Hiring Caregivers: Home Care Agency vs. Contractor
After months of back-and-forth discussion, you’ve finally reached an agreement: Mom’s ready for some in-home care assistance, just for a few hours a week for now, to help with tasks around the house and with transportation to the grocery store and doctors’ appointments. One of Mom’s neighbors found a caregiver through the “help wanted” section of the paper, and raves about how cheap her services are. She does have some extra availability; might she be a good fit for Mom as well?
Before making the phone call to enlist this caregiver’s services, it’s important to realize several little known, but crucial differences between individual caregivers and those hired through a professional home care agency. For example:
- Cost. Although at first glance it seems like a great deal to hire the individual whose hourly rates are so low, there are actually some hidden costs that could potentially become astronomical. Hiring an individual caregiver – an independent contractor – makes you the employer; meaning you’re responsible for all tax obligations such as Social Security, payroll, worker’s compensation and unemployment taxes. You could also be liable for medical or disability costs in the event that the caregiver becomes injured or ill as a result of her duties in the home. With a home care agency that hires their caregivers, all applicable taxes are covered, as well as any potential liability issues.
- Dependability. All caregivers experience at some point a conflict that prevents them from upholding their agreed-upon commitment, whether it’s a sickness, vacation, family emergency, etc. What happens when Mom’s caregiver isn’t available? Is there a backup plan in place? Professional in-home care agencies provide fully trained and experienced backup caregivers in the event that the assigned caregiver is unavailable for any reason.
- Supervision. One individual providing solo care opens up the door to the possibility of abuse or exploitation. Home care agencies, on the other hand, perform criminal background and reference checks on their employees, and provide the supervision that ensures safety and high quality care.
Your senior loved one is so precious to you; we hope you’ll carefully consider her safety and wellbeing in determining whether to hire an individual caregiver, or to work through a trusted home care agency, such as Home & Hearth Caregivers. Serving seniors throughout DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, Will and the surrounding Illinois counties with supervised caregiving from fully screened and trained staff, partnering with Home & Hearth Caregivers provides you with the peace of mind that your senior will be safe, comfortable, and engaged in an enhanced quality of life. Contact us at 800-349-0663 with any questions or to get started.