“If I’d known how old I was going to be I’d have taken better care of myself.” —Adolph Zukor (on approaching his hundredth birthday)
When the time comes in your client’s life when he or she can no longer do things on their own, or they require a little extra help and attention, they must face a choice about what type of care they will hire.
There are many options as to agencies, contract, and individual care providers. Each option has many considerations to examine before choosing which is the right choice.
- Before making a choice, your client may want to consider these questions:
- What kind of caregiver do I need?
- How do I find a caregiver?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of private caregivers vs. agency caregivers?
The type of caregiver one needs is determined by their abilities or lack thereof. Caregiving assistance can be as simple as making healthy meals and doing light housekeeping, or it can be as complex as managing 24-hour care for clients with Alzheimer’s or other debilitating diseases.
Finding a caregiver may be more daunting than one imagines. There are hundreds of registered individual caregivers, contractors, and agencies in urban areas. Getting referrals from trusted friends or family, as well as from the local Better Business Bureau and/or local and state agencies, are your client’s best bet in locating a reliable, reputable agency or caregiver.
Since there are so many choices, your client will want to know why an agency or individual caregiver is the best choice. An individual caregiver may be less expensive, but there will also be certain responsibilities on the part of your client — the one who does the hiring of the individual caregiver. They will have to cover liability and taxes for the caregiver, as well as do background checks and other vetting procedures to ensure their safety and security.
According to John C. Gilliland II, legal counsel for National Private Duty Association, “In-home care and — depending on the circumstances — liability could fall on the client or the client’s family — something they are rarely aware of.”
With an agency, the cost may be a bit higher for care, but your client is getting a full-service package, in that the agency covers all the caregiver’s expenses, taxes, and insurance, as well as does background checks and vetting. An agency also provides training and scheduling to ensure that your client is well attended.
In summary, independent and contract caregivers may come at a lower cost to the client, but in the long run they may end up paying more out of pocket to cover insurance and liability, as well as non-financial costs in making sure they have caregivers when they need them.