Educated Choices for Elder Care

Why do some families and elderly parents choose to hire caregivers directly rather than through an agency?

Sometimes, this decision is driven by economics and family assets. People look to do anything to save money – even when it comes to the care of their elderly parents and loved ones. Families may be strapped financially, and feel the need to cut corners.

However, the benefits of hiring home care services through an agency can go a long way in convincing families and seniors that this is not an area where they can afford to be penny wise and pound foolish. Here are some hightlighted issues which provide families a business advantage (along with peace of mind) when using an agency:

  • The agency, on an ongoing basis, assumes the responsibility for finding an experienced, responsible and caring individual. This involves screening, assessing competencies, checking references, and conducting background checks. Should there be any problems, families can call the agency and have them make any necessary changes.
  • Unlike unlicensed care providers, an agency carries its own liability insurance or worker’s compensation. If an accident occurs on the job, they assume the responsibility rather than the patient or family member who hired the caregiver.
  • A home care agency is necessary for insurance reimbursement for those families utilizing long term care insurance coverage.
  • If the care provider calls in sick or doesn’t show up, the agency assumes good faith responsibilty in an effort to provide for a staff replacement.
  • A family employer may be responsible for filing payroll taxes. In addition the family employer must verify that the caregiver is legally able to work in the USA.

The bottom line: Do you want the responsibility of bringing into the home of your loved one a stranger you interviewed for a few minutes?

– John D. Miller is the owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: ; or online at: