Dorothy said it best in The Wizard of Oz, “There’s no place like home.” That is the sentiment many family caregivers hear from older parents. In fact, an AARP study showed 89 percent of older Americans want to age-in-place (the term used for staying in the comfort of home as long and independently as possible).
However, keeping mom and dad safe and healthy at home may not be as easy as clicking your heels three times and repeating Dorothy’s mantra.
However, making a great match for in-home care is like buying a car or a new home and can be almost as expensive. According to the annual Cost of Care Survey from Genworth, the average annual cost of in-home care can be $44,600 but varies depending on the area where your loved one lives as well as the hours and services needed. Below I will help you to find both high quality and affordable in-home care.
First, Ask Yourself:
Just like Dorothy, the first steps down this yellow brick road of finding in-home care starts with two questions.
- Does your family have the financial resources to make aging-in-place a reality?
- Investigate costs for personal care at home as well as considering home modifications, including certain technology services and products, for greater safety. Also, understand what costs may be covered by Medicare, Medicaid or other long-term care or supplemental insurance as well as veteran’s benefits.
- What does my parent need help doing?
- Is it light housekeeping, cooking, bathing, managing medication adherence and companionship? This is in-home personal care. If your parent has a higher level of health care needs including wound care, medication administering, physical therapy, etc. this can sometimes mean a higher level of care typically through a home health aide or licensed registered nurse.
An Affordable In-Home Care Solution That Delivers Quality
One company that can provide personal care services, help to ensure a loved one is safe and healthy, and can save on costs is CareLinx.
I serve on the CareLinx advisory board and have found its model of care is successful because it addresses all the issues caregivers and older adults face by making quality matches between families and professionals. As the only true online caregiver marketplace dedicated to in-home care, CareLinx acts much like eHarmony for family caregivers (matchmaking for a lifetime) and LinkedIn for professional caregivers (a platform for showcasing skills). It is an online site that facilitates matches between a network of home care professionals across the country – 150,000 located in the top 50 metro areas in the U.S. – and the nation’s 65 million family caregivers caring for loved ones who are ill, aging or have disabilities.
How CareLinx Works
Most in-home care agencies assign an available professional to send to the home. Instead, CareLinx families are in control of their choice just as the health care professional can decide if this fit is right for them. Caregivers can browse the career history and skills of each CareLinx professional and can arrange for an in-person, telephonic or videochat interview. The price is negotiated for the services provided directly between the health care professional and the family. CareLinx advises on the going rates in the local area but all final decisions are between the family and the professional caregiver.
I believe the most valuable aspect of this service is the cost savings for quality and affordable in-home care and the time relief for family caregivers who don’t have to worry about conducting the due diligence on the health care professional’s credentials and work history and the filling out paperwork to secure services. CareLinx takes care of all the W2 documentation (required by law for health care workers instead of 1099 contractors like some other agencies which is in violation of IRS tax regulations), provides extensive background checks, backs its professional network with $1 million insurance by Lloyds of London and handles all the invoicing and payment administration between the parties.
Because it is an online marketplace, CareLinx can offer families affordable in-home care with a 30-50% savings on cost of care compared to traditional bricks and mortar agencies who are charging 50-150% commission on services. The professional care workers have higher satisfaction since they have a say in the clients they choose to work with and they actually make more money – about 25 percent higher wage since CareLinx only takes a flat 15% fee. Higher satisfaction among the professional network also means lower turnover rates so families have more consistency in the care provided to their loved one.
If a family caregiver needs expert guidance, CareLinx offers a Care Advisor who can help guide a caregiver over the phone to make the best in-home care choice. And, a requirement of the care professional is to check in with the family caregiver using mobile phone communication – especially photos (such as meals served that day) and updates on the loved one. This provides a level of confidence in the quality of care that is of the utmost importance to CareLinx and its clients.
The caregiving journey can be a long and winding road but having a care team you can count on can make all the difference in the world. After all, even Dorothy needed the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion to find her way home.