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Caregiver Needed: How to Choose the Best Caregiver Option for Your Loved One

elderly woman sitting at a table staring into distance

Written by:

Jeffrey Grossman


September 27th, 2021

An increasing number of individuals are looking for “caregivers near me” in Richmond, VA. An AARP study in 2015 found that one in five American adults (43.5 million) is actively providing care to another family member.

But when it comes to looking after an aging family member, family caregivers may not have the time or experience necessary to provide the care their loved ones need.  

Are you looking for a caregiver to help relieve your caregiver burden?

Could your loved ones benefit from the professional care of a part-time caregiver for the elderly?

Do you know how to find senior caregivers that can provide quality hands-on care?

Families looking for private caregivers may be glad to hear that they have many options to alleviate the burden of care they may be feeling. Home care is a booming industry, and many private individuals and home care agencies offer in-home care services.

But how do you know if a private caregiver or agency caregiver is best for you?

In this article, we’ll be exploring the options available to those who are searching for “home caregivers near me.” We will shed light on:

  • What is a home health worker, and what do they do
  • The pros and cons of hiring a private caregiver vs. hiring through a home care agency 
  • How to choose between home care agencies

Keep reading to find out how to find the best in-home caregivers for your loved one.


What Is an In-home Health Worker and What Do They Do? 

As people age, they start to need help with the daily tasks of life. To maintain their independent lifestyles, seniors often look to family members for help. Family caregivers, however, may not be available to provide everything their aging loved ones need. 

This is where part-time caregivers for the elderly come into the picture. In-home health workers are professional caregivers who come to elderly adults’ homes to provide various kinds of assistance. 

Caregivers can help with: 

  • Household tasks like cooking, cleaning, pet care 
  • Personal care tasks like bathing, dressing, brushing hair 
  • Life management tasks like keeping track of medications and doctors appointments 
  • Overnight assistance for those who might need hands-on help at night 

Many families find senior caregivers are also helpful when aging loved ones live with family members. Part-time caregivers for the elderly can relieve much of the stress family members may feel as they care for their loved ones themselves. 

Families may be looking for private caregivers for a variety of reasons. Still, the overarching goal of in-home health workers, and other kinds of caregivers, is for seniors to continue living comfortably and safely at home. 

In-home elder care solutions in Richmond, VA.

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Caregiver Needed: Home Care Agency or Private Hire? 

Once you’ve decided that a senior caregiver is needed to help care for your loved one, how do you find one? 

When looking for a caregiver, there are two main options: 

1. You can independently hire part-time caregivers for the elderly loved one in your life  

2. You can find senior caregivers through a home care agency 

Here’s a look at these two caregiver options in more detail.


Find and Hire a Private, Part-time Caregiver for the Elderly

Hiring a private caregiver may seem like a simple way to reduce the costs. Cut out the middleman, right? 

However, families looking for private caregivers have to do all the work of finding, interviewing, and hiring the caregiver themselves.  You’ll need to do the work that an agency would typically do, which includes:

  • Writing a job description
  • Interviewing applicants to determine which ones are qualified 
  • Negotiating wages, benefits, and hours, and creating an employment contract
  • Maintaining ongoing accountability 
  • Covering gaps in the schedule if the caregiver calls out
  • Repeating the process to replace the caregiver as needed 

Additionally, hiring private in-home health workers comes with a variety of legal responsibilities. For example, as an employer, you will be responsible for producing tax documents for your household employees and applying for an employer ID number.

Alternatively, if you’re searching online for “in-home caregiver near me” and want to ensure they’re trained and qualified, there’s a better way.


Find Senior Caregivers through a Home Care Agency

You may not have the time, energy, or expertise necessary to find and vet excellent caregiver applicants—this is why home care agencies exist. 

Individuals looking for “caregivers near me” can significantly benefit from a home care agency because working with an in-home care company provides:

  • Ease in the hiring process
  • Confidence that your loved one’s caregiver has been thoroughly vetted and professionally trained
  • Ongoing accountability and support from the agency
  • Supplemental caregivers as needed so that there are never gaps in the schedule if your caregiver is sick or on vacation

These agencies handle all the administrative tasks of finding and employing high-quality caregivers, so all you have to do is hire them for your loved one.

Additionally, home care agencies have years of professional home care experience. As a result, they have specialized processes for identifying excellent caregivers, providing supplemental training, and designing elder care packages.

Though it’s possible to find, hire, train, supervise, and pay in-home health workers directly, utilizing a home care agency is usually a simpler and more peaceful experience.

However, not all home care agencies are the same. You’ll want to look into a few agencies and make sure they check off some important boxes before officially hiring an agency caregiver.     


