Using an Agency:

Pros:

  • Comprehensive: Most agencies screen applicants, offer training, and handle all the paperwork, such as payroll, taxes and legal matters.
  • Back-up care: Even if you use a preferred caregiver through the agency, they’ll have qualified back-ups in case your regular provider can’t make it to work.

Considerations:

  • Access to information: Some people may feel using an agency is a little impersonal. After all, you’re not fully in control and don’t necessarily have access to all the information about the caregivers, their salaries and other details.
  • Cost:  Agencies cost a lot per hour and sometimes there are travel fees and other fees that are in addition to the hourly rate. In Eagle County, you can expect anywhere from $30-45/hr.
  • Shift requirements: Agencies usually have a three-hour minimum and want to have a consistent, set schedule.  As anyone caring for a loved one knows, life doesn’t always fit into this type of schedule.  Therefore, it can be less flexible.
  • You have to go through the agency for any schedule changes, concerns, etc.  They might not always be available immediately to respond.

Hiring a Private Caregiver

Pros

  • More control. You get to interview the caregivers, provide job growth and maintain the care coordination for your loved one.
  • Cost Effective: Compared to agency costs in Eagle County, hiring a private caregiver can be more affordable, which will allow your loved ones’ savings to last longer, thus avoiding a nursing home placement or assisted living.

Considerations

  • Particularly if there is more than one private caregiver, scheduling is constant and time-consuming.
  • In-home caregivers need to be hired as household employees.  This means you do the work an agency does when they hire, pay employer taxes, submit required reports to state and federal government.  See Hiring and Managing Private Caregivers for more detailed information.
  • If the private caregiver can’t make it, there might not be back-up immediately available.  And, if the private caregiver quits, you have to start all over with hiring and scheduling.  With agencies, that work is taken off your hands.

In Eagle County, there are three primary agencies.

Visiting Angels

Homecare and Hospice of the Valley

Caring4You Homecare: (970) 390-2889

 

Go to Hiring a Private Caregiver for detailed information about this option.

Tips on hiring a private caregiver.

 

Where to find caregivers :

1) Contact us (link to our email) to learn more or check out our (aging well link) resources page.

2) Try Care.com to search for local caregivers.

3) Post an ad in the Vail Daily.

 

 

Interview Questions for potential caregivers:

http://www.seniorsresourceguide.com/articles/art00980.html

 

Background and reference checks  are essential for the safety of your loved one. Don’t skip this important and cost-effective step. http://www.caregiverlist.com/CNABackgroundChecks.aspx

 

Determining rate: Determine the hourly rate prior to making a contract. Decide if you want to include the use of your car or theirs, and/or mileage so the caregiver can take your loved one to doctor appoints and social activities. In Colorado, car insurance covers the driver, so double check insurance on their car if you both choose this option. Tip: for best accuracy, have your caregiver(s) text you when they arrive at the home and when they leave. This way you have a record.

 

Contract & Tax Info:

1) For your legal safety and to avoid potential conflicts, write up a simple contract. You can contact a local attorney or find them online ( https://www.lawdepot.com/contracts/service-contract/?loc=US&pid=googleppc-servag_us-mainTX_a1-ggkey_elderly%20care%20agreement&gclid=CJTE3uGrkNMCFYuMaQodSCkKMA#.WOZ5CRRoDnk)

 

2) 1099 Vs. W2?

First thing, decide if you want to hire the caregiver as an independent contractor or an employee.

 

If you hire an employee (W2) you will be responsible for paying taxes and benefits.

If you hire the worker as a contractor (1099), you’ll still have to file a 1099 form with the IRS on any wages you pay over $600 per year. However, the caregiver would be responsible for paying his or her own taxes. If you choose to hire independently, you may want to consult a lawyer and an accountant to make sure you’re meeting your legal and financial obligations to the employee and to the state and federal governments.

Tips on how to track expenses :https://www.surepayroll.com/industry/household

Family Caregivers.

 

-Have a discussion with your loved one about this option. Treat it similar to hiring an outside caregivve to avoid and conflict and disagreements. Make sure you are both satisfied with the terms agreed upon and remember, it’s YOUR loved one, so take extra time for self care and learn to communicate with kindness and clear boundaries.

-Caution, there are different terms and financial aspects to consider, learn more more getting a personal care agreement in place. (https://www.agingcare.com/articles/personal-care-agreements-compensate-family-caregivers-181562.htm

-In some situations, family might be able to get paid as a caregiver when a person qualifies for Long term care Mediciad , link (https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/hcpf/consumer-directed-attendant-support-services)

 

Medicare caregiver: In some cases, if your loved one has a medical change and is considered homebound, they may qualify for medicare home health or hospice short-term. (https://www.medicare.gov/homehealthcompare/results.html#loc=81601&lat=39.6044937&lng=-107.3375791)

Once you’ve hired someone or decided to do it yourself, make sure to have a good, organized system in place. The biggest issues are communication. Consider tracking all expenses on a spreadsheet at home and printing some of the following documents to have in the home.

 

Calendars- the use of a simple calendar can avoid many scheduling conflicts. There are many options at the store, such as a large calendar for older adults who have visions issues or those who have memory issues. Old fashion pen and paper still works.

 

Daily care tracking- use this simple form to keep track each time your loved one is being cared for. This will ensure good communication.

(http://www.caregiverslibrary.org/Portals/0/ChecklistsandForms_CaregiverLog.pdf)

 

Medication Trackers older adults are th most vulnarebale when it comes to taking medications. Many elderly people don’t take the medicine correctly  and therefore end up in the hospital as a result. In Colorado, caregiver agencies are now allowed to manage medications, but can remind individuals wen it’s time to take them. Family or any person family choose to hire can teach the medication regiem. http://www.caregiverslibrary.org/Portals/0/ChecklistsandForms_WeeklyMedicineChart.pdf OR Insert Red Binder Link.

 

Advance Directives- Make sure you have an updated list, easily visible and assessable for emergencies. It’s good to update these records annually, or as medical changes occur.

 

Safety considerations: Life alert buttons with fall detection are a great way to know your loved one has protection, even while there is  caregiver at home. There are some periods of time, no matter how much you plan, that your loved one may still be left alone. In this case, get a life alert button and consider a baby monitor that has wifi connectivity. You can check in with your loved one while away and have peace of mind.

 

Further Reading , link ( http://www.careinhomes.com/blog/blog/the-caregiver-reading-list-40-books-to-help-you-care-for-an-aging-loved-one-or-patient/)

 

If all else fails, remember to embrace the journey. There are many factors to take into consideration when it comes to getting older and providing care. Give yourself and your loved one the permission to “fail”, to laugh and more importantly, to love.

 

In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years- Mr Abe Lincoln.