5 Things to Consider Before Hiring a Live-In Caregiver for a Senior Parent

A live in caregiver may be the right step for families with aging parents. Caring for a family member can be emotionally and physically difficult for many adult children. In addition, some members may not have the skills to give an elderly parent the appropriate care. Thus, hiring an elderly caregiver is sometimes the best choice for the wellbeing of the aging parents. 

At-home caregivers providing elderly assistance can help with a variety of tasks depending on their training and licensure. Hiring suitable private home care help involves having a detailed understanding of the elderly parent’s needs, abilities and limitations. Not all caretakers are appropriate or needed for each patient. For instance, an elderly resident who is frail and with limited mobility may only need help with basic daily tasks. Continue reading the sections below to learn about the important things to consider when deciding on the kind of help you want to get for your senior parent.   

1. Difference Between 24-Hour and Live In Caregiver 

A live in caregiver is often confused with a 24-hour caregiver. Many residents assume that an aide who lives with a senior provides 24-hour attention. However, this is not the case. 

A private caregiver who lives in his or her patient’s home provides assistance for most of the day but has eight to 10 hours to rest and sleep. A live-in caretaker has regular breaks for lunch and personal time although his or her shift is considered to be 24 hours. In addition, a live-in caregiver can provide the consistency that a 24-hour caretaker might not. 

Conversely, 24-hour private home care assistants work in shifts. One person does not provide 24-hour care. Instead, two or more elderly caregivers rotate shifts in order to ensure that the patient can obtain help at any hour of the day. 

Shifts are eight to 12 hours depending on the number of caretakers. Caregivers who provide care for 24 hours per day may have certain responsibilities that live-in caretakers do not such as rotating immobile patients in their beds to prevent sores. 

2. Difference Types of Live In Caregivers 

A live in caregiver can be suitable with any level of qualification. This means that private, home caregivers do not need to be licensed and certified nurses to provide appropriate assistance. Additionally, a private home care assistant does not necessarily need to have medical training to provide sufficient support.   

One type of at-home caregiver is a Personal Care Aide (PCA). They are able to provide non-medical assistance to elderly patients such as housekeeping, assisting with personal hygiene and offering companionship. PCAs are not licensed and the requirement to become one vary by state. They are often not covered by Medicare but are usually the least expensive caretakers.  

Alternatively, a Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA) that provides elderly assistance can be hired. These aides can perform many health care-related tasks such as cleaning catheters, taking vital signs and administering treatments in addition to personal care tasks. LNA’s are licensed and certified medical professionals but they are not likely to be covered by Medicare. 

A Registered Nurse (RN) may be the appropriate private caregiver for some residents. They are licensed and certified caregivers who can offer direct care, make medical decisions, assist doctors and perform personal care duties for patients. Due to their experience and credentials, RNs are likely to be a high expense. 

3. Live In Caregiver Duties 

A live in caregiver often has a variety of duties and responsibilities. However, not all elderly caregivers perform the same tasks. Their roles vary depending on the specific needs of their patients, their training and credentials. Overall, senior caretakers are responsible for helping their patients go about their daily lives with more ease and comfort. The following are some tasks associated with elderly assistance:

  • Preparing food – This task involves purchasing groceries and ensuring that the senior is getting adequate nutrition or following their dietary restrictions. 
  • Managing the household – The caretaker cleans areas such as the bathroom, living room and bedroom, doing laundry and taking out the garbage. 
  • Helping with movementThis can involve helping the patient change positions or walk independently.
  • Providing companionship and supportCaregivers must be able to develop a positive relationship with their patients and understand how to support mental wellbeing. 

A private home care worker with more experience and licensure is likely to have additional responsibilities. These tasks are often medicine-related as not all caregivers have the skills or knowledge to administer medication or assist with certain procedures. 

4. Costs of a Live In Caregiver

The cost of a live in caregiver depends on multiple factors. One important component is whether the caretaker works for a caregiver agency or independently. Those who are affiliated with an agency are often substantially more expensive than caretakers who are not associated with an agency. 

Private caregivers are usually paid per day. Their rates can range from $100 to $350 per day. Moreover, the geographic region where the care must be provided also impacts the rate of pay. 

Furthermore, additional compensation is often required if the elderly caregiver is consistently required to work during sleeping hours or work overtime. In addition, hosting patients or their families must provide room, board and food for the caregiver. 

Thus, hiring a live-in caretaker can be costly. This is especially true for households that have Medicare instead of private insurance. This is because Medicare does not offer coverage for long-term live-in care.  

5. Finding the Right Live In Caregiver 

When looking for the right live in caregiver, residents must take several factors into consideration. As mentioned in the previous section, residents must decide if they will hire through a home care agency or by other means. 

Agencies are able to provide quality caretakers that are vetted and streamline the payment process. However, residents have little say in who is hired. Thus, while the caretaker will be qualified, he or she may not be the best personality match for the care receiver. 

Conversely, residents seeking private home care can search registries or ask friends and families for recommendations. Using this method may take longer, but families will have more control over who they hire and what the caretaker’s hours, conditions and terms will be.