How to Hire an In-Home Helper for Parents
Getting parents help at home to handle some of the day-to-day chores is a smart idea that can make a big difference in keeping them independent for a longer period. Here are some tips to help you find someone reliable.
For seniors who could use some help at home but do not require a caregiving aide for personal care, there are homemakers/home helpers for hire that can help make life a little easier.
Most in-home helpers can assist with any number of things such as shopping, running errands, transportation, light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, arranging services (home maintenance, lawn care, etc.) and other household chores, along with providing companionship and support. If your parent gets to the point of requiring personal/physical care such as bathing or dressing, many home helpers can assist with this too.
Most home helpers are part time workers who work either a few hours a day or a few days per week. You should note that while Medicare does cover home health care services if a doctor orders it, they do not cover in-home homemaker/helper services.
There are two ways in which you can go about hiring homemakers/home helpers. You can either go through a home care agency, or you can hire someone directly on your own.
Home Care Agency
Hiring a home helper through a non-medical home care, or non-medical companion care agency is the easiest, but most expensive option of the two. Costs typically run anywhere from $15 to $25 an hour depending on where you live.
How it works is you pay the company, and they handle everything including assigning appropriately trained and pre-screened staff to care for your parent and finding a fill-in on days a helper cannot come.
However, some of the drawbacks include not having much input into the selection of the aide and helpers may change or alternate, which can cause a disruption.
To find a home care agency in your area, use your preferred online search engine and type in "non-medical home care" followed by the city and state your parent lives in. Or you can use Medicare's home health services search tool at Medicare.gov/care-compare – click on "home health services." Most home health agencies offer some form of non-medical home care services too. You can also check your local yellow pages under "home health services."
Hiring a personal assistant/home helper on your own is the other, less expensive option. Costs typically range between $12 and $20 per hour. Hiring directly also gives you more control over who you hire so you can choose someone who you feel is right for your parent.
Be aware that if you hire someone on your own, you become the employer so there is no agency support to fall back on if a problem occurs or if the assistant does not show up. You are also responsible for paying payroll taxes and any worker-related injuries that may happen. If you choose this option, make sure you check the person's references thoroughly and do a criminal background check.
Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.