As your parents or relatives reach their golden years, there will come a point when you will have to start considering options for care. More senior citizens have been choosing to stay in their own homes as they age to remain in their familiar, comfortable surroundings.
While there are several benefits to aging in place, most seniors will require some sort of care to be able to do it safely. In many families, a relative will step forward and provide care to help their aging relatives so they can continue to live at home.
However, this responsibility can be difficult for the family caregiver, making it necessary to seek outside help to meet the needs of their loved ones.
Hiring a Caregiver
Hiring a home caregiver is a great way to ensure that your loved ones get the care they need so they can continue living safely in their homes. The decision should not be taken lightly as you are looking for someone to bring into the home of your loved one and ensure their health and well-being.
It is important to find a home caregiver who can be trusted to provide skilled care for your loved one and treat them with compassion and respect. There are two main options when it comes to hiring a caregiver; families can hire an independent caregiver directly, or work with a home care agency that will send caregivers to their loved one’s home.
When trying to determine which course of action is better for your family, you must consider the following:
How Much Care is Needed?
The amount of care needed can vary widely between individuals as some seniors may only need help a few hours a day while others require 24-hour care. Before hiring a caregiver, think about how often one is needed to come to the home of your loved one.
Do your loved ones just need help with cooking or cleaning a few hours a day? Do they need someone there every morning and evening to help them in and out of bed? Careful consideration of the needs of your loved one will help you determine how often you need a caregiver to come by the home. You can always start working with a caregiver on a part-time basis and increase their hours if your loved ones need additional care.
Home caregivers can provide a range of services
Home caregivers can do a lot of different tasks within the home to help your loved ones. Providing personal assistance with bathing, restroom use, getting dressed, and taking medication are common caregiving duties, but they can also help with housekeeping, providing transportation, and preparing meals.
A caregiver can even be brought to the home to be a social companion for a senior who lives alone. If your loved one does not need help with personal activities like restroom use or general hygiene, consider if they may need help with basic household duties like cooking and cleaning.
Independent Caregiver vs. Home Care Agency
This is an important consideration to make because this choice will help determine your family’s relationship with the home caregiver. If you choose to hire an independent caregiver, your family is legally the caregiver’s employer. This means that you are responsible for the hiring, training, payment, taxes, and disciplinary action.
You will also be responsible for finding a replacement yourself if your caregiver has an unexpected absence. The benefit of hiring an independent caregiver is that it is less expensive than working with a home care agency. An independent caregiver could be a viable option for those who only need a few hours of care per day.
Hiring an Independent Caregiver
If your family has chosen to hire an independent caregiver, these tips will help you with making the hire:
- Create job description: Before you start looking for a caregiver, put together a complete job description based on the specific care needs of your loved ones. The job description should be clear and detailed so that any caregiver you hire will know exactly what is expected. Knowing what you need before looking will also help you find the right caregiver to handle the job.
- Be flexible with pay: When looking for candidates, it is important to be flexible with the offered pay so that you will get interest from the best candidates. Make sure you let your candidates know that the offered pay is flexible and may change based on experience. You should also be aware of the average hourly rate for a home caregiver in your area so you can offer a fair wage.
- Pay legally: It may be tempting to pay a home caregiver under the table, but this can get you in trouble. Make sure you pay them legally with W-2 tax forms.
- Screen candidates: Remember, you are looking for a caregiver that will be in the home of your loved one and responsible for their well-being. You should screen your candidates carefully by having multiple interviews, including one with the loved one that will be receiving care. Ask plenty of questions in the interview to get the information you need and check their references as well. You should also consider a trial period to ensure that your hire is a good fit for your loved one.
- Make a contract: When you have decided on a hire, write up a work contract that includes the job description, schedule, wage, and anything else you feel is necessary. This will help prevent any issues or discrepancies as the caregiver’s signature means that they have agreed to and accepted the terms of the contract.
Home Care Agency
Working with a home care agency may cost your family more than hiring an independent caregiver, but there are plenty of additional benefits.
- Home care agency is the employer: The home care agency is responsible for the hiring, payment, training, insurance coverage, worker’s compensation, and disciplinary action for the caregiver. You are only responsible for paying the home care agency for their services.
- Higher quality caregivers: Caregivers hired by a home care agency are carefully screened and trained by the agency. This means that they are generally more qualified than independent caregivers.
- Better match for your loved ones: Home care agencies always start with a meeting with you and your loved ones to assess their care needs. They will then choose a caregiver from their staff that they feel is the best match for the needs and personality of your loved ones.
- Replacements when needed: If a caregiver from a home care agency calls off sick, the agency will send another caregiver to the home. You can also ask for a different caregiver from the agency if you think the current caregiver is not a good fit.
There are benefits and drawbacks to both of these home care options. This is perhaps the most important decision you will have to make when hiring a caregiver so make sure you take everything possible into consideration including the needs of your loved ones and your family’s budget.
If your senior relatives are currently being taken care of by a family caregiver, you can keep this arrangement if your senior relative prefers while still providing relief for your family caregivers. Those who provide care for an elderly family member often experience high levels of stress and poor health due to the demands of the job.
They devote so much time to caregiving and have little left for their own personal matters including their careers and immediate families. Working with a home caregiver to provide respite care will give your family caregiver time off to recharge and tend to their personal matters.
Home caregivers provide peace of mind.
If you still have not made a decision to hire a home caregiver, consider that having a professional caregiver in the home of your elderly relatives can bring you and your family peace of mind. It is common for people to stress over the safety and well-being of their elderly parents or relatives, especially if they believe their relatives are not receiving adequate care.
With a home caregiver, you can rest assured that your relatives are always in good hands. Hiring a home caregiver will also allow your elderly relatives to maintain some of their independence by continuing to live safely in their own home.
Home Caregivers from Assisting Hands
If you believe that the time has come for your elderly relatives to have some extra help around the home, make sure you carefully consider the benefits of a home caregiver. Do not leave your loved ones out of the conversation either, discuss care options with them and talk to them about their concerns.
If you have decided that a home care agency is your best option, give Assisting Hands Park Ridge a call. At Assisting Hands Park Ridge, we provide complete in-home care services for seniors in the Park Ridge, IL area. We will work with you and your loved ones to create a care plan that suits their needs and match them with one of our highly trained caregivers.
Our caregivers are carefully screened and bonded and insured for your protection. We are happy to work with seniors and their relatives in Park Ridge, IL to ensure that they can age in place with comfort and dignity.