Home care: Should you hire a private caregiver?


home care, caregiverWhen your parent finally agrees to home care, it can come as a great relief.  A key question is will you employ a caregiver yourself or will you work with a full service home care agency?

When you start investigating the cost of home care, it can be tempting to hire a private caregiver to save money.

Before hiring a home care provider, ask yourself if you have the time and skills to:

  • Create a home care job description
  • Write and place ads for caregivers in the newspaper and on the internet.
  • Review resumes
  • Conduct phone interviews to identify the best candidates
  • Conduct in-depth, in person interviews with the best candidates
  • Arrange for criminal background checks
  • Arrange for drug tests
  • Verify eligibility for employment in the U.S.
  • Train the caregiver
  • Build a pool of screened back up caregivers
  • Process weekly payroll including payroll taxes and social security taxes
  • Arrange for workers compensation insurance
  • Provide on going training and counseling when problems arise
  • Start the process over again when your caregiver quits or is fired.

Working with a full service home care agency

A wide range of companies provide home care. Lists of agencies are available from hospitals or senior centers but may not include quality rankings. Friends and colleagues can be better sources of referrals.

Benefits of working with a full service home care agency

  • Evaluates your parent's needs and makes recommendations
  • Provides prescreened, drug tested, background checked caregivers
  • Provides back up home care worker when your usual caregiver is sick or on vacation
  • Provides worker's compensation insurance
  • Processes payroll including taxes
  • Helps you manage the caregiver

It can take a few tries to find a caregiver who is the right personality match with both you and your parent.  It is very important that the caregiver is a person that you like and can communicate with easily.

Working with a home care agency and a professional caregiver can give you a lot of peace of mind.

What have been your experiences hiring home care workers to help your parent?  Share your advice with us.

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--Janice Wallace