work for you as a personal care assistant (PCA) will have some experience. Respect that experience and listen to what they have to say. A PCA can let you know about areas on your body that you may not be able to see or evaluate for damage.

If they are working for a parent but under your supervision then chances are they will be observing your parent more closely and over a longer period than you. Unless you have reason to distrust their opinion, believe them when they tell you there is a problem.. A caregiver can spot physical and cognitive dysfunction quickly because they see your parent everyday.

Many people who work in this field have a limited education. Do not make the mistake of thinking that means limited intelligence or life experience. There are an infinite number of reasons why someone doesn't possess a formal education. Sometimes it's family circumstances, a cognitive problem like dyslexia that makes classroom work difficult, or it could be the individual likes working with their hands and finds satisfaction as a caregiver.

2. Maintain Regular Hours

If you have told a PCA that they are working from 8 AM to 3 PM then stick to that. Everyone will have the occasional emergency, but outside of that don't let the hours you expect them to work start sliding. Last-minute telephone calls telling the PCA that they will be working two hours overtime is inconsiderate and disrespectful. Their time is just as important to them and their family as yours is to you.

If you promise someone a 40 hour a week job then give them 40 hours. If you need to make changes, talk about it as early as possible. Some folks must work a certain number of hours to pay their bills. It's unfair to guarantee someone a certain amount of pay and then renege.

Get My Book on Adult Diapers

The Complete Guide to Adult Diapers
The Complete Guide to Adult Diapers

This easy-to-understand guide covers the different types of diapers available and explains how they are used.

The electronic book can be read on any computer or electronic device with a free app available from


3. Pay on Time

Set up a method for keeping track of hours and honor it. Pay people for their work and on time. Many folks live paycheck to paycheck. Forgetting to pay someone or just not bothering can cause them to make late payments to their creditors.

If you think that a PCA is being dishonest about hours then deal with it immediately and openly. You may choose to give one PCA a raise but not another. Be clear about why.

One of the quickest ways to lose someone is to have them think that you are cheating them. However, don't cave to someone who is trying to cheat you. Fire them and hire someone else.

4. Be Clear about Your Expectations and Feedback

You must let the PCA know exactly what you want them to do and when. This will be part of working out your relationship. Some people stick to a schedule of particular tasks on specific days.

Making a list is useful. At the end of the day or week you can go over the list with the caregiver to see what got done and what didn't. Discuss the reasons for both.

5. Be Flexible

I have several ladies working for me so if someone needs time off because of illness or appointments then we can generally work out a schedule with another of my PCAs covering for the first.

Don't make someone stay until exactly quitting time if they're not needed. Let the PCA go 10 minutes early without docking time. At my house, we only make changes to times in and out if it goes over 15 minutes. The understanding is that there will be times when I will need the favor returned. The PCA may need to stay an extra 10 minutes. I will expect it to be done with grace and a positive attitude.

6. Being Boss Is Not Being God

Your PCA is your employee and not your slave. Speak and behave with decency and respect. Everyone flies off the handle from time to time. Apologize when necessary. Tolerate a reasonable amount of bad days on the PCA's part. It's probably not going to be necessary to micromanage every minute of the PCA's day. Back off and allow them to do their job. If there's a problem then discuss it. If you want something done in a precise way then be clear about that.

Eventually, everyone gets on everyone's nerves. Try to remember that just as much as your PCA is aggravating you, you are probably aggravating them. Think of your own and teachers.

By way of full disclosure, I must say that the above point is a source of constant work and character development for me. I like to be right all the time. Consequently, I am always working on ways to recognize when I am not and behave respectfully to those deserving apologies.

Finally, let me say that as much as things are working out now between me and my PCAs, there have been times when I have gone through five or six of them in a two-month period. Sometimes it just doesn't work out.

Develop a backup plan and then cut your losses and start over.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)