In-Home Care

Pros and Cons of Hiring Senior Care Through An Agency


Are you in a bind and need home care for the senior you’ve been looking after? There are a few options, all at different price points and with different benefits and drawbacks.

If you need in-home senior care for the long-term, these are generally your choices:

  • Hire someone privately you’ve found yourself, through word-of-mouth, a website that lists caregivers for hire
  • Hire someone you know personally
  • Hire someone through an agency

Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each choice.

Hiring A Senior Caregiver Privately
Deciding to take it upon yourself to hire a caregiver can add stress to an already-stressful time. You’ll want to conduct interviews, complete background checks, and then the choice is all on you. Remember, you’ll also need to fill out paperwork related to hiring an employee in your home, take out taxes and unemployment insurance, and issue a W-2 form at the end of the year.

You may save money by eliminating the “middle man” of working with an agency, and are certainly in a better position to negotiate costs, since agencies typically have set rates. You might also have more flexibility in terms of hours and the duties they would perform, although you don’t want to fall into the trap of having a caregiver perform duties they might not be qualified for, such as dispensing medication.

Hiring Someone You Know Personally
If you hire a friend or another relative to care for your aging loved one, you can certainly streamline the hiring process, eliminating formal interviews and background checks. You might also save even more money. But it could come with many drawbacks and even put the relationship at risk. What if it doesn’t work out? Firing a friend or relative can be awkward to say the least.

If they take a lot of days off, you might feel funny speaking to them about it. And, unfortunately, many people do try to take advantage if they know they are working for a friend or family member.

Finally, people often get awkward when money changes hands. You’re better off relying on a close friend or family member to come and enjoy visits with your loved one, or maybe even help out once in a while if your caregiver isn’t scheduled for a specific time and you need a hand. It’s much better to keep the relationship friendship-based to avoid pressure, obligations or weirdness.

Hiring Someone Through An Agency
You might pay slightly more for in-home care through an agency, but there is a lot you won’t have to do. You are choosing in-home care because you don’t have the time or emotional energy to offer full-time care to the senior yourself, or maybe for a number of other reasons. Either way, the decision to hire in-home care is supposed to reduce your stress related to caregiving – not add other stress that equates to being an employer.

Interim Health Care, an organization that’s been providing home, hospice and senior care since 1966, issued a consumer alert detailing many of the benefits of choosing a caregiver through an agency:

  • Caregivers are employed by the agency, which means you do not manage taxes, reporting and payroll. You just pay the agency the same way you pay any other bill.
  • The agency performs background checks and drug tests, so you don’t have to go through the hassle and expense.
  • Caregivers are fully vetted, screened ,and trained by the agency. You don’t have to fill the role of a human resources director to find a caregiver for your loved one.
  • Agencies should carry liability insurance and cover their employees with insurance and worker’s compensation, so you are not liability if anyone is hurt.
  • If your caregiver gets sick, calls out or doesn’t show up, the agency will send a replacement. There will be no change in the quality of service.

Making the Choice for In-Home Care
Of course, there may be certain circumstances, including budget, where you are forced to hire a friend or family member. Or maybe you really connected with someone you interviewed, your caregiver loved them, and you are willing to take on the added burdens of being an employer just to be able to hire this specific caregiver. That’s fine.

But in most cases, caregivers should at least explore the option of hiring through an agency first. Just make sure you perform due diligence to ensure the agency has a solid reputation, is licensed, bonded and insured, and is willing to offer references. You’re hiring in-home care to receive some help during a rough time. Your in-home caregiver should provide you with peace-of-mind, not additional headaches.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (877) 345-1706 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.

Four Conversations to Have with Siblings Before Aging Parents Need a Caregiver


One of the biggest challenge caregivers face is dividing duties and decision-making amongst siblings. An aging parent who needs care can, inadvertently, wreck sibling relationships. And that’s the last thing a parent wants to do in the last years of their life.

Handled properly, however, caring for an aging parent can bring siblings closer together, not rip them apart. Proper preparation is the key. Having crucial discussions before a parent needs round-the-clock care, when you can see the writing on the wall and know the day isn’t far off when you’ll need to discuss care options, can help make decisions easier and keep siblings acting as friends and allies in the fight to keep an aging parent happy and comfortable.

Here are four aspects of senior care to discuss with siblings before it’s too late.

Division of Duties, or Who Can Do What… and When
The title of primary caregiver often falls to the eldest child. But this isn’t necessarily the right choice. Similarly, the burden of caregiving may fall on the sibling who lives closest to the parent, simply out of necessity.