What to Consider When Looking for a Caregiver Agency 

When looking for a caregiver in Richmond, VA, you’ll notice that there are many home care agencies to choose from. It may be tempting to simply pick the first name on the list or choose whichever agency is cheapest. We caution you to think again. 

Home care agencies are not all created equal. 

Here are three things to think about if you’re searching for “home caregivers near me” and are looking into agencies. 

In-home elder care solutions in Richmond, VA.

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Hiring and Training Standards 

When choosing an agency, you’re trusting them to expertly select and train the person who will be directly caring for your loved one. Therefore, you’ll want to find an agency that’s selective in its hiring process and values thorough training. 

Most agencies require caregiver applicants to pass a background check and hold a high school diploma or GED. In addition, some agencies require specialized experience, such as certification as a Personal Care Assistant (PCA). 

Typical certification programs, however, do not include training in “soft skills” topics such as:

  • Communication skills
  • Emotional intelligence 
  • Friendliness 
  • Conflict resolution / Persuasion

When considering a home care agency, here are some questions to ask:

  • How do they select caregivers?
  • What kind of caregiver training do they provide?
  • What is their caregiver turnover rate?
  • Do their caregivers have intangible, soft skills to provide quality care?

Whether or not care is delivered with patience, compassion, and respect will significantly impact your loved one’s care experience. Compassionate care comes from a combination of who the agency chooses to hire and what kind of training the agency provides.


Range of Care Options 

All individuals looking for “caregivers near me” in Richmond, VA have unique needs. Therefore, it’s vital for the agency you choose to have the services you need and the flexibility to adjust as your loved one’s needs change. 

The best home care agencies will offer a wide range of care services, including:

When considering an agency, find out what kinds of care they offer to ensure that your loved one will receive the care they need. 

It’s also essential that the agency has a procedure for customized care. Excellent home care agencies employ care managers who work with clients and caregivers to create and maintain personalized care plans. 

When considering an agency’s products and procedures, here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you have care managers in addition to caregivers?
  • Do you create customized care plans?
  • What is your process for changing the care plan as needed?

Don’t settle for an agency with limited, inflexible care options. Instead, try to identify an agency that will provide a tailored care package and ongoing care management for your loved one.


Reviews from Other Clients

Testimonials from other clients – both good and bad – are the clearest demonstration of the quality of the care agency. If other families have had a positive or negative experience, it indicates what you may experience with that agency. 

Look for agency reviews on their website and other websites, such as Yelp. An excellent agency should consistently receive excellent, 5-star ratings from different clients and their families. 

If there are any low ratings, read the explanation of what the person experienced and consider whether you’d be comfortable with the same thing. 

In addition to looking at the numbers of reviews and the overall satisfaction of other clients, here are some specific questions to keep in mind when reading testimonials:

  • Did the family develop a positive relationship with the caregiver?
  • Does the agency support the family and the caregiver?
  • Could the family trust the caregiver and the agency?
  • Was there a high standard of professionalism and reliability? 

If you can’t find any reviews, or it’s a mixed bag, it can also be beneficial to call and talk to the agency directly. Ask them some questions about their caregiver hiring and training standards. You can also ask them to share about their care services and care management process.

There are a lot of home care agencies out there. Other families’ real-life positive and negative experiences can give you the green light (or red light) without first putting your loved one at risk. 


The Best Place to Find Senior Caregivers in Richmond, VA 

In this article, we’ve talked about what an in-home health worker is and what they do. An in-home caregiver enters your loved one’s place of residence to help with daily life tasks. They can assist with simple activities like cleaning and cooking or provide more advanced care as needed.

We also discussed the pros and cons of hiring an in-home caregiver directly vs. through a home care agency. The primary difference being, if you hire a caregiver directly, you will be personally responsible for the logistical and legal tasks an agency would typically do on your behalf. For example:

  • Recruiting and interviewing applicants
  • Negotiating employment contracts
  • Providing tax documents

And finally, we gave you some tips as to what to look for when choosing a home care agency, including:

  • The agency’s hiring and training process
  • The range of care options available
  • The reviews posted by former or current clients

If you are looking for an excellent home care agency in Richmond, VA, Commonwise Home Care is here for you. At Commonwise, we’ve been serving families looking for private caregivers in Virginia for decades.

Some of the benefits you can count on with Commonwise include: 

  • Flexible amount of hours, everything from 4 hours at a time to 24-hour care
  • We come to your location, whether that’s in a private home, a hospital, or an assisted living community
  • A team approach to caring, where Care Managers work with caregivers and families to provide ongoing support and adjustment
  • In-depth hiring process which ensures our Caregivers have the right personality and temperament for caregiving
  • A proprietary training approach that emphasizes soft skills

Contact us today to talk with a Care Manager about how Commonwise might be the best home care agency for your loved one.

In-home elder care solutions in Richmond, VA.

Contact us for a free assessment