Hiring An In-home Agency Vs. Private Caregiver

March 11, 2017

As we start to see our loved ones get older and need more assistance, we begin to question what is the best method to ensure our loved ones are being cared for and remain safe in their home.

Do we hire a friend or neighbor to help, or do we hire an in-home agency with caregivers? Do we really need someone else to help us or can we fit it into our own schedule? It is important to understand the time commitment and other family resources that could help if a professional caregiver is not hired.

According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, the first step to take is to assess your home care needs and what the needs are for the caregiver. Does your loved one need help in personal care, household care, health care, emotional care, errands, or just companionship? It will also be important to assess the time/duration of care and the level of the care needed; can they be left alone, are they a fall risk, do they need someone to bathe them and help with incontinence? These are all questions that are important to establish before you decide to hire outside care. If it is decided that extra outside care is the answer, it is now time to choose whether a Private Caregiver or Agency will provide the best care. In order to help make the decision, here is a list of pros/cons for both a Private Caregiver and an In-Home Care Agency.

The pros to a Private Caregiver are:

  • Cost: you can pay at a lesser rate than an agency since you are paying the caregiver direct.
  • Control: you have more control over the caregiver and may be more familiar with who is providing care.

The cons to a Private Caregiver are:

  • Insurance: any kind of accident to happen at the home with the caregiver will need to be covered by liability insurance.
  • Attendance: if the Private Caregiver is ill or unavailable, you will need to find a backup.
  • Employer: you are now an employer, which means you are financially responsible for your employee, taxes, workman’s comp, sick leave, etc.…
  • Fees: all Private Caregivers need to be registered through Social Services and have a background check conducted and TB tested.
  • Medical Insurance: may not be covered by Medicaid or private insurance.

The pros to hiring an Agency:

  • Fees: the company handles all the fees; hiring/firing, payroll, taxes, sick time…
  • Substitute: If a caregiver is ill, they can send a substitute.
  • Insurance: may be covered by Medicaid or private health insurance.
  • Skills: can help provide the individual with a variety of skills to meet varying needs

The cons to hiring an Agency:

  • Workers: several workers could be used in order to help, which may result in confusion or distress for the person receiving care
  • Control: less control when it comes to choosing who provides care
  • Cost: most expensive than hiring an individual.

After you have assessed your needs and evaluated the pros/cons of both an agency and a Private Caregiver, you will have a determination of what will fit your family’s needs the best. No matter who you choose, the most important thing is that you choose somebody that will make your loved one feel safe and comfortable in his or her own home.
*Information cited by the Family Caregiver Aliance; National Center on Caregiving