Everything You Need to Know About Working with Seniors as a Health Care Aide

Picture this: you’re at the heart of a Canadian seniors’ retirement community, where each new day brings new and familiar faces, and new opportunities to make a difference in the lives of the elderly. Working with seniors as a Health Care Aide (HCA) can be an incredibly rewarding career path, allowing your innate kindness and compassion to shine through in the care you provide. Not only does a Health Care Aide support the physical and emotional well-being of seniors, but an HCA also offers comfort and relief to families as they care for aging relatives. 


What are the Duties & Responsibilities of a Health Care Aide?

Think of a Health Care Aide as the ultimate multitasker. Working as an HCA is a dynamic, collaborative experience, requiring adaptability as you address the ever-changing needs of the patient. Some of the tasks that an HCA is responsible for include:

  • Assisting seniors with bathing, grooming, dressing, and other personal hygiene activities
  • Assisting with feeding seniors
  • Ensuring seniors take their medications on schedule
  • Communicating with seniors in a gentle, nurturing manner
  • Assisting with bed transfers (lifting, turning, and walking) 
  • Assisting with range of motion exercises
  • Updating nurses with information on the senior’s condition
  • Assist with respiratory care, urinary care, and simple wound care
  • Join patients on outdoor excursions and activities


Where Do Health Care Aides Work?

Working as a Health Care Aide opens up a world of possibilities when it comes to your place of work. As an HCA, your work can take you to:

Independent Living Communities: A vibrant retirement community that offers seniors the chance to maintain their independence while enjoying a variety of services and amenities to enhance their quality of life.

Assisted/Supportive Living Facilities: Designated as assisted living in British Columbia, and Supportive Living in Alberta, this type of seniors care facility centre offers the elderly an independent lifestyle, with just the right amount of help to make daily living more fulfilling.  

Long-Term Care Facilities: This personalized care experience offers seniors who are no longer able to live safely and independently at home access to full-time care staff and round-the-clock monitoring.

Hospital or Health Care Centre: HCAs can work in hospital wards and in a growing range of private and public health care facilities.

Home Care/Community: Working with patients in the privacy of their homes, through employment for a public health association.


How Much Do Health Care Aides Make?

Working as a Health Care Aide in Canada means that you can earn an hourly wage anywhere between roughly $19 and $26/hour. Compensation is determined based on things like experience, seniority, overtime, work during statutory holidays, and the province and individual organization that you are employed under. Full-time HCAs typically work 36 – 40 hours per week, and schedules can include working weekends, evenings, and holidays. On-call and part-time positions are also available for HCAs who prefer to work fewer hours.


How Do I Get Certified to Become a Health Care Aide?

Becoming a Health Care Aide in Canada involves completing an HCA program from a provincially-recognized educational institution. The length of study varies from institution to institution, province to province. HCA programs can be delivered in the classroom, online via video conference instruction, or as a hybrid of the two. Explore Recognized BC HCA Programs HERE, and a list of Alberta accredited programs HERE.


Did you know? Alberta Health Services (AHS) offers an HCA Program that enables HCAs to continue working while completing their certification while having their tuition fees covered by AHS. Learn more about this opportunity by visiting Alberta Health Services.


Beginning Your Career as a Health Care Aide

Care aides typically begin their careers in casual or on-call roles. But more and more, new graduates of health care assistant programs are finding permanent positions.

Additional Health Care Aide Resources

Do you have your sights set on a career that gives you the chance to make a real difference in the lives of the elderly? For those interested in pursuing a fulfilling career as a Health Care Aide at a Canadian retirement community, here are some additional resources to help you get started: 


As Canada’s leading provider of seniors’ care and housing, Park Place Seniors Living is always on the lookout for talented individuals to join our dynamic team. With a large, unique portfolio of seniors’ communities across BC, Ontario, and Alberta, the career opportunities are endless. Visit our careers page to discover the benefits of working at Park Place Seniors Living and to explore the volunteer and professional positions that are currently available.