Are You Getting A Good Deal On In-Home Care?

I am frugal and I am proud of it.  One way that has manifested itself in my life is by the fact that I have taken shopping to a new level.  I watch the grocery store for butcher’s bargains (I love those – best deals are at 6:30 a.m.-ish on a Saturday at my neighborhood Kroger). I have downloaded grocery store apps for access to digital coupons.  “Buy 5 get $1 off” or “BOGO” promotions are like poetry to me.

And, it’s not just groceries.  I am an outlet store queen – and anything that I can’t pick up at an outlet store, I usually find among the dozens of “Flash Sale” or “End of Season Savings” deals in my e-mail in-box.  You see, I sign-up with the best of the best of my favorite stores, giving them a green-light to bombard me with e-mail.  It works out great.

And, I really rack-up the savings.  If there is any possibility of working any kind of deal at all, I am on it with laser focus to pay the least possible for what I buy.  But, here is an important point: What I buy is often the least expensive, but it is never cheap.  Cheap has the connotation of “shoddy” or “of little value”.  I don’t do cheap.  It never, ever pays off in the long-run. It is the same with senior in-home care.

When a potential client calls to talk about senior in-home care for their loved one, often they say that they are “just shopping around”.  I like the fact that they care enough to invest their time in doing the research that it takes to make an informed decision.  The part that concerns me is that they may think that the least expensive option is the way to go.

Private Caregiver

Often, but not always, a private caregiver is a less expensive option – the friendly lady from church, the kind neighbor, or the caregiver you found listed on that new app. They are so agreeable.  Surely this will work out fine, you think.

Oh, wait a minute …what if the caregiver gets sick?  What happens when the caregiver goes on vacation?  Has a flat tire?  Has to take care of her own business?  Needs to see to her own family’s needs? Wants the day off?  What if the caregiver suddenly tells you that she wants to come in at 10 a.m. instead of 7 a.m. from now on and that she doesn’t want to work weekends anymore and that she needs to leave at 1 p.m. this Friday?

How’s it going, boss?  Do you have a back-up?   

Saying “boss” is more than just a snarkie comment.  I mean “boss” in the most legal of terms.  It is important to know that a caregiver does not meet the state or federal standard for “independent contractor” like a typical plumber or exterminating service would, for example.  You are the private caregiver’s boss.  By hiring this private caregiver, you are legally committing to be “the employer” and:

  • Pay all federal and state payroll taxes (Medicare, FICA, and unemployment taxes – at least 10% of wages)
  • Secure worker’s compensation insurance (10% of wages)
  • Deposit payroll deductions
  • File quarterly and annual state and federal payroll tax reports
  • Comply with federal immigration hiring laws as well as a host of other employment laws
  • Recruit, hire and fire employees
  • Schedule employees and then reschedule employees when the first are late, sick or need time off

The very worst of it is this truth:  homeowners insurance most often does not cover work related accidents. What if that caregiver gets hurt?  The possibilities are alarming. Your assets need protection from a possible, resulting law suit.

Is It Worth It? 

You can try the private caregiver track, if you would like.  But, here are some terms with which you might have to become familiar – and quickly:  unemployment claim, federal payroll tax audit, accrued employee payroll taxes, accrued employer payroll taxes, penalties, interest, medical expenses, allowance for pain and suffering and legal fees. We see it and hear about it often from clients who are just fed-up and finally opt for professional care, with much relief, I might add.

A Great Value!

Encore Caregivers is a licensed Personal Assistance Service, and all of our caregivers are our employees.  We are responsible for all expenses and costs associated with state and federal employment laws, work related injuries and all other employer obligations. The burden is on our shoulders, not yours.  No worries.

When you compare us with other licensed in-home care agencies, we are not the cheapest, we are not the most expensive.  We always offer great value.  What you get for our fee is the best service there is!  What are we so proud of?

  • Even though the state says that we do not need to have a nurse on staff, because we are a non-medical service — we do have an RN on staff who answers questions from clients, families and caregivers every day. That elevates the standard of our care.
  • Our RN also offers unequaled training to our caregivers. That elevates the standard of our care.
  • The state Department of Health and Human Services, the entity that licenses us suggests that we offer two in-service trainings annually to our caregivers. We offer three.  That elevates the standard of our care.
  • We require all caregivers to complete a package of training classes before they come on board.  That elevates the standard of our care. 
  • Our nurse also offers Skills Lab trainings every month to keep our caregivers polished and their skills well-honed. That elevates the standard of our care.
  • We post video/written trainings on our Web site for our caregivers.  That elevates the standard of our care.
  • We offer online training courses with in-the-know caregiver training company.  That elevates the standard of our care. 
  • We can’t forget our 24-hour line. Although most services say that they can be reached around the clock, our phone line is manned by a trained, professional care-coordinator – 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.  There is never a voice-mail message, or an answering service.  Your call will be answered by someone who knows the assignment, knows the caregiver and who can offer professional help quickly.  That elevates the standard of our care.
  • We handle all scheduling and communicate any necessary changes immediately. The depth and breadth of our caregiver pool result in an amazing flexibility with staffing.  We aren’t perfect, but we rarely, ever disappoint. That, also, elevates the standard of our care.

Give us a call at 713-686-2233.
We will wow you, too.
Encore Caregivers, since 2009.