With more and more seniors aging in place, there’s a greater demand than ever for support services that enable this growing population to live comfortably and independently. Unlike in-home nurses and home health aides who focus on a client’s medical, physical and emotional needs, personal assistants can lend a unique level of lifestyle management services, with an eye on managing the day-to-day—everything from critical household tasks to transportation, basic budgeting and more.
Unlike “traditional” personal assistant roles, though, assisting a senior can come with a host of very specific considerations and, even, challenges. During the vetting process, it’s essential to assess a personal assistant’s ability to successfully work with a senior client. Elite Custom Concierge carefully screens all of its personal assistants and personal concierges before making targeted recommendations—in the case of seniors, the goal is to pair these often-discerning clients with the right assistant for their needs and lifestyle.
Once placed or hired, it’s essential that these personal assistants focus on maximizing client relationships so they can help the seniors they support live more independently and more happily. To achieve those goals, the best personal assistants will…
1. Focus on service and results above all else
A good personal assistant strives to make their client’s life easier—that’s the case no matter the client. In the case of senior clients, though, the best assistants are those who expect the unexpected on a day-to-day basis. If a senior hasn’t worked with a personal assistant before, they may be resistant to this new, seemingly constant presence and may push back. But, again, a good assistant never loses sight of their goal: to help deliver high quality, hands-on support that makes their client’s life better.
2. Deliver personalized experiences
No two clients are the same—a good personal assistant knows that and, each day, works to deliver highly personalized experiences to their client. For a senior, this commitment is even more important as, often, clients have important medical, dietary and physical limitations and needs.
Personal assistants should work with their client, their client’s immediate family and/or members of the client’s care team, if applicable, to ensure they’re in-the-know about specific preferences and requirements—and, from there, acts on this know-how. And those preferences? It could be anything from ensuring the fridge is stocked with favorite foods to helping make holiday arrangements, to sending birthday cards or facilitating activities, hobbies and get-togethers.
3. Managing schedules and calendars
To that end, a good personal assistant will know the ins and outs of their client’s calendar, and ensure that client is exactly where they need to be when they need to be there. Whether it’s a doctor’s appointment, class, activity or, simply, lunch with friends, these assistants are on top of every day-to-day happening so their client never misses a beat—or an appointment.
While these lifestyle management services usually falls on personal assistants working with any clients, managing calendars can take on an added dimension when seniors are involved. For example, a senior client may need help getting to and from an appointment, requiring the assistant to drop them off, pick them up or, even, help them get in and get comfortable.
4. Anticipating and acting on client needs
Great assistants study their clients and learn to anticipate their needs—that’s not unique to those who assistant seniors. However, many personal assistants find these clients to be more set in their ways which makes this trait even more important.
Anticipating needs can run the gamut from, again, stocking the kitchen with favorite foods before they run out to buying tickets to an upcoming event that syncs with their interests to picking up the perfect gift for a family member before being asked. These simple acts make senior clients feel heard and respected—and that makes them feel more independent.
5. Respecting their client’s—and their client’s privacy
Like any other assistant/client relationship, the relationship between a senior client and their personal assistant hinges on trust. However, in the case of a senior client, there could be others involved in daily decision-making or, even, in hiring and managing the assistant.
To that end, it’s essential for both sides to understand the boundaries of the relationship, and who’s privy to information—whether everything is strictly confidential or whether an adult child, grandchild, caregiver or other support provider needs to be updated. It’s important to outline this chain of command in writing so there’s no confusion and no trust issues down the line. And, like any personal assistant relationship, it’s important to have a confidentiality agreement in place from day one.
Next steps: finding the right personal assistant for seniors
That said, finding the right personal assistant services in NYC for a senior client can be challenging. Elite Custom Concierge has worked with countless clients and families, connecting them with qualified personal assistants who check every box. From running errands and providing companionship to transportation, calendar management, meal prep and general lifestyle management services, these experienced assistants have the insights and expertise to ensure their senior clients are safe, comfortable and happy—and that makes aging in place a better experience for everyone. Learn more about our part-time and membership-based personal assistant services, or contact us for a comprehensive consultation.