The Pros and Cons of Hiring Private Caregivers

Do your elderly parents want to live at home, but still need help with daily endeavors? Are you too busy to be there, 24-7? Consider hiring a caregiver that provides home care, daycare, health care, respite care, and overall assistance for your loved one's health and safety. Most older parents need some sort of home care assistant to help with day-to-day personal care and activities. This service may include bathing assistance, washing, dressing-up, cooking meals, prescription assistance, walking and exercising, shopping and running errands, housekeeping, and laundry. If you’re not able to leave your parents alone and need help, or maybe you are the primary caregiver and need time for yourself, then these are valid reasons to consider in-home care.

A registered nurse assistant or a private caregiver offers this kind of treatment in most cases. Custodial home care is not needed when employing a licensed private caregiver such as an RN or LPN, but instead, only when professional treatment is required. The question here is whether to hire a nurse-assistant, a caregiver through a local home care agency, or directly hiring a private caregiver. Is it worth it hiring a private caregiver? Here we weigh the pros and cons of hiring a private caregiver and a caregiver through a home care agency. 

First of all, know your situation

When hiring a caregiver for in-home assistance, you must first evaluate your management skills. Whether you have a management background or collaborative experience with others, you might be well-suited to managing private caregivers. Unless you've never managed someone, it can work best to let an agency do all the recruiting, firing, and leading.

Assessing the needs of your senior loved one

One of the first steps to be taken into account when assessing the needs of your senior loved one —or designing an elder care plan for long term assistance— is to gather information about your loved one's routine. Study the home environment in detail, including their daily living activities (ADLs), medical and legal records, health history, and financial status. By doing this, you can ensure nothing is missing in the case of a medical emergency or possible palliative care.

Many seniors may be in the defensive mode because of such an "invasion" of their personal life. However, it is crucial to have a full summary of their current condition to establish an effective care plan. Creating a list is also beneficial in identifying situations where a loved one is still self-sufficient and able to maintain independent living.

In the list, you should add complaints or challenges, putting the deepest concerns of future assistance at the top. Your loved one's immediate well-being and quality of life are of utmost importance, and whether they’re losing weight or failing to comply with their drug regimen, then it’s a matter that should be addressed first.  

Creating a care plan


Creating an elderly care plan might sound complex and harder than you initially thought, but it shouldn't have to be. Learn how to create a care plan with Right at Home.


Should you hire a private caregiver?

Families seeking caregivers have two options: Getting the service through a licensed home care company—an agency caregiver—or directly hiring a private caregiver who provides independent services. This decision can be daunting, as each option has its pros and cons. Here's what you need to consider before any decisions are made.

Pros of private caregivers

  • You select your favorite and have the last word.

Choosing a private caregiver rather than an assisted living agency means a shift of lifestyle that is less dramatic and more relaxed, enabling seniors to preserve a sense of independence and stay put for a little longer. Once you hire a private caregiver, you are in charge of the selection process by testing the ground and personally qualifying candidates on their medical and daily life assistance skills. 

  • You can double-check formal training or certification.

Formal training and certification are essential for hiring a private caregiver. If you always doubted agencies that said check their backgrounds and skills thoroughly, this could be your chance to see it for yourself.

  • Private caregivers are an option when home care agencies are limited.

Hiring a private caregiver or family caregiver is looking at the entire person's small details rather than the big-picture. This sort of personal long-term treatment and attention focused on health and safety offers welcome relief for many seniors. It is fundamental to always have an option in case of an emergency. Private caregivers can be available when home care agencies are limited in staff. 

  • Hiring a private caregiver is cheaper. 

A private caregiver is a qualified service provider, and not a family member. Suppose the relationship between the private caregiver and the client is not working out. In that case, seniors and their families can always hire someone else who might be a better fit, is way more reliable, and gives better assistance. This is one reason why it is cheaper to hire a private caregiver, as you offer caregivers a chance to work separately and have the opportunity to get higher pay.

Cons of private caregivers

  • It may be difficult to find caregivers.

Not all private caregivers will be able to connect with your elder. Most companies provide a promise of compatibility and make every effort to pair your loved one with someone you can relate to and trust. However, if there is a compatibility problem, the firm should have the expertise to resolve the issue and will give you a more appropriate applicant to consider. 

  • You must have a back-up plan if your caregiver is not available.

Members of the family need to think ahead while managing seniors' care in their lives. You may be happy to help your loved one make orders and get dressed up for their club meetings or coffee dates, but doing so on a frequent or even daily basis may take too much of your time. When hiring a private caregiver, you should take into account that they also may not be available all the time and that finding a replacement will be harder on your own than home care agencies programs. 

  • Conducting interviews, checking references, or performing background checks are time-consuming.

This part of the job can be extremely stressful and tiring if you don’t have enough experience or patience to check references, perform background checks, and in general, examine the job description thoroughly and play the human resources part of it all.

  • You are responsible for managing employee payroll, tax deduction, and withholding social security, medicare, and unemployment taxes based on the Federal Law.

With a private caregiver, you might save money, but you'll be wasting more time on background checks, payroll, and taxes. Depending on what they can afford and how much they trust the caregiver, some individuals opt to buy extra liability home insurance coverage for accidents or theft. And if a caregiver accuses a family member or other caregiver of abuse or sexual misconduct, you will have court costs.

  • You are liable for job-related accidents in your home.

If an accident happens, remember you'll be in charge of finding a solution and providing the private caregiver with options to keep them satisfied. It is a great responsibility not many are willing to take. Remember that private caregivers are basically your employees. 

