Safe or Sorry

by Lois Etienne on April 25, 2011

in Caregiver Support,Legal

With all of the “incidents” that make it to the headlines these days, why do seniors and their families still start their search for the cheapest caregiver? I sometimes get on my soapbox about the fact that families should only hire licensed agencies to provide care for their mom or dad.  Hiring someone off the street, from a newspaper ad, your neighbor’s daughter or even from a registry does not begin to afford you the protection you get from working with a licensed home care agency.

So, let’s try out the “cheaper” theory. You’ve found someone who says they will work for $12/hr to work 5 days a week from 8am until 4pm; that’s $480 per week. Now remember, YOU are their employer so the government may be looking at you to make sure they pay their taxes. Then this lovely person needs to take off a day about once a week and you’re stuck trying to find coverage. They decide, on Friday, to take a week of vacation starting Monday! You take off from work to care for mom because you can’t find anyone on such short notice. While you’re at mom’s house, you notice that a few things are missing and mom mentions that she fell last week and her leg hurts. Okay, now you have to get mom to the doctor and call the insurance company about the missing items. But now you really start to look around and realize mom’s checkbook is missing. A quick call to the bank and you realize this lovely person has taken off on her vacation with over $6000 of mom’s money! Now we get the police involved! So in four weeks, you’ve paid out $1632 for the caregiver’s wages, lost over $6000 in theft, lost about $1200 in your own wages…that’s $8,832 AND you only have one nerve left!!!

Okay, how about instead…you hire agency ABC. They interview, screen, background check, TB test, drug test and train many different people for you and your mother to choose from. They also are the employer, not you, so they take care of all of the taxes. If the caregiver falls over a chair at mom’s and hurts herself, agency ABC’s insurance covers it. The management from agency ABC comes out unannounced occasionally and talks to the client and family regularly to make sure the caregiver is doing what she’s supposed to do.  And should a bad caregiver get through the system and misappropriate funds, not only will the agency deal with the police with you but they have insurance to cover such losses. Now, for 4 weeks at $25/hr at 40 hrs/wk AND peace of mind, you’ve spent $4000. The $12/hr doesn’t sound like such a bargain after all.

Am I cynical, probably, but as this industry grows, those who know how to take advantage of others will. Go with the best for mom and the comfort and peace of mind of working with a licensed home care agency. And of course, I’m going to recommend Home Instead Senior Care…no surprise there!

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rhonda April 25, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Great article, Lois!

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