For families that wish to hire a caregiver for their senior loved one, there are many options available. It’s important to understand these options and to know what questions to ask.
There are typically three options for obtaining in-home senior care.
1. Home Health Care Agency: The agency employs the senior care provider to work in the family’s home and maintains control over the worker’s duties. The agency also takes care of payroll, taxes, insurance, and human resources.
2. Referral or Placement Agency: In this case, the agency charges a fee and then finds and recruits the in-home senior care provider on behalf of the family. Control over employment duties lies with the family who will manage payroll, taxes, and compliance with wage and labor laws.
3. Hiring Independently: When hiring on their own, the family finds, hires, and employs the in-home senior care provider. They control employment and handle the responsibilities of being a household employer.
Hiring through a home health care agency is typical when the senior has specific medical care needs that require a trained and licensed caregiver to perform medical treatment.
When nonmedical care is required, many families choose to hire independently or through a placement agency like ours. However, in these cases, the family becomes a household employer in the eyes of the IRS and other government agencies.
Three Benefits of Hiring Independently or Through a Referral/Placement Agency
1. More control
The family has more control over the employment arrangement and can choose how the care is managed.
It’s typically more cost effective especially if the senior needs less specialized care or only needs help for certain hours or days a week. The family saves money by taking on the management and supervision of the caregiver themselves.
3. Less “red tape”
There is far less “red tape” compared to hiring through a home health care agency. However, the family still needs to comply with all applicable tax, wage, and labor laws.
8 Questions to Ask About Your Senior’s Care Needs
However you (or your family) decide to hire an in-home senior caregiver, you’ll want to understand your objectives for bringing an employee into the home to look after your senior.
- How much and what kind of care does the senior need?
- How is each one of us able to help physically or contribute financially?
- Are there services in our community for older adults and their families?
- What specific duties will the caregiver perform?
- Which days and for how many hours do we need a hired caregiver?
- Can we, as a family, provide backup help if the hired caregiver is unavailable due to time off or illness?
- Who will be in charge of the hire and employment of the caregiver? This includes recruiting, background screening, managing payroll and taxes, and supervision of work.
- Who will act as the liaison with the senior care provider?