When a senior is no longer able to adequately care for themselves, there are two main options. One is to live in an assisted care facility such as a nursing home, and the other is to hire an in-home caregiver for private care. The latter option is ideal for seniors who prefer the comfort of their own home and some level of independence. Here are a few guidelines for hiring an in-home caregiver.
Determining a Senior’s Needs
There can be a considerable difference in a person’s specific needs, which will dictate the type of service that’s necessary. Some seniors will be able to dress, bathe and cook for themselves, while others will require assistance. There may also be medical needs that require a caregiver with an advanced skill set. Other times, a senior might primarily seek companionship and someone to run errands. That’s why it’s smart to write down a list of needs prior to contacting potential caregivers.
Agency vs. Direct Hire
Generally speaking, it’s best to go with an agency because they must meet certain requirements and tend to be safer than hiring directly. When looking at agencies, they should be evaluated on the quality and knowledge of their staff. Each caregiver should be run through a background check and be capable of meeting all of a senior’s daily needs.
For states that require licensure, a caregiver should be fully licensed. Being a member of the American Association for Homecare is ideal because it means that an agency is recognized for its professionalism. If a senior requires extensive care, it’s smart to have one or more backups available ahead of time to avoid any complications in the future.
Cost of Care
According to MetLife, “the average hourly cost of a home health aide worker is $19 per hour, with some states being as high as $30 per hour and as low as $9.” The exact cost will depend on the state and the level of care needed. It’s important to compare three or more agencies to find affordable pricing while still ensuring great care. Be on the lookout for additional fees like deposits and extra payments for holidays and weekends.
Monitoring the Caregiver
Upon hiring an individual, it’s a good idea to monitor that person to make sure they are fulfilling their duties and the senior is properly cared for. This can begin with asking the senior for input and determining their overall level of happiness. Dropping by unannounced from time to time while the caregiver is on the job is also effective for gauging how well they are performing their duties.
Knowing what to expect and what constitutes quality in-home care should result in the right hire. That way a senior’s needs can be met and a caregiver can be around for the long haul.
Sanford M. Fisch
CEO & Co-Founder
American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc.
9444 Balboa Avenue, Suite 300
San Diego, California 92123
Phone: (800) 846-1555