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RE: Looking for a home health aide in Norwell, MA.

Posted: 5/1/2004
Lihda, MA:

Dear Karen,

Do you have any suggestions as to where I might look in terms of resources to find a home health aide in the Norwell, MA (South Shore area) - we would prefer to work with an individual versus through an agency like the VNA or whatever. Basically looking to network. I placed a posting at the Norwell Council on Aging. Was also thnking about placing an ad in the Norwell Mariner. We are only looking for someone to work on Sundays - to be a companion to my Mother (in her early 80s). She has some mobility issues.

Many thanks for any isight you can provide!



Dear L,

To find individuals for the role of companion, most do begin with placing ads in their local newspapers. Most ads of these types run during the week when the classified sections are much smaller plus cheaper in price. Ads running in the Sunday editions are higher in price.

You will also find that individuals looking for this type of work will place an ad about their care service in these same newspapers and usually during the week as opposed to the Sunday editions. Make sure they state references are available.

Ads may also be listed at, and according to Clare, caregivers check here daily looking for work. Your ad here should identify your city/state very clearly.

I encourage you to advertise in the local newspapers and organizations - those in the closest proxmitity to where the elder lives - because most individuals doing this type of work limit themselves to a certain number of miles for commuting.

Contacting organizations like the Council on Aging is another good step. You might also try The Area Agencies on Aging, local hospitals, churches and The Alzheimer’s Association. These organizations may keep such lists of people. These organizations may provide free assessment services as well.

I can’t stress enough how very important it is to have an accurate assessment of the elder’s needs. It is money well spent if you can’t get one for free. Most Area Agencies on Aging have staff in place to come to the home and conduct free assessments.

The assessment is key because it identifies the type of assistance the elder requires. Generally, elders with mobility issues will need more hands-on assistance than companions are trained to do. The companion role is more social. If the elder requires assistance with transferring or is prone to falls, lifting becomes a central need to fulfill and the person hired should be trained in these techniques to avoid injuries to the elder or themselves. Home Health Agencies provide such training plus cover their staff for worker’s compensation if injury does occur while on the job.

I encourage you to contact Home Health Agencies because companion services are among their types of contracted services plus they staff persons specificially for the role of companion which is cheaper for clients than their staff qualified to provide more hands on care. Again, companion is a more social role. Costs are weighed by the tasks the staff provide for the most part. Some tasks do require more training than others do.

Home Health Agencies generally charge for the initial assessment so, if cost is a concern, check with The Area Agency on Aging first. When you call a Home Health Agency, it is fine to have the assessment already done however some if not all will require that they conduct their own assessment. Among the reasons for this concerns liability risks. The advantage to you from two assessments is having a check and balance of the elder’s true needs to ensure you don’t pay for unnecessary services. offers excellent listings of services and Home Health Agencies you’ll find are listed by state to help you search. Keep in mind is another place for your ad.

This link from AARP does prepare you for selecting a home health care agency but it is good overall information as well.

The website has a link on it called Home Health Compare (middle of page on the right) which allows you to do some service comparisions. This can be applied to comparing private services as well.

Your greatest success will be a good fit between need(s) and services. Obtaining an assessment is your first step. The assessment will also help you to develop a clear ad and the assessment information will help you know what to look for in services.

Good luck and thanks for writing. Karen Rice