Whether you are expecting to become a family caregiver or have been thrust into the role, it’s important to be aware of the many options available for caregiving assistance. Many people are surprised to learn that there is help for both long-term and temporary needs. While it’s a rewarding job, it can also be challenging to juggle the daily tasks of caring for someone who may be ill or elderly and still have your own career and family.

Homecare agencies, referral agencies and private hire options all exist. A full-service agency acts as the caregiver’s employer, assuming employer responsibilities such as background checks, insurances (workers’ compensation and liability) and payroll taxes. This can save families 20% – 30% over the cost of hiring a caregiver themselves by taking on these duties.

Full-service agencies have their own staff who recruit, interview and train caregivers to provide a wide range of services. This can include meal preparation, bathing and dressing, errand running, transportation to doctor’s appointments and local events and activities. Full-service agencies can match the needs of a care recipient with the skills and personality of a caregiver.

Referral agencies are intermediaries that act as a conduit between clients and caregivers. They typically collect a fee from the caregiver and then place it into a trust account, from which the client pays the caregiver on a daily or weekly basis. Families often find they can spend less money on care with a referral agency, but it is crucial to screen the caregiver and perform background checks. Families must also pay their share of employment taxes and withholdings.

If you are considering a referral agency, make sure the company you work with can supply you with copies of background checks and employment references for each caregiver on file. Ask if the agency is licensed and what their hiring process is. In addition, ask the agency to provide you with a copy of their contract and fees before you meet face-to-face with them.

Lastly, remember that a referral agency doesn’t usually have the same flexibility as an independent or full-service homecare agency with regards to scheduling and coverage. If a caregiver is sick or on vacation, you will need to have another back-up plan.

A great way to attract and retain caregivers is to offer them competitive wages and to leverage the power of Google Reviews to set themselves apart from the competition. Gaby at Arosa Boston encourages her caregivers to write detailed reviews, mentioning their names and the specific quality of their work. The recognition and visibility they get from this helps them feel valued by the company, which is a huge incentive to stay on board. Caregivers agency

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