A personal assistant works directly with one or more individuals, to support them with various aspects of their daily life so that they can live it in a way they choose.
Personal assistants are usually employed directly by a person who needs care and support, and who manages and pays for this through a personal budget or with their own money. This person is their employer (and are often referred to as an ‘individual employer’).
They can also be employed by a family member or representative, when the person they’re supporting doesn’t have the physical or mental capacity to be the employer.
A personal assistant always works directly with the individual they’re supporting.
Being a personal assistant means being involved in many aspects of your employer’s life, and may include supporting in the home, at leisure or at work. The opportunity to focus directly on the needs of an individual, and the diversity of the role, is what often attracts people to this type of work.
The role of a personal assistant is extremely varied, this is because the individual employer can choose exactly how they want you to support them.
You may be supporting an individual employer:
maintain relationships with family and friends, including supporting them with childcare
to meet new people and develop new friendships
travel around by providing transport, driving their car or using public transport
to maintain hobbies and interests
providing personal care (support to dress, wash and bathe)
to communicate their wants and needs
carrying out household tasks like cooking, cleaning, meal preparation, shopping, organising paperwork, and, in some cases, pet care
going with them to their hospital and other appointments
to become healthier after a physical illness, for example, through a better diet or more exercise
to develop a new skill or get a job.
Some personal assistants may carry out, with adequate training, certain health care related tasks.
Find out about delegation of healthcare tasks and support from Skills for Care with delegated healthcare interventions.
Not all personal assistants will be employed to carry out all of these tasks – it may be that your employer wants support with just one of these tasks. Quite often the role can be about companionship and having a shared interest in things like music, politics or sport.
What is the role of a personal assistant
This video from Ruils will help you think about what you might need from a personal assistant and what they need from you.