The thought of senior home care can be daunting. Many families are thrust into the home care maze when a loved one has an unexpected fall or surgery. Suddenly, important decisions need to made very quickly. This post will help to streamline the options and help families make informed decisions about senior home care.
Essentially there are three different options to consider:
The agency model (Loving Arms Elder Care)
Agencies make things easy. They have a pre-screened staff of trained caregivers. They can usually begin care at a moment’s notice and they handle all the things you are not even thinking about like payroll, insurances, and scheduling. When choosing an agency look for length of time in business, fees and the process they use to match clients and caregivers. This service comes at a premium though. Agencies may not be an affordable option for every family.
The registry model can be more economical than an agency. You will most likely save 25% or more when compared with typical agency fees, but the savings comes from your willingness to do some of the work on your own. Registries offer lists of caregivers in your area. It is usually your job to contact, interview and set up the care schedule. You may need to do some in-home training and make plans for the eventual call-out situation. Many registry sites offer safety net services like background screenings and complete payroll services. Much of this work can be completed online and can be shared with different family members. When using a registry, look for companies that offer local representatives that can guide you through the process.
Private hire is very prevalent but is the model that requires the most work. It can begin innocently, a nice woman from church agrees to care for your mother in her home. But have you considered things like: work eligibility, background checks, references, drug testing, payroll taxes and liability insurance? (Bartelstone,2018) Private hire works wonderfully until it doesn’t. What if the care suddenly increases? What if someone gets hurt? What if your caregiver suddenly finds themselves out of a job and they file for unemployment? These are real concerns that can end up costing much more than you are saving. Consider consulting a local elder law attorney for advice before hiring privately.
It’s a lot to consider. How can you possibly make the best decision for your family? First, have the conversation before you are forced to have it. Ask questions about what in-home care might look like. Find out how will you pay for the care. Is there a long-term care policy? If so take a look at it, understand what your options are. You are not alone. There are many professionals in your local community who are ready and willing to help. “Professionals including social workers, care managers, nurses and those at community agencies working together will ensure that the burdens of receiving care don’t compound the existing challenges faced by the family.”(Bartelstone 2018)
Bartelstone, Rona. (2018). Case In Point: Hiring In-home Caregivers. CSA Journal,70(1),68
Bartelstone, Rona. (2018). Case In Point: Hiring In-home Caregivers. CSA Journal,70(1),70
Alice Jacobs, CSA
Loving Arms Elder Care / Home Care Connect