Staying independent as we age is easier said than done.
However, most people don’t like the idea of living in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
If your elderly parents are currently at a point where they need assistance in their everyday activities, you can hire a live-in caregiver or 24-hour care.
How Do Live-In Caregivers Differ From 24-Hour Care?
It is actually quite easy to confuse live-in caregivers with 24-hour care. While they both offer the same general types of care, there are some differences between them.
Live-in caregivers are available 24 hours a day, but the caregiver sleeps at night since he/she lives onsite. He/she also gets personal breaks and lunch breaks. For 24-hour care, shifts are typically 8 to 12 hours long, and the caregiver never sleeps during his/her shift. Simply put, assistance and supervision are available 24 hours a day.
For 24-hour care, there’s usually a minimum of 2 regular caregivers responsible for providing care for the elderly person. With live-in caregivers, however, it is usually just one caregiver. Still, you might need to hire a second caregiver, or family and friends may be required to step in to provide care if the elderly person cannot be left unattended.
Why Choose a Live-In Caregiver Rather Than 24-Hour Care?
Care recipients that choose live-in caregivers benefit from the presence of somebody with them during the day and providing care for their loved one at night time too. Having opted to remain in the comfort and sanctity of their homes, such recipients of care prefer live-in caregivers for a variety of reasons, which include:
- Lower Cost: You can save considerable money if you hire a live-in caregiver rather than 24-hour care provided by 2 or 3-shift personnel. You control the care, and it’s probably cheaper than paying for a nursing home.
- Better Communication: The family members of the elderly person receiving the care enjoy talking to just one caregiver when calling for updates on their loved one’s health.
- Easy Transitioning: Live-in caregivers are the ideal option for elderly persons recovering from illness or injury because they never have to deal with nervous periods when shift changes are underway.
- Greater Reliability: Live-in caregivers can develop greater bonds between themselves and the elderly persons they care for.
Based on these reasons, it is clearly evident that a live-in caregiver is a better option for your elderly parents than assisted living facilities or nursing homes.
What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of a Live-In Caregiver?
A live-in caregiver typically provides the same care regimen as 24-care providers, which includes:
- Chores such as cleaning, running errands, cooking, transportation to appointments, banking, and laundry
- Essential daily living needs, i.e., assistance with bathing, grooming, dressing, feeding, functional mobility, and using the toilet.
- Companionship, i.e., providing social interaction, thereby reducing depression caused by loneliness and isolation
- Reducing the risk of injury and physical strain that’s associated with doing chores, falling down, etc.
- Communicating with family members as well as the rest of the medical team
- Providing peace of mind to the senior as well as his/her family members
- Monitoring and assistance with medical and health conditions, such as medication reminders
Where Can You Find a Live-In Caregiver?
If you are looking to hire a live-in caregiver for your elderly loved one, here are some of the options available to you:
You can find a live-in caregiver in the classified sections of magazines and newspapers, through personal referrals, on referral websites, or in lists provided by public senior agencies. You can also independently find a caregiver through personal ads, screening, and interviewing.
A privately hired live-in caregiver can realistically work a live-in schedule for anywhere between $100 and $125 a day. However, it is important to note that this is only possible if the family pays for his/her rent, food, beverages, electricity, etc.
People often assume that hiring privately is the cheapest way to find a live-in caregiver. However, you should consider the costs of taxes, payroll, auto insurance, and worker’s compensation. You probably won’t be able to vet them as well as an agency. So, this might not be the easiest, safest, or even cheapest option.
The worst thing about taking this route is that you would have to repeat this exercise whenever one caregiver leaves for another job. It would then be up to you to fill in or find another caregiver whenever the primary caregiver is sick or needs time off.
Home Care Agencies
A home care agency basically handles all responsibilities. It continually hires new caregivers so that by the time you need one, it can provide you with a live-in caregiver that’s the right fit for the needs of your loved one.
A home care agency thoroughly vets its caregivers. This includes undertaking reference and criminal background checks. If the primary caregiver needs time off, the home care agency fills in with another caregiver.
A home care agency also supervises caregivers on assignment regularly and can even pay the caregiver’s benefits, taxes, and wages and then bill you with all expenses paid. The cost associated with getting a live-in caregiver through a home care agency ranges anywhere from $350 to $450 a day.
Referral agencies refer caregivers and allow clients to hire them directly as employees. These agencies provide you with a list of qualified persons to interview. They pre-screen the candidates, train them, and ensure they are legally authorized to work in the country.
Through referrals and guidance, referral agencies can provide clients with necessities such as payroll services, auto insurance, worker’s compensation, and even information about local regulations. Clients choose their preferred caregiver but are also provided the resources they need for tax and legal compliance.
Referral agencies are the perfect compromise between being completely on your own and paying the high cost associated with a home care agency. If you hire a live-in caregiver through a referral agency, you can expect to pay anywhere from $250 to $350 daily, but this will vary from state to state.
How to Vet a Live-In Caregiver
You must take some precautionary measures to protect your loved one (and their property) regardless of how you hire the live-in caregiver.
Here are the things you need to look for before you hire a live-in caregiver:
Criminal Background Check
When dealing with a referral or home care agency, it is important to determine whether the prospective caregiver has been “Live Scanned.”
A Live Scan is a report that requires fingerprinting and reports all arrests, dispositions, court cases, sentences and probations, and any other post-conviction orders. A Live Scan also shows civil matters such as civil contempt findings, restraining orders, and other law-enforcement-related issues.
Worker’s Compensation Insurance
This covers the live-in caregiver should they get injured on the job. In some states, Homeowner’s Insurance policies automatically include Worker’s Compensation. But be sure to check the fine print. It might state that it covers workers who are in the home for less than 10 hours every week.
It protects your loved one if something valuable in the home of your loved one is damaged or in case of negligence. If your loved one is injured due to a caregiver’s neglect, liability insurance will compensate.
If the live-in caregiver owns a car, you must ensure that it is insured. It is usually a red flag when the caregiver drives to work but cannot produce evidence of auto insurance coverage.
Non-Owned Auto Insurance
Call your insurance agent and add the live-in caregiver to the automobile insurance policy before they drive your loved one around.
Valid Driver’s License
The live-in caregiver you hire should have a valid driver’s license. Remember to check for moving violations, DUIs, and/or suspensions.
It typically covers fraud recovery costs, financial mismanagement, theft, and embezzlement. The bonding company may provide compensation before adjudicating the claim depending on the circumstances and the amount.
The Bottom Line
During our senior years, we need to consider hiring a dedicated caregiver if we start developing serious problems with memory, mobility, or overall health. A senior citizen, such as an elderly parent living alone at home, may need to consider dedicated caregiving assistance. This can often be an option for moving and downsizing their current home.
A Live-in caregiver will help with the senior’s everyday needs and is important to providing them the care that they need. They help make sure that the senior’s home is clean and tidy. They prepare meals and even clean up afterward. Also, they do the laundry and help with running errands, including getting to medical appointments.
The information provided here should get you started searching for the right live-in caregiver for your needs. If you hire a live-in caregiver for your elderly parent, he/she will be eternally grateful, and you will have peace of mind knowing that your loved one is being properly taken care of.
Do you have any experience with live-in caregivers to share? Advice and questions are always welcome in the comments below!
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