There are three basic models for finding non-medical home care, and prices vary accordingly.
These can be the most expensive, yet also the most comprehensive. Caregivers are fully screened, bonded, and insured. These agencies conduct a background check, but “background check” can mean anything from a quick glimpse at a few ID documents to an extensive Live Scan screening, so be sure to ask. Some agencies provide oversight while others do not. Some agencies build a strong link to vast resources in the community, while others act as little more than an employment agency. Always ask a lot of questions. Prices range from $15 to $30 per hour, usually with a three-hour minimum. Live-in service can range from $180 to $360 per day, depending on where your loved one resides.
These are less expensive than employee-based agencies, but carry more risk. Caregivers are independent contractors, often not screened, and not subject to agency oversight. There is no workers comp insurance or full liability coverage. Again, be sure to do your homework and ask questions. The rates vary from $12 to $25 per hour, typically with a three-hour minimum. Live-ins can run from $160 to $300 per day.
While this can be the least expensive way to go, the risk is very high. That’s not to say that you can’t find a wonderful, loving caregiver who isn’t represented by an agency. But keep in mind that there is a high liability exposure with a private hire. You or another family member will need to manage the care plan and schedules, and there’s no back-up should a caregiver become ill or just not show up for work. Some private hires actually charge more than those from employee-based agencies. Diligence is key here. If you do decide to look for a private hire, get referrals from friends, co-workers, or family if you can. Local senior centers, churches, and the local Area Agency on Aging can also be helpful. Prices range from $8 to $30 per hour, usually with a three-hour minimum. Live-ins can run anywhere from $120 to $360 per day.
Always, always ask questions of the agency and the individual you’re considering hiring. See our Checklist on Finding Home Care.