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AL Estate Planning & Elder Law Blog

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

How Much Does Hiring a Paid Elder Caregiver Cost?

Providing care for an elder family member can be a significant undertaking. On average, family caregivers spend about 24 hours a week providing care to an elder loved one, and nearly 45 hours a week when the family caregiver is the spouse of the care recipient. That is an enormous burden, on top of other personal and professional priorities.

A simple solution may be to hire an outside caregiver, but the cost will depend on several factors. First, let us share two ways of hiring paid care: through a home care agency, or by privately hiring an individual caregiver. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Home care agencies screen their employees, offer a variety of care services, and provide contingency coverage in the event an in-home caregiver calls in sick or is not a good personality fit. The agency handles these items so you do not have to. All of that comes at a price, however, with usually preset rates and extra fees for services outside of narrowly defined activities.

When hiring a private caregiver, you are the boss. That means you create the job description, select from your pool of candidates, and set your own price. This can include a wider range of care activities at a lower overall cost than what is similarly offered at a home care agency. You are also the employer and therefore your responsibilities may include handling hiring, firing, payments, taxes, insurance, and legal disputes.

Even before a numerical cost is determined, you need to decide the level of commitment you are willing to make. You also need to determine what type of care your elder loved one needs, and estimate the amount of caregiving hours required. The four basic categories of in-home care include:

- Personal care including, bathing, eating, dressing, grooming

- Household care including cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping

- Health care including medication management, doctor's appointments, physical therapy

- Emotional care including companionship, activities, conversation

Keep in mind that financial support is available in many forms; for instance, long-term insurance, Medicaid, and tax deductions, and may be able to reduce the overall cost of elder care. It is not easy, however, to qualify for these programs. Do not wait to contact us to learn more about the options available here in our local community. We look forward to speaking with you about your elder care needs both now and in the future.

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