As our loved ones get older, we start thinking of the best options for them. When they can no longer perform certain tasks or need assistance with daily living due to failing health, it’s time to consider getting a home caregiver. When this happens, many of us get stuck in choosing between private caregiver vs agency.
Should I hire a private caregiver or hire an agency?
Which is better? Hiring a private caregiver or hiring through a home care agency? In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of these two options and weigh which of them is better. By knowing the benefits and the pros and cons of each, you can make an informed decision for your loved one or yourself.
First, let us take a look at the benefits, pros, and cons of hiring from an agency.
Benefits of hiring a caregiver from an agency
If you hire an agency, you won’t become the employer of the caregiver. This means less liability and obligations on your part. You won’t have to go through the hassle of hiring, background check, supervising, and all that.
An agency will perform all these things, from background checks, references on employees, supervising, client-matching, and so on. Checking references and verifying experience are just a few of the things that an agency will take care of. Agencies are also required to comply with state regulations to ensure high standards among their caregivers and staff.
Since their caregivers have gone through a rigorous process, rest assured that the caregivers that will be assigned to your elderly loved one are skilled and dependable. Consider these things when deciding on private caregiver vs agency.
When it comes to scheduling and care planning, an agency is also more beneficial. You won’t have to worry about a caregiver missing his or her shift. In case of emergency, the agency can readily provide a replacement. Should you have concerns about your current caregiver, the agency can provide you with a new one. In this regard, hiring an agency is more flexible compared to directly hiring a private caregiver.
In sum, the pros of a home care agency are as follows:
- They perform extensive background checks, references, and verifications among their caregivers.
- Their caregivers have complied with state regulations and have undergone the necessary training, screening, and experience.
- The caregivers are insured and bonded by the agency. The agency will take care of the caregiver’s taxes, worker’s compensation, and others.
- They offer a flexible schedule and can send replacements in case of emergency.
- A full-service agency has a team of professionals to cater to the specific needs of the client.
Perhaps the only con that an agency has is that it’s relatively more expensive than hiring private caregivers. However, considering the benefits that a home care agency guarantees, it’s still a more cost-efficient option.
Risks of Hiring a Private Caregiver
Between private caregiver vs agency, which has more risks? The main risk of hiring private caregivers is that you will have to do the background checks and screening yourself. This means that you will single-handedly check the criminal records, training and seminars attended, certifications, experiences, and other qualifications of the prospective caregiver.
Checking references and verifying experience are crucial to making informed decisions on whether or not to hire a particular caregiver. In hiring independent caregivers, you have more obligations and responsibilities. Since you directly hire the caregiver, in effect, you become that caregiver’s employer.
Since there’s only you and the caregiver, you will have to personally manage the private caregiver you hired. For instance, when that caregiver calls in sick or misses work due to an emergency, you won’t be able to immediately find a replacement. You need to have a backup plan when things like this happen. This is another risk of hiring private caregivers that you need to take into consideration when choosing between private caregivers vs agency.
The pros of hiring private caregivers are:
- They have cheaper rates.
- You have the last word when it comes to hiring, managing, firing, and such.
- You can personally verify the experience and background.
The cons, however, outweigh the pros. As already mentioned in the risks of hiring private caregivers, the cons are:
- It’s difficult to find private caregivers.
- It is less flexible and offers no backup plan in case of an emergency.
- It’s time-consuming and stressful to do the screening, hiring, scheduling, and managing on your own.
- You are liable for taxes, wages, social security, and other state and federal regulations.
- You need to pay for additional insurance.
Payroll Taxes, Minimum Wage, and Overtime
Before you decide on hiring independent caregivers, bear in mind that most likely, you will be handling the payroll. This means that you will be responsible for reporting the income, taxes withheld, minimum wage, overtime pay, social security, and the like. You will have to brush yourself up with your state’s tax laws to know your responsibilities with regard to the private caregiver you hired.
On the contrary, an agency will just handle everything, from payroll, taxes, minimum wage, to overtime pay. You won’t have to worry about these things because the agency will comply with the federal and state regulations regarding payroll taxes, minimum wage, overtime, and so on. Hence, in this regard, as between private caregiver vs agency, the latter prevails.
When you hire a private caregiver, you need to consider liability insurance. You may need to get additional protection in case of abuse, exploitation, theft, or fraud. Neglect and abuse towards seniors may comprise physical, emotional, sexual, medical, and financial.
In an agency, you will simply have to file a complaint in case things like these happen. The agency will handle the complaints. You won’t have to worry about insurance as well since agency caregivers are insured and bonded.
Now that you know the differences between private caregiver vs agency, you can better decide which route to take. Carefully weigh your options and make an informed decision. The welfare of your elderly loved one is of paramount importance.
When you need a reliable agency for your loved one, we at ABC Home Care Agency are always ready to care. We can send a qualified, experienced, and trained caregiver to your home. Please contact us today!