Hidden Costs If you Hire an Independent Caregiver or "Private Hire"
The following post is provided courtesy of our colleagues at Broward Senior Care.
Hiring an Independent Caregiver Can Be More Costly Than You Think.
Daily routines can often be overwhelming for seniors and their families. Despite the best of intentions, it may be particularly difficult when friends and family are called upon to provide shopping assistance, transportation, cooking, housekeeping and other chores for their elderly loved ones. It can quickly become apparent that outside help is needed.
Out of desperation you may begin to ask yourself, “what about my neighbor, Julie. I think she did this before. Maybe she’d help out.” In hopes of saving a few dollars, you may hire Julie independently, without the assistance of a registered or licensed agency. Though this may cost less at first, it may prove more emotionally, physically and financially costly in the long-run.
Should You Hire Julie?
So you’re seriously considering hiring your neighbor. You may have lived next to each other for years, but you still need to ask yourself, “How much do I really know about her? Can I really trust this person?” To answer those questions, you should start with a thorough criminal background check. Searching Julie’s name online is not enough. You should check court and public records or hire someone do it for you. If the caregiver will be driving your loved one, it is also necessary to check that the driving record is clean; and that the caregiver is licensed and maintains adequate insurance.
In addition to criminal and driving records, you should check professional and personal references. Speak with the her previous employers. Ask how long she worked there? Why’d she leave? Would you hire her again? During your interview with Julie, ask the same questions. If her answers vary greatly, it could be a red flag.
You Hired Julie… Now What?
Now that you’ve performed all of the background checks, reference checks and personal interviews, you feel that Julie is the perfect fit. After two weeks of working, you both discover otherwise. If personality or work related issues arise, are you willing to begin the hiring process all over again? Or worse, will you do nothing and continue to suffer with sub-par care?
Suppose Julie continues working with you, but then an hour before her shift, she calls in sick. Who will care for your loved one? Julie’s friend that you’ve never met? Your friend who has no experience? Do you have a list of qualified, trustworthy, screened caregivers that you can call on short notice? Or will the task fall on you again, forcing you to lose another day of work.
You may be able to cover for Julie once, but what if she calls out again? What if she starts being late? She starts sleeping on the job and then jewelery disappears? Finally you decide it’s time to fire Julie and she files an unemployment claim. The state may later determine that you were technically an employer and failed to comply with tax or insurance laws. Suddenly hiring an agency looks a lot less expensive.
Why You Should Hire a Homemaker Companion Agency.
Homemaker companion agencies perform extensive background and driving record checks, as well as former employment and personal reference checks. Agencies have highly qualified screened caregivers on call to fill in days that your regular caregiver cant work.
By having this array of caregivers, the agency is also able to meet with you, assess your situation, and match you with a caregiver based on your needs, preferences and personality. Though this assessment will usually prevent problems from happening in the first place, if you are not happy or satisfied for any reason, the agency is able to bring in more qualified caregivers, and all you have to do is call.
Hiring an independent caregiver can work well if everything goes exactly as planned. But it could also become more time consuming, more expensive, and more dangerous than saving a few dollars an hour is worth. The first step to finding a caregiver should be contacting a homemaker companion agency, and then let them handle the caregiving process for you.
Guest Blog Post: Thank you George N. Aslanian of Broward Senior Care for your insights on The Hidden Cost of Caregiving.