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Help! I Need to Hire a Home Caregiver for my Aging Parent. Where do I start?

Do you need to hire a home caregiver for your aging parent?  In a perfect world, aging adults would have a team of perfect children (or a healthy spouse) who have nothing else to do but provide all the care that their parents need, exactly when they need it.  Unfortunately, we are not living in a perfect world.  Aging adults that require extra care in their homes may find themselves in one of the following situations

Their children are:

  • not physically, mentally, financially, or emotionally able to provide the care their parent needs
  • completely burned out from trying to maintain their own lives while also providing for their parent.  Click here to learn about caregiver burnout.
  • busy with their career and/or caring for their own household
  • living far away

The above situations assume that the elderly person has children, which they of course may not.  According to The New York Times 20-25% of baby boomers do not have children.

Common types of non-medical assistance that elderly adults require in their home include housekeeping tasks, grocery shopping, meal preparation, assistance with bill paying, bathing and/or dressing assistance, transportation to/from appointments, pet care, etc.  When family members are not available to provide this care, they have the option to hire someone to decrease the burden.

Question of the hour:  Should I hire a home caregiver on my own or go through an agency?

Below you’ll find a list of pros and cons for each option:

Option 1:  Hire someone on your own (example:  a friend from church) Option 2:  Go through a licensed home care agency
This is likely the cheaper option.  It will cost you whatever you’ve worked out in your contract This will typically cost about $20/hour (non-medical home care services are typically not covered by insurance)
You may have a personal relationship with this person and feel that you already trust them This person may be a complete stranger and/or there may be a high turnover rate
You will have to look into your own options for insurance and background checks.  If the caregiver hurts themselves while caring for you loved one, they may sue you. Agencies typically provide protections such as liability insurance, background checks, theft protection, etc.  If the caregiver hurts themselves while caring for your loved one, it will likely be a workman’s compensation claim that agency is liable for)
If your caregiver quits, goes on vacation, gets sick, etc. you may be left without help When your caregiver is unavailable, the agency may be able to provide a substitute.

Answer:  It depends:

As you can see, there are pros and cons for both options.  Paying a higher rate may be worth the extra protection that comes with hiring an agency.  If you choose this option, be sure to ask the agency questions like:  What type of liability protection do you offer?  Do you complete background checks?  Do you check driving records? Should an injury occur, do you have insurance on your employees?  What is your policy on theft?  How do you handle situations where your employees are sick, on vacation, or no longer able to assist my loved one?

On the other hand if you choose to hire someone on your own, PROTECT YOURSELF!  Even if it’s your very best friend and you can’t image that there would ever be a problem.  You never know what could happen.  Look into private insurance options, do a background check, check driving records, and plan ahead for circumstances such as injuries.

Whatever you choose, I hope you’ll find the best care available for your loved one.  I hope they will love and care for them just like family.  Happy hunting!  In the meantime, sign up for the freebie I created.  I’ll send a detailed list of 10 things you can do today to improve elderly home safety.

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