A caregiver agency is a company that provides caregivers for elderly or disabled individuals who need help with daily activities. The services may include bathing, dressing and grooming, meal preparation, grocery shopping, medication assistance, companionship, light housekeeping, laundry, transportation to doctor’s appointments, hair or social engagements, and assistance with errands like picking up mail. The caregivers are screened, licensed and insured and can accept Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care insurance.
When choosing a home care agency, ask about its caregiver training programs and its background-checking practices. “Caregivers have a big impact on the quality of life for older adults, so it is important to feel confident that they are competent and trustworthy,” says geriatric care manager Forest Gong.
Some agencies hire their caregivers as employees, while others arrange for their workers to come into clients’ homes on an independent contractor basis – known as 1099s. Agencies usually handle payroll taxes and worker’s compensation, and most provide liability insurance and backup care.
If you choose to hire a private caregiver, look for an agency that has been in business for awhile and has a good reputation, suggests Wilson. Also, look for one that offers a meet-and-greet or trial period with potential caregivers and that has a nurse on staff who supervises the aides and assesses a client’s care needs. “This is a very specialized field, and it’s not for everybody,” Hinds adds. “You’re going to have a lot of turnover in the caregiver pool.” A good agency will take time to screen applicants carefully and select a caregiver who is a good match for a client. Caregivers agency