Evaluate your roles in the family before your parent needs care. Even though the oldest may have been the “take charge” type in earlier years, maybe they have young children of their own, a very demanding job, or limited financial means. On the other hand, maybe a younger sibling has the lifestyle and income to be able to take on care of the parent with less disruption to their own life. Don’t automatically assume the eldest should become the decision maker and primary caregiver. The job should fall on the sibling or siblings who can, and is most willing, to provide the level of care the parent needs.

Remember, shared caregiving duties, when possible, can alleviate stress. Having someone to share the workload makes things easier. But it’s important to discuss exactly who will do what, and set the intention to create a schedule when the time comes. Important duties, from lawn maintenance to doctor’s appointments, shouldn’t be skipped just because everyone thought someone else was taking care of it.

Your Parent’s Wishes
Obviously, your parent’s wishes, in terms of where they live and who provides most of their care, must factor into the decision. The time to have this discussion is now while your parent still understands the implications of what you’re talking about and can provide informed opinions and feedback.

Does your parent want to age-in-place as long as possible or would they prefer a nursing home or assisted living community? Is it okay – and is the money available – to bring in home care if they want to age in place, and can you implement technology, from monitoring systems to home automation, to make it easier for the parent to live independently longer?

You’ll also want to have a discussion about money available to care for the parent, and how much of the burden of paying for senior care will fall on adult children. If your parent doesn’t already have a will, this discussion could also include the first steps to drawing up a will.

Who Will Manage the Money and Pay for Senior Care?
While this is part of the conversation you’ll have with your aging parent, you should also have a frank discussion with siblings.

Often, the child who provides care is also the one who manages the money if a parent isn’t able to. This is the child who gets power of attorney for the parent’s affairs. It’s important to honor a parent’s wishes as far as how money is divided, both before their death and after.

Who Makes Decisions About the Parent’s Care?
Often, the person controlling the purse strings and also providing the most care for the parent feels they have the right to make all the decisions. Discuss how much feedback other siblings can offer and how much say they can have in the care of their parent if they are not the primary caregiver.

This can get especially complicated if children are sharing caregiving duties. Who gets the final say? The possibility of hiring a mediator or arbitrator is always available if siblings can’t compromise or work together to make the decision that’s best for the parent.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (877) 345-1706 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.

How to Transition from Hospital to In-Home Health Care


While a hospitalization is common for older adults, it is still a scary and stressful situation for seniors, their families, and caregivers. As we age, our bodies take much longer to heal and discharge is often followed by extended periods of rehabilitation, either in skilled nursing facilities or at home. One of the most troublesome areas of seniors’ hospitalization is the transition period between leaving in-patient care and going to aftercare.

According to an Inside Elder Care article, Medicare statistics report that one in five senior patients will be readmitted to the hospital within thirty days of discharge. To prevent this and ensure a smooth shift to rehab, the proper preparation and attention to detail will make all the difference in a successful outcome.

If a home-based recovery is planned, as the patient’s discharge is discussed, the doctor, nurses, and other healthcare providers will begin planning what will be needed at home. Arrangements for obtaining medical equipment, such as oxygen or assistive devices for showering and using the toilet can be made early on in the patient’s care. Any accommodations to the patient’s living quarters will also need to be addressed, like making room for a hospital bed.

Medications and Necessary Care
Medication management is another area of prospective risk to older adults. Understanding any new medications and/or dosage requirements is critical. New treatments, such as physical therapy will have their own special requirements. These services are a key part of what is offered by home health care agency professionals. The in-home care required for the patient will vary per the doctor’s plan. Some older adults will only need nursing and therapies several times a week while others will require 24-hour care.

Communication between healthcare personnel, the patient, and family is especially important. If you are assisting in the care of the patient, be sure you understand the scope of that care and what will be involved. Ask questions and contact the home health care coordinators with any concerns. If there are any changes made in the patient’s care plan, ask to be informed of the details and purpose.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (877) 345-1706 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.

The Growing Trend of Homecare Nationally


This guest post is contributed by Shelly Sun, CEO and co-founder of BrightStar Care®, a premium healthcare staffing company providing the full continuum of care, from private homecare to people of all ages, to supplemental staffing for medical facilities, including hospitals, independent/assisted living facilities and doctors’ offices.

The aging population is growing rapidly: Roughly 10,000 baby boomers are becoming seniors each day. By 2015, those over 50 will represent 45 percent of the U.S. population, which means that there is an ever-increasing demand for businesses that cater to senior citizens.

Every year, more and more senior citizens decide to “age in place,” a trend that allows them to age comfortably within the familiar surroundings of their own homes. And according to a recent survey by AARP, nearly all adults over the age of 50 want to stay in their homes as they age.

In addition, many nurses across the nation are looking for alternative career options to working in a hospital. In-home healthcare agencies allow nurses the opportunity to utilize their skill sets in an unconventional sector of the industry. This career path also provides flexible work hours and offers nurses the ability to develop strong, personal relationships with patients.

