ASK PETER: All You Would Like to Know About Senior Care, Dementia, and Alzheimer's Care

The hidden in-home senior care costs of a private caregiver

By Peter DiMaria

It may seem cheaper and easier to simply hire and manage a caregiver privately, without needing a home care agency. However, many times that ends up becoming harder and more expensive. When hiring a private duty caregiver to provide home care for the elderly in their own homes, you might be incurring in costs that will show up later and have an enormous impact on your savings. It can also be a daunting task to manage your caregiver.

In relation to costs, the advantages of hiring an in-home care agency are numerous

Insurance and labor costs in Senior Care

First, you should consider an agency that is insured and bonded, like Home Helpers. That will cover any costs related to injuries or material loss related to caregiving, either on the caregiver or your mom’s side. A reliable agency will background-check and talk to references for any caregivers coming to your home. That will ensure that your mom receives that highest level of care available.

Not having insurance is a significant financial risk when you allow for caregiving.

Also, in relation to in-home senior care costs, when you pay less for a private caregiver, you may be offsetting some of the labor costs which will come back to haunt you in the future. A good home care service provider will have only W2 employees on their staff, meaning that they are responsible for all labor costs, like overtime, unemployment benefits, and workers compensation.

When you hire a private duty caregiver, you are the one responsible for all these costs. You may end up facing the Labor Board over these benefits and end up having to pay them for months after you dismiss your caregiver.

In-home senior care costs are not only financial

Managing in-home caregivers can be a daunting task

Money isn’t everything when it comes to caring for your loved one. A good agency will make sure that there are no “holes” in the schedule for your mom’s care. They will be the ones responsible for finding a replacement when the regular caregiver needs a leave of absence or has personal emergencies that might keep them from coming to work.

It is common that caregivers will call out because of a sick child at home, a problem with the car or other family issues. If you work with a good agency, someone will be in touch with you explaining the situation as soon as it happens and discussing the options for replacement.

In a private hire situation, you may find yourself waiting for a caregiver that won’t show up for work and end up having to be the caregiver yourself, in a moment when you should be doing something else.

At Home Helpers, we use a special software which allows us to know if the caregiver is or is not at the client’s home when they should be. If they don’t clock in on time, we receive an alert and immediately try to figure out what is happening, to minimize the problem. Most of the times the employee just forgot to clock in, and we ask them to do it. In the rare occasion when they are late, we call the client and explain what is happening, so you don’t have to pick the phone yourself and try to find out when the caregiver is coming.

In our agency, we also treat no-shows without a call as volunteer termination. If the person doesn’t show up for work, she or he will never work for us again. And that rule works well in preventing it from happening. Caregivers know we can replace them quickly if they don’t show up for work. However, that is not the situation when you hire them privately. If you fire your caregiver, you have to start the hiring process all over again, placing ads and interviewing people, and that is time-consuming.

I recently received an inquiry from a new client who was having a hard time managing caregivers for her mom who had Alzheimer’s. This client worked in a hospital, as a nurse, and she believed she could manage the caregivers for her mom.

It turned out to be a bad experience for her. After some call outs and no-shows, -and a few caregivers fired-, she was becoming very aggravated. She started missing work and being late to her own appointments, because of her caregivers. That's why she decided to go with our agency, even if paying a little more. “I just want my peace of mind back,” she told me.

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In Enfield, Suffield, Tolland, Vernon, East Longmeadow, Longmeadow, Hampden and all North Central CT and Western MA

Call us for a free in-home care consultation:
(860) 698-2244 (CT)
(413) 224-1045 (MA)