As loved ones age and require more assistance, the decision between in-home and facility-based care is a common dilemma. With over 90% of seniors preferring to stay in their own homes as long as possible, in-home care is more in demand than ever.
However, not all in-home care providers are equal.
This post will provide you with important questions to ask while you search for the best in-home care for your loved one.
What should I expect to pay for in-home care?
In nearly every case, services provided at $15/hr. or less are for private-hire caregivers or referral-source caregivers who aren’t necessarily trained, nor bonded and insured to work in your home. This exposes you and your family to a much higher level of liability, not to mention workers’ compensation and taxation issues. As required by law, agencies pay into Social Security, submit federal, state and local payroll taxes, and pay into the state workers’ compensation program.
Should I use an agency or find a caregiver myself?
Agencies have the benefit of access to a large pool of qualified caregivers as well as a broader range of resources with which to ensure that they are qualified. Agencies also carry bonding and liability insurance and can send a replacement when your regular aide calls off sick, when their car won’t start, or they can’t work because their children’s school has a delay or cancellation. Self searches on websites like Care.com, may be more tailored to your wishes, but it will be up to you to ensure the caregivers you choose are competent, honest and dependable.
How thoroughly are potential caregivers screened?
Whether you choose to employ an agency that screens its own employees or are interested in finding your own, be sure to conduct thorough interviews with candidates. This should include running criminal background checks, drug screens, BMV abstracts, contacting references, and trusting your instincts.
Will the same caregivers always attend to my loved one?
Whether you choose an agency or hire an individual or multiple individuals, providing a level of consistency to your loved one’s care is beneficial. 24/7 care would require 5 – 6 caregivers. An agency can provide services on holidays and weekends that an individual may not be able to work. If your loved one needs access to multiple types of providers, ensuring that each type of caregiver is available at your chosen agency is a necessity.
When would services begin?
Some agencies require a wait time before beginning services, and some individuals may have scheduling conflicts or differing availability. Finding backup care in the case of scheduling errors or service delays can be costly when done at the last minute. Agency-provided care insures that your needs will be met by a qualified caregiver without annoying no-shows or call-offs. Asking these questions of your potential providers can avoid lapses in care later.
Whether you choose a caregiver service or to hire an individual, asking these questions can help you manage your expectations and avoid problems down the road.