In part one of Loving Care for Aging Parents we listed questions necessary to help family members begin to make a plan of care for aging parents. From the physical needs of the parent to personal affairs and financing. Now it’s time to put together a plan.
Finding a Caregiver
There are important issues to consider when a family decides to find a caregiver and generally two options for locating a caregiver. Here you will find the pros and cons of both.
Hiring a Private Duty Caregiver
There are many wonderful people willing to be paid as a caregiver however when hiring a private duty caregiver there are some things that should be considered.
*Private Duty may be less dollars per hour – Pro
*Someone has to pay the employment taxes – Con
*Homeowners insurance does not cover private duty caregivers under the medical portion of a policy. –
*Someone must provide workman’s compensation in the event of caregiver injury – Con
*Background checks should be done by the family, not accepted from the caregiver applying- Con
*Dependability issues – Con
Though hiring a private duty caregiver may cost less per hour it does not always pan out in the long run. Unemployment taxes still must be paid, if a family is to be honest. Many people are paid, “under the table” but this is not legal nor ethical. If your family chooses to hire private duty, then check with local state agencies to handle the taxes, social security and Medicare costs that should be paid.
A huge misconception for many is a homeowners policy’s medical payments will pay if a caregiver is injured in the home. Not so. Medical payments cover “guests” in the home, not paid individuals who work for the homeowner. It’s not out of the question for homeowners to be sued. Workman’s Compensation can be pricey but certainly not like being sued.
Finally, background checks should be done by the hiring family. It’s important that families invest the $25-$30 to do local and national background checks. Never accept a background check from the caregiver. These can easily be manipulated so for the best care possible for aging parents, do background checks yourself.
Finally, when hiring private duty, personal illness and issues must be taken into account. Should your caregiver be unable to work then your parent is left without care.
Though there are many private duty caregivers who are wonderful, the financial aspect is not as cheap as it seems.
Hiring a Caregiver Company
Below are pros and cons to hiring a company to provide caregiver services.
*Price – higher than private caregiver – Con
*Care is sometimes bundled in price packaging – Con
*Payment is made to the company rather than directly to caregiver – Pro
*Workman’s Compensation is provided – Pro
*Background checks are done yearly – Pro
*Shifts will always be filled – Pro
*All local and state unemployment taxes are paid by the company – Pro
*Long term care insurance can be filed – Pro
*Caregivers can be switched from time to time to add variety or replace a caregiver who is not up to par
*Home and financial assets are not tied up – Pro
Yes, the price of hiring a caregiver company is a bit higher, but when the individual costs hire and maintain a private duty caregiver revert to the consumer it doesn’t take long to see the value in hiring a company. When families hire a company, use good common sense. Ask if total price is all inclusive or if services are charged according to the task. Some companies will say their cost is $10 per hour but if a bath is given to a client, the price goes up an additional $10. Suddenly the costs are now $20 per hour. Check that charges are all inclusive with the exception of holidays.
The hassle of paying unemployment taxes, Social Security and Medicare are the responsibility of the company as well as providing workman’s compensation . Companies also bond their employees and carry employee theft and liability insurances. Background checks are required by law and companies must meet Federal and State mandates for elder care.
Hiring a company means families will never be without a caregiver should the primary caregiver be ill or on vacation and long term health insurance will pay if a company is working in the home where many make exclusions for private caregivers. Should you find a caregiver whose personality doesn’t quite mesh a company can provide a change.
Finally hiring a company does not tie up home and personal assets. When a parent enters a facility, their assets are part of the financial care obligation.
Every family must choose for themselves what they think the best method of care is for an aging parent. With these tools the decision process should be a bit easier.