How to Hire a Caregiver

caregivinghope.org expert advice on caregivingAdult children who provide care and support for aging parents often find themselves short of time and energy to “do it all.” Hiring in-home help, when the resources are available, can be a solution.

There are several basic strategies that families can use to find help. Hiring through a licensed agency is the tried and true, most secure approach. Home care agencies in many states, including Illinois are required, by law, to pre-screen workers and provide ongoing training. Agencies pay their workers directly, taking all required deductions. When you hire through an agency, substitute caregivers are the agency’s responsibility. Agencies typically charge anywhere from $18 – $30 per hour for personal care services, which might include: light housekeeping, shopping, meal preparation, driving, laundry, companionship, assistance with personal hygiene, medication reminders, escort to appointments and more. These prices will vary by region.
 
Some families seek outside help through their personal networks of family, friends and co workers, finding this to be a less expensive option. While rates for people hired on a private basis are usually negotiable, it is the family’s responsibility to seek references and comply with all IRS regulations regarding deductions for social security and worker’s compensation.
 
However one finds in-home help, some basic rules of thumb apply:
  • Realize that older or ill family members tend to become dependent on and emotionally attached to their caregivers, making it difficult to “keep things on a strictly business only basis.”
  • It is important to designate a family member who can manage the hiring and ongoing care relationship in a businesslike manner.
  • Family members should prepare a care protocol or clear job description for the in-home worker and meet regularly to evaluate the care being provided.
The following sections may assist you in finding help for your loved ones: