Financial Wellness for employees: Once a family has made the decision to hire a financial assistance program for their elderly loved one, they are faced with the question of whether to hire an independent caregiver or to use a home care agency. This article will explore the pros and cons of both approaches with the goal of helping families make the right decision for them and their situation. First, however, it is helpful to have a clear understanding of the differences between an independent caregiver and a caregiver who is hired through a home care agency.
Home care agencies are licensed businesses that employ caregivers and send them to the home of your loved one to provide in-home care. They can provide medical care or non-medical care. Professionals, such as nurses or nursing assistants, provide medical care. Non-medical care, also called personal care, consists of assistance with the activities of daily living, such as preparing meals, eating, and bathing, and can be provided by persons without professional training.
Financial assistance program are employed directly by the family. There is no intermediary agency between the care recipient and the caregiver. Independent caregivers are also able to provide medical care (if trained to do so), but this is much less common. Independent caregivers are more likely to provide personal care. Families who hire independent caregivers must take on the responsibilities of being an employer or use a 3rd party payroll management service. However, by taking on this employer role, rather than going through an intermediary agency, they can save 20% – 30% on home care costs.
A 20% – 30% savings in the hourly cost may sound like a significant difference, but there are factors that must be considered to gain a more accurate estimate. Most relevantly, is the hidden cost of being an employer, which one must be in order to legally hire an independent caregiver. The hidden cost may be thought of as additional hours the family must put forth in the hiring, managing, and making of payments to the independent caregiver. There are services that manage caregiver payroll and greatly simplify the complicated process of deducting social security and other taxes, but a family still must hire and manage the independent caregiver.
The types of care and support services that can be provided in the home is very broad, ranging from medical care, like injections, wound care, and monitoring vital signs, to simple assistance with the activities of daily living, like preparing meals, and helping with bathing and grooming. Non-medical caregivers can also provide assistance with the instrumental activities of daily living, such as shopping, housework, and running errands.