The high demand stemming from seniors aging in place, coupled with the fact that the in-home nursing profession offers an alternative, rewarding job within the healthcare industry, is driving the demand for high-quality, professional homecare throughout the nation.

My name is Shelly Sun and I am the co-founder and CEO of BrightStar Care, a full-service home care franchise that provides both medical and non-medical care to people of all ages —from infants to elders. Our more than 250 offices across the country employ more than 16,000 certified nursing assistants, home health aides, and nurses — including 2,000 registered nurses, 2,300 Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs).

My husband JD and I founded BrightStar Care in 2002 after having tremendous difficulty finding high-quality home healthcare for my husband’s grandmother. Today, there are many more options available to families in need of outside assistance and the total number of options will only continue to grow. As a matter of fact, according to the latest projections from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 581,500 new nursing positions will be created through 2018 (a 22.2% increase).

Whether it is recently graduated nursing students or people that have been working in offices or hospitals for many years who are looking for a career change, in-home healthcare is becoming a lucrative and rewarding career option. Families with sick or aging loved ones can now find home care agencies that offer caregiving and companionship services, as well as high-level medical care, too — like infusion therapy, hospice assistance, pediatric nursing, and physical therapy. An agency like BrightStar Care will work with a family to assess the care needs of their loved one to ensure they feel safe, healthy, empowered, respected and comfortable.

While you may not know right away exactly which type of care your loved one needs, one thing is certain: with the recent growth within the industry, the right choice for your loved one is out there — all you have to do is find it.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (877) 345-1706 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.

Should You Hire a Home Caregiver or Move to Assisted Living?


Making the decision to move to an assisted living community or a nursing home, or to stay at home and hire someone to help you with every day tasks, house cleaning, cooking and even possibly personal hygiene care, can be a difficult decision. A number of factors will influence the choice. Here are a few of the variables to consider.

Do You Have Friends, Family and Other Available Caregivers?
If you have family members willing to help with your care, you can save considerable money on your care by staying at home and letting family members shoulder the burden, while hiring in-home care for just a few hours a week. If you don’t need 24/7 hour assistance or someone to monitor your health around the clock, staying at home and hiring help is a cost-effective solution to take care of every day aspects of life that you’re no longer able to manage.

How Much Do You Pay for Your Home, Including Expenses?
Staying home or moving to an assisted living community, unfortunately, is often a matter of budget and finance. While it would be ideal to make the decision based on emotional and practical factors, rather than what is more cost-effective, the fact is that seniors on a fixed income must budget carefully.

In an assisted living facility, most of your expenses, including travel and some meals, may be covered under one monthly fee. If you continue to live in your home, you’ll have to pay utility bills and an added monthly bill to cover in-home care.

A move to an assisted living community may be covered by other types of insurance. Not all insurance will pay for in-home care. Medicare, your insurance company or a financial advisor can help you run the numbers and determine the best financial choice.

Are You Ready to Move?
The housing market is picking up, so this may not be as much of a concern as it was even a year ago. An ideal situation for many people would be to sell the house and make enough on the sale to cover the move to an assisted living community.

If, for some reason, you can’t (or don’t want to) sell your home right now or rent it out, the best decision is to look for in-home care.

Freedom: At Home or In a New Community
Whether you hire in-home care or move to assisted living, you don’t have to give up the freedom you treasure. Assisted living communities often have organized outings and day trips, and most provide plenty of fun activities for the members without leaving the communities. You may find your social life thriving in a senior community.

On the other hand, if you already have a strong social network right in your neighborhood, staying where you are may appeal. You might also become friends with your in-home caregiver, but they should not have to represent your whole social life. A home caregiver can drive you to senior events but if your community doesn’t have a lot to offer for the elder population, an assisted living community may offer more in the way of an active lifestyle that will help you stay sharp and stave off depression, which can often occur when seniors realize they can no longer care for themselves the way they used to.

The Bottom Line on Getting Care
In-home care is available at any level, providing the same assistance residents would receive in a nursing home, or simply dropping by a few times a week to help with chores.

Ultimately, the decision to stay home and receive care or move to an assisted living facility hinges not on the type and quality of care you need, but on where you would prefer to receive that care. The amenities at many nursing homes and assisted living communities could make moving a desirable option.

SeniorLiving.Net is a free service for families to use that are looking for senior care or senior living for a loved one. Call (877) 345-1706 to speak to your local Care Advisor about senior care providers in your local area.


Thorough Research Helps Ensure Senior Care Safety


If you’re looking for some form of care for an elderly loved one, your research has to go beyond doing a Google search and making a couple of calls. In fact, you’ll want to dig deep into the credentials, backgrounds, and consumer reviews of potential caregivers and/or facilities before you put your loved one in someone else’s hands.

