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Private Caregiver vs. An Agency?

Many are new to the caregiving scene and sometimes care is needed immediately. It's essential to know what your options are and how your decisions will affect both your loved one and yourself.

The day has come that you need to decide who can provide the best care for your mom in the comfort of her home. Many are new to the caregiving scene and sometimes care is needed immediately. It’s essential to know what your options are and how your decisions will affect both your loved one and yourself. Although hiring a private caregiver on your own might seem to have the advantage of lower hourly cost, firstly consider all available options before you end up in a nightmare in terms of reduced availability, low levels of experience, lack of responsibility, and hidden costs.

Naturally, the majority of us who are in need of some extra assistance, first turn to their family and friends. Once this is no longer available, hiring a trained caregiver can significantly improve your loved one’s quality of life.
When you hire from an agency, you are gaining peace of mind knowing that your loved one will be able to stay at home and will be provided with the assistance they need. Your loved one will be professionally assessed and an individualized care plan will be implemented for him or her.

Let’s also focus on standards of care for a brief moment. There’s no doubt that you would like to provide your loved one with the best possible care they can get. How can you provide the best care when you lack personal experience yourself? When hiring a private caregiver, the managing and planning of a customized care falls on you. Unfortunately, this may harm your loved one, because a private caregiver might not know how to react in medical emergency, because they don’t have the training to recognize certain symptoms. It may also increase the risk of abuse, both physical and financial.

If there is an issue, which is rare based on screening and training, you can address your concerns with the agency itself immediately. Otherwise, with hiring private caregiver, this level of security simply doesn’t exist.
What if you are not satisfied with private caregiver or worse she/he doesn’t show up? You would need to go through the process all over again, leaving your loved one without care when they may need it the most. In comparison, when hiring an agency, you can be assured that if a caregiver can no longer provide their services or you’re interested in a new level of services based on progressive symptoms, the transition will be smooth and effective.

Although, it may be tempting to hire a private caregiver to save a little on cost, you should be aware of some of the financial and legal challenges you could face:

  • When hiring privately, you are basically the caregiver’s employer. You’re responsible for CPP, taxes, and EI and other payments to Canada Revenue Agency. Although many pay caregivers in cash, without knowing that it’s against the law to pay a caregiver and not report their earnings. This could lead to larger investigations into your own personal earnings.
  • As mentioned, if a private caregiver doesn’t show up, you’re the backup plan. When days when you do not need to provide care yourself, you will need to provide some level up supervision and create a care plan for your loved one. Without experience and proper training, this could place your loved one at-risk.
  • When you hiring privately, you may face a lawsuit if the caregiver is hurt on your property. By contrast, an agency provides coverage to all employees so that you’re protected in case something happens in your home.

At the end of the day, you need to do what is best for you and your family. Before making such an important decision, please research both options and understand what your decision will mean for you, your family, and your loved one who requires care.