Editor’s Note: This post was updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness on July 25, 2014.

More and more Americans are choosing to remain in their homes as they age. Eventually, home care in the form of aides, services, companion care or nursing is needed within the home. Finding the right kind of home care can be difficult. While hiring a private caregiver might be easier on your wallet, do you really know what you are paying for?  What kind of background and screening checks can you do on your own for a caregiver? If the caregiver gets sick, who is going to fill in? Is the caregiver bonded and insured? If not, can you afford the liability? Who handles payroll and taxes for the caregiver? How are you going to recruit the caregiver? How does hiring through an employment agency compare? These are the questions you should ask yourself before taking the leap into hiring privately or through a placement agency or registry.

Feeling overwhelmed? Does it all seem too complicated? Fortunately, the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA) is an organization dedicated to providing reliable in-home care for the elderly. There are over 1,300 member organizations and 300,000 employees of the HCAOA.  These organizations employ, train and supervise caregivers, who provide care on a variety of levels. The HCAOA organizations screen and select caregivers, adhere to state and federal guidelines in employment practices (worker’s compensations, tax withholding, background and reference checks), manage payroll, have 24/7 on-call availability, and supervise the caregiver services—all so you don’t have to. At the heart of the HCAOA and their member organizations is their mission of serving the elderly and providing families with peace of mind, which is why they also develop an individualized plan of care with the client and family.

Proud to be a member of HCAOA since 2002, Methodist Senior Home Care (MSHC) takes a responsive, teamwork approach to senior home care. Offering a variety of services such as live-in caregivers, overnight care, meal preparation, grocery shopping, respite care, medication reminders, personal hygiene, housekeeping, companionship and accompaniment to doctor visits, MSHC is a mission-based, nonprofit provider with a fee structure set to cover only the cost of the operation.

If you are struggling with the decision of hiring a private caregiver versus going through an established organization, think twice about what you are really up against and what you are willing to deal with. The HCAOA website offers consumer cost comparisons as well as additional information that might help you make an informed decision.

To find HCAOA members in your area, visit:

www.hcaoa.org/search/default.asp

To learn more about Methodist Senior Home Care Services, visit:

Home Care

Carrie Robertson
Research & Community Education