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Aging in Place: Is Privately Hiring Senior Care an Answer?

Posted by Kathleen Webb on 5/29/14 8:39 AM

I recently met with a group of Geriatric Care Managers (GCM) to learn more about how they help their aging clients, and to brief them on upcoming changes to payroll laws that impact senior care.

aging in place private senior caregiverI asked these professionals what a family's primary goal is when they engage a GCM. The number one answer, overwhelmingly, is the family wants to keep the aging family member at home and avoid a nursing home environment as long as possible. This is so common that the term "aging in place" has entered our vocabulary and an entire host of services and products are coming to the market to meet this need.

Think about some of the things you see advertised on television and in magazines. From Oxo Good Grip kitchen utensils to walk in tubs, the "help, I've fallen" emergency alert pendants and home delivered 'disposables', the aging in place movement is strong and growing.

There comes a time though when gagets alone are not sufficient - our aging seniors will require increasing levels of personal services to remain safely at home. It may start gradually and friend and family may step in to help with grocery shopping, or driving to a doctor's appointment. Eventually, more regular support care (non-medical) is needed and seniors will consider hiring help in their home. There are essentially two options - hiring an agency who employs the senior caregiver or homemaker, or privately hiring a caregiver.

Agency hiring creates the least administrative burden for the family - the agency deals with payroll, taxes, insurance, staffing and scheduling. This comes at a cost - a family will expect to spend $20 - 35 an hour to the agency, and there are often minimums of 3 or 4 hours per visit. The caregiver will typically receive 50% or less of this fee as their wage, and turnover of agency staff is generally quite high. According to a survey by SeniorCaregiverList.com, the average agency employed senior caregiver earns $8 - $12 an hour. 

Many families look for alternatives to an agency hire, especially in situations where full time companionship is required. A family who privately hires will typically better compensate the caregiver ($10 - $14 an hour for full time companionship, and $12 - $15 an hour for scheduled come and go caregivers) and find that their staff retention is improved. The GCMs I spoke to were delighted to learn that services such as HomeWork Solutions' Payroll will deal with much of the administrative activities of payroll, tax reporting, even workers' compensation insurance. The family will pay approximately 15% more than the caregiver's wage for payroll taxes and workers' compensation insurance and another $800-1000 for the payroll and tax servcies. 

Quick Cost Comparison:
Senior HomeCare Cost Agency Private Hire 

For a more thorough discussion, please download our free Guide to Privately Hiring Senior Caregivers.



Families with questions about privately hired caregivers, payroll and insurance issues and our household payroll services are invited to phone for a free telephone consultation weekdays at 800.626.4829.

Topics: aging in place

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