The days of aging being synonymous with taking up residence in a nursing home have, thankfully, come and gone. Today’s seniors overwhelmingly – as many as 90% – would prefer to age at home.
However, aging can still bring with it a variety of conditions (frailty, heart disease, COPD, dementia – just to name a few) that can make it challenging to remain at home without assistance. This is where in-home care becomes invaluable.
However, not all home care is created equal, and choosing the most appropriate in-home care is crucial to the health, safety and comfort of older adults. Options range from a “friend of a friend” looking to earn a little extra cash, to healthcare registries, to professional private duty home care agencies. Here are some major differences to consider before making a choice for care at home:
- Privately hired caregivers, whether through a personal connection, personal advertisement or through a healthcare registry, may seem like the most cost-effective option at first glance. However, this type of caregiving relationship can result in inconveniences at best, and even the potential for financial, physical or emotional damage. Since these workers are not under the employ of a professional home care agency, but are instead independent contractors, the senior becomes the employer: meaning he or she is most likely responsible for worker’s compensation, taxes, insurance, etc. If the caregiver becomes injured on the job, the senior would have to assume the liability. Additionally, if the caregiver becomes ill or goes on vacation, the senior is suddenly left without care. And, without supervision, background checks, or other accountabilities, the senior is vulnerable to potential abuse.
- Professional private duty home care agencies, on the other hand, employ, bond and insure their caregivers, so all applicable employment taxes and any potential liabilities are fully covered. They also train and supervise caregivers to ensure the highest quality care and maximize safety and wellbeing. And, if an assigned caregiver is unable to provide care for any reason, an appropriate substitute is quickly and seamlessly arranged.
The decision to bring a caregiver into one’s home is not one to be taken lightly, and doing a little homework upfront can make all the difference in ensuring a successful transition. The following questions can help when gathering information and in selecting the most appropriate home care option:
- How long has the agency been in business?
- Is the agency licensed, and do they hire their caregivers as employees?
- Are caregivers fully trained, bonded and insured and background-checked?
- Is someone available 24/7 to answer any questions?
- If I’m not happy with the caregiver, is a replacement available?
At Home Matters, we understand the many complexities of hiring in-home care, and how stressful and emotionally charged it can be. We’re committed to providing the same level of home care to the seniors in our community as we’d offer to our own family members. With all care supervised by a registered nurse, on-call assistance available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and a team of fully trained, screened and experienced caregivers, we’d love to talk with you to learn more about your loved one and how we can enhance life for him or her in the comfort of home.