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What Type of Senior Care is Right

When families reach out to our Care Advisors while searching for senior living options, one of the most frequently asked questions is “what type of care does my loved one really need?” Choosing between assisted living, memory care, nursing home care, independent living or home care can be an overwhelming process and we’re here to help! We’ve highlighted a few scenarios and paired them with the appropriate type of senior care is.

For FREE help locating senior living in your local area call (877) 345-1706.

Q. My dad has been forgetful lately. I’ve taken him to the doctor’s office and the doctor said he has early onset dementia. I’d like for him to be surrounded by other seniors, but I don’t think that he’s ready to live in a memory care community since he is in the very early stages. What type of senior living is right for him?

A. In this case, one of the best choices would to be to find a senior living community that offers both assisted living and memory care. These communities will allow him to move into the assisted living part of the community and when the dementia or Alzheimer’s disease progresses, he can be moved to the memory care units which will provide specialized care for his dementia.

Request additional information about assisted living communities that offer memory care

Q. My family thinks that it’s time to move my Aunt into a nursing home because none of us has enough time to care for her around the clock. She can’t cook on her own and needs help doing laundry and a few other daily activities, but I don’t think she needs nursing care. Are there any other options that would help her with the daily activities she needs assistance with, without moving her to a nursing home?

A. Assisted living was designed for this specific reason. Before the early 1990’s family members that couldn’t care for their elderly loved ones had no option other than nursing home care. That is when assisted living facilities started to pop up around the country. Assisted living communities provide three meals a day with snacks throughout the day for its residents so they do not have to worry about cooking. They also provide light housekeeping services that are typically included in the monthly rent, including laundry. Assisted living will also be a less expensive option and since she sounds as though she is still mostly independent, this is a great option to look into.

Request additional information about assisted living communities near you

Q. I work full time and my mother needs more attention than I can afford to give her during the day while I’m at work. I have a daughter who is in high school and my husband works full time as well and the rest of my close family members live out of state. The amount of care my mom needs during the day makes me worried about leaving her home along for too long, but no one else is in the house consistantly enough to help her. Should I look into assisted living or is home care a better option?

A. Although assisted living is a good option, needing her to be cared for only a few hours of the day while no one is home might be better accommodated for with in-home senior care. Depending on the  home care company, a caregiver can come into the home anywhere between a few hours a day to staying there around the clock with your mom. It sounds like hiring an in-home caregiver for eight or less hours a day is exactly what you need. This will still allow you to care for your mother when you get home from work and on your days off, you can make the caregiver’s schedule to fill in those holes. Keep assisted living in mind though because that might be a better alternative down the road if your mom’s needs every increase.

Request additional information about in-home care companies or assisted living

Q. After retirement, my parents moved to Florida. Recently, my dad has been falling more often and might need care soon, which might be too difficult for my mom to provide on her own. My mom is really active still and doesn’t want to be stuck in a nursing home or assisted living community being the only active person there. What senior care options do we have to provide the lifestyle mom wants and the care dad needs?

A. Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) are senior living communities that provide all the different levels of senior care all in one place. Your mom can move into the independent living part of the community and continue to be the primary caregiver to your father until he does need additional care. Most residents at CCRCs enter at the independent living level and then age in place by receiving the elevated amount of care that is necessary. This way your mom will be surrounded by active seniors and your dad can get the care he needs down the road.

Request information about CCRCs near you

As you can see there are many different options for receiving senior care. Since none of us age at the same rate, finding a senior living community that will provide multiple levels of care is a great way to ease the transition into senior living or allow spouses to stay together even if one require more care than the other.

SeniorLiving.Net is a FREE referral source for families that are looking for senior care. If you are still unsure about what level of senior care is appropriate for your loved one, or would like to start researching senior living communities in your area, call (877) 345-1706.

Making the Home Senior Friendly

It’s a simple fact – most seniors want to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. The problem is, as we become older we may require some help to stay safe and secure in our homes. There are some things that can be done to add more stability to our homes. Adding these options will not only help the seniors stay safe but will also give you and your loved ones peace of mind if the senior is ever alone.

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Downsizing Your Home

Looking at the accumulation of stuff in your home can be somewhat overwhelming.  Whether you’re planning on moving, going to a retirement home, or simply staying put, downsizing your home can make sense. By eliminating the excess items you’ll have a neat and orderly home and you won’t need to worry about caring for your things. 

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Warning Signs that a Senior is Struggling

Mary Alexander from Home Instead Senior Care, talks about the warning signs that your parent or senior loved one might already be struggling with mobility and some ways to help in this video.

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