Should you hire a caregiver through an agency?

When hiring an agency caregiver, a thing to consider is that if an agency caregiver is charged with robbery or other offense, agencies typically have a process to communicate with authorities, suspend the caregiver during an investigation, and report the incident to the human services department in your state. The backup and preparation of agencies in these matters make hiring an agency caregiver an excellent option. 

Home care providers, such as the ones from Right At Home, provide approved, bonded, and insured caregivers with extensive background checks and a physician clearance, including TB and Hepatitis B testing, as well as drug testing as safety precautions. Agencies also have a "bench" of caregivers to help when the regular caregiver of your loved one is ill or delayed, so there is no service interruption. Also, home care agencies can offer physical therapy, acute care, and even medical equipment. 

Although many different home care companies offer their services, it is recommended that you use a checklist of questions. Ask them to each agency you want to consider, log the responses, and weigh each agency's pros and cons to make a hire decision.

To clear your mind on this subject, here are some pros and cons of hiring a caregiver through an agency.

Pros of hiring a caregiver through an agency

  • You have several caregivers to choose from

If you happen to have a continually changing variable schedule, then you can find it challenging to find a caregiver who can be available. An agency will partner with you to ensure your loved one's treatment is available 24/7 if you need them to.

Agencies are always upfront, honest, and open with someone who will have access to your loved one's details. You have complete access to caregivers' backgrounds and may ponder on all the candidates without pressure.

  • Most agencies offer back-up caregivers.

When you employ a caregiver through an approved agency, your elder will have a regularly scheduled caregiver. Still, if, for whatever reason, he or she is unable to follow the schedule, the agency will have another trained, thoroughly screened caregiver to take care of your loved one.

  • Nurse assistants have formal training and certification on nursing home care, which is verified upon hire. 

Trustworthy home care agencies only hire experienced candidates. Home health aides complete a state-approved training program and are accredited if successful. Once these individuals achieve their training, they are considered qualified to perform hospice care and senior care anywhere n the state. Applicants should be able to demonstrate correct past jobs for those who are not eligible, which means they have real expertise to care for seniors and patients in hospice.

  • Caregiver references and background checks

Home care agencies usually handle payroll, income tax, state income tax, and employment contracts. All tasks that you will have to manage yourself or pay when you hire privately. Another thing to remember is that expert agency recruiters can spot red flags during an interview, something that you and other family members probably won't notice at first.

Home care providers are not infallible, but recruiting a caregiver who is through an agency diminishes the danger of hiring bad seeds. 

  • Home care agencies supervise their professional caregivers and evaluate their performance.

It is vital to have open contact with the home care agency and the caretaker. The care provider is responsible for ensuring that the home care worker delivers as he or she should and that they handle all problems promptly and appropriately, and answer all your questions. If you are no longer satisfied with the care services, you can ask for a replacement immediately. Caregivers participate in ongoing training, so you can be sure that their work performance can always be improved. 

  • Licensed home care agencies carry liability insurance, and many have worker's compensation.

Home care agencies workers are usually licensed and insured by the agency, and you can make sure of it before you sign up with them. The department is responsible for obeying all federal and state labor laws and regulations, and they can also give you information on disability insurance. 

  • Employees are insured or bonded to protect you against theft and damages.

You have the right to monitor the caretaker 's interactions with your loved one and ask for a substitute if you don't believe their performance is adequate. In a private hire, letting one caregiver go is a far more complicated and time-consuming operation. You'll be forced to start again, continuing the process of screening and recruiting still, which is not the case when choosing a caregiver from an agency.

Cons of hiring a caregiver through an agency

  • Different caregivers may be disrupting the care of your loved one.

There is no guarantee that you will have the same carer every day. You might not even like the person the agency sends to your senior loved one. You should voice your complaints, but in the end, you are not the one who does the firing or the recruiting, so you give up power.

  • Less input in the selection process may cause stress and frustration.

Home care agencies take the weight off your shoulders when it comes to having all in order, but you may feel, at some point, that you have no control over the situation, and that your input is not valid. This rarely happens, but certain people might get this feeling out of it. 

  • Home care agencies cost more. 

Home care providers cost more than private caregivers, as they provide recruiting, hiring, scheduling, salary deductions, and ongoing staff monitoring and training expenses. Different workplace wages are compensated by employers, workers' compensation, and liability insurance.

Finding a caregiver near you

Our clients' and company's success depends solely on the efficiency of our caregivers. We make sure to identify and offer the best caregivers in the industry to our senior customers to have a pleasant experience with home care. We send all of our caregivers to national background checks, interview assessments, and multiple references verification. All of our caregivers are expected to be trustworthy, caring, reliable, empathetic, and experienced above all else. We appreciate that you entrust our company to your loved one's home and health, which is something we take more than just seriously.

Right At Home is dedicated to bettering the lives of our senior customers. By assisting seniors with their daily living activities, we can keep them comfortable at home and encourage them to flourish during this chapter. We are not only striving to surpass customer satisfaction, but we are working to exceed employee satisfaction. We want all our caregivers to be proud and grateful to be working 24/7 to provide the best possible home care! Contact Right At Home today. 


Hiring someone to come into your loved ones' home is a significant decision, but hopefully, by considering all the points above, said decision wouldn’t be as hard as it looks. Even so, as battling as it can be, Home Health agencies have an essential element on their side: They must be licensed, bonded, and insured should the worst happen, a benefit that's not the case with independent contractors.

Bruce Gropper
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