Employing friends or family as personal assistants

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    Introduction

    If you’re thinking of employing friends or relatives as your personal assistant, this requires careful consideration and planning. While the thought of working with someone you already know can feel like a good idea, it can bring its own set of challenges and considerations for both parties involved. Employing someone who lives with you may be permitted under exceptional circumstances, however this must be agreed by your local authority/funder.


    Advantages and disadvantages

    There are some important factors to consider when deciding whether employing friends and family as your PA would work for your care and support needs. Before proceeding, it’s crucial to weigh up the potential advantages and disadvantages that come with this. See examples below:

    Advantages

    • You may feel friends or family members have a better understanding of your preferences, routines, and specific care needs.
    • Having someone familiar as your personal assistant can provide emotional comfort and support during challenging times.
    • Friends and family members may have open and honest conversations with you, allowing for easier discussions about care preferences and adjustments.

    Disadvantages

    • They would be relying on the salary, what happens if you have to reduce their hours or make them redundant due to your care needs or package changing?
    • How would you tell them you are not happy with their work? Could this cause a breakdown in care being delivered?
    • What would happen if you fell out?
    • Friends and family members may find it hard to have open and honest conversations with you if they don’t want to upset you, which can create barriers to discussions about care preferences and adjustments.

    Things to consider

    These examples illustrate how employing friends or family members as caregivers can lead to various challenges and complications that may strain both the working and the personal relationship outside of work.

    Dependency issues

    If you hire a family member as your PA, you may start to rely heavily on them for emotional support beyond their professional duties. This can create an unhealthy dynamic and strain the PAs ability to maintain appropriate boundaries.

    Performance concerns

    Your sibling is your PA, but you notice they’re frequently late for shifts and do not provide the care you need. Confronting them about these performance issues might lead to tension in your personal relationship and reluctance on their part to address the problem.

    Burnout and stress

    A family member agrees to be your PA, but over time, the demand of the role becomes overwhelming for them. They struggle to balance their caring responsibilities with their personal life, leading to burnout and increased stress, which impacts the quality of care you receive.


    Reflecting on the decision

    Both parties should take a moment to contemplate the various aspects:

    • As an employer, you assume legal responsibilities, including issuing them with a contract of employment.
    • Training and ongoing support sessions.
    • A probationary period is advisable for both parties to assess compatibility, with various resources, including online platforms, offering additional guidance.
    • The arrangement must be agreed by your local authority/funder prior to commencement.

    Despite potential challenges, focusing on the positives and thorough preparation is key.

    Last updated:  18th June, 2024

     

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