Problems with In-Home Caregivers for Seniors

Before Deciding on In-Home Care

When considering long term care options, in-home caregivers may seem like a great choice. The benefit is obvious; the person receiving care can remain in the home or apartment that they currently live in now. However, there are some potential downsides that bear discussion if you are considering hiring a caregiver for yourself or a loved one.

Before deciding to use in-home care and choosing a caregiver, you should be aware of some of the problems with in-home caregivers for seniors. The first problem for many people is cost. In terms of bang for the buck, in-home care provides less care per dollar than residential care homes and assisted living communities. This is because the caregiver is travelling rather than being in the care community itself. Another thing to consider is how much extra you or a loved one will need to pay for the additional services that may be required.

Caregivers and care agencies will often quote you a price in the neighborhood of $20/hr. If you require medication management, however, the preparation increases the rate. Oftentimes, the caregiver that costs $20/hr will just cover the basics, and anything remotely medically related will have to be given to another medical professional with their own set of fees. When working with a caregiver or care agency, make sure you know what different charges that you will be responsible for. Ask them to prepare an expected monthly bill that includes all the peripheral services.

One more important thing to consider is at what hours of the day your loved one needs care. Sometimes, the caregiver’s availability does not match up to your loved one’s needs schedule. In the state of Arizona, Medicaid, through the ALTCS program will pay for about 20 hours of care per week. This is fine for people who just need a little bit of help around the house. If, for example, someone needs help with basic mobility–transferring from a laying down position or getting to the bathroom–not having a caregiver available beyond the 20 hour maximum is problematic. Knowing the level and quality of care your loved one needs is extremely imperative before making the decision regarding in-home care.

In-home care is a great option, but only if it fits the specific situation. We at Senior Planning encourage you to be pragmatic and realistic about what kind of care you or your loved one will need before you make the decision to use in home care.

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