Private Care Vs. Agency Care

It can be an incredibly emotional experience when the time comes that an aging parent needs care that you or other family members cannot provide. Though you know them best, and love them more than anyone could, their current state of mind or physical limitations may be outside of your expertise to handle. The obvious choice, and the one that offers the most comfort to your loved one is that they receive their care at home. The question becomes, how do we proceed? Do we hire someone directly ourselves, or do we work with a home care agency?

For those who are considering private care, it is imperative to consider all that is involved in hiring someone directly. Even if you have a family friend, or someone you trust immensely, there are many legal aspects to becoming an employer, which is essentially what you will become. First, meet with an accountant. It needs to be determined how a caregiver can be paid, if they can be considered a contractor, meaning they are responsible for their own taxes, or if they must have a W-2, meaning that you are responsible for deducting their federal and state taxes, matching their federal taxes as an employer, and paying unemployment taxes. Second, you need to establish whether or not they are insured for the care that they are providing, and determine as well what insurance coverage you have (home, health) that may be used should some type of accident occur with either your loved one or the caretaker. Third, depending upon what level of care your loved one needs, what plans are in place when your caretaker is sick or needs a vacation? Fourth, how will you determine how well your loved one is being cared for when you are not around? And finally, is the person you are hiring have any type of professional training or emergency aide certifications such as CPR?

The benefits of hiring a home care agency are numerous. First, they are fully licensed and insured, and do thorough background checks of their employees. Second, their caregivers have experience dealing with a myriad of elder issues and have received professional training. Third, they have an established protocol to follow should an emergency arise with your loved one while in the care of their home care aide. Fourth, they have contingency plans in place should your caregiver become suddenly ill. Finally, and most importantly, there is accountability for the care provided. Their procedures ensure continuous oversight and monitoring. If for some reason the personalities of the caregiver and your parent are not the best fit, there are other caregivers on their staff that you can meet with and interview with until the perfect match is achieved. Also, should an emergency arise when they are not there, there are procedures in place that allow you to get in touch with someone who is “on call” who can assist you.

Choosing which home care agency to work with can be daunting, and once you have chosen, it may be difficult to determine that you are getting the best caregivers on their staff. There will always be those caregivers who are special, and are the top caregivers within an agency.

At Advocare, we offer a free service to members of our community through our Home Care Provider Network. Based on our years of experience as geriatric care managers, and our numerous connections and affiliations with local agencies, we can refer you to the best caregivers within the home care agencies in our area. If you want as well to have additional oversight for your aging parent, then you can hire us as well to provide care management, working in tandem with the home care agency.

To learn more about all of the services we offer, visit us at We serve the South Florida areas of Boca Raton, Boyton, Delray Beach, Palm Beach and other surrounding areas.

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