When Mom and Dad need some help at home, the search for good, quality in-home care can be a bit mind-boggling. Do you hire a professional home care agency or the lady down the street who says she has experience caring for seniors and whose rates are a little less? When families turn to private caregivers for their loved ones, the decision is usually driven by cost. After all, it is cheaper to cut out the middle man and just hire a caregiver on your own, right? Well, not always. There are actually several hidden costs and significant risks that come with hiring a caregiver on your own.
Who’s the Boss? You Are!
When you hire a private caregiver (i.e. one that is not employed by an agency) you are hiring an independent contractor, and therefore you become that person’s boss. Being the boss might sound great in some respects, but you are also assuming all of a boss’s responsibilities and liabilities.
Whether you hire a caregiver for part-time or full-time work, as his or her employer you may be obligated to withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. Also, while home care agencies have workers’ compensation insurance to cover their employees in the event of injury, you, as the “boss” of a privately hired caregiver, will be liable for any injuries that the caregiver receives on your property, including the caregiver’s medical expenses and disability, which can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the severity of the accident or the type of care needed.
It may be very tempting to hire a neighbor or a friend to help care for a loved one. Perhaps your mom and her neighbor Sally get along great. You know she’d feel comfortable with Sally doing some chores around the house or even helping her get dressed. However, what happens when Sally gets the flu, needs to go visit family for a few weeks, or has a car accident? What if you’ve hired a caregiver you didn’t previously know, and he or she simply doesn’t show up to work?
With any privately hired caregiver, even a friend, there is always a question of who will step in if the caregiver can’t make it. Your loved one may be left alone all day without help or you or another family member may have to take off work to help for several days or weeks.
The Potential for Abuse
Most people who choose to work with seniors are kind and compassionate people. However, elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation remains a serious issue in our country. Seniors have been physically, emotionally, and financially abused by caretakers, and many seniors are too scared or unable to speak up when the abuse happens. When hiring a caregiver as an independent contractor, you are responsible for conducting background and reference checks to ensure that the person you are hiring is who he or she claims to be and does not pose a risk to your loved one.
Get Care You Can Trust
Hiring caregivers independently comes with many risks to both your family and your loved one, but working with a professional, qualified home care agency can help remove those risks and give you peace of mind. Regency Home Care of Georgia’s caregivers are all employed by our agency and bonded and insured for your utmost protection. You’ll never have to worry about your caregiver’s taxes, workers’ compensation insurance, medical expenses, etc. That’s all taken care of by us. We also conduct extensive background and reference checks and closely monitor our caregivers to ensure that each person we hire is the best of the best. And because we employ multiple caregivers, you’ll always have a back-up plan in place in the event that your caregiver is sick or out for any other reason.
At Regency Home Care, the quality of our staff and the care they provide are our most important assets. We’re proud that our caregivers are not only experienced professionals, but also certified by Caregiver Quality Assurance. Learn more about our Caregiver Quality Assurance certification here.