Many seniors prefer to stay in their home with the assistance of a caregiver. To find a caregiver, most people turn to a full-service Home Care Agency which screens, hires and trains its employees.  However, families sometimes try to reduce costs by hiring a caregiver directly instead of using an agency. When they hire directly, they become the employer and are fully responsible for their caregiver employee.  There are important factors to consider before making this decision.

1. Independent caregivers not working for an agency do not carry their own liability insurance. If an accident occurs on the job, the client/employer will almost certainly be responsible for compensation or payment of medical costs. This could run hundreds or thousands of dollars.

2. If the direct-hire caregiver calls off or doesn’t show up, there will be no back-up without an agency involved.

3. Independent caregivers are not bonded.

4. Most clients do not have the ability to perform background checks on their direct-hire caregiver.

5. As the employer, the client is responsible for training, disciplinary action, hiring and firing if they hire directly. An agency handles all of these responsibilities.

6. If hiring a home caregiver directly, the client needs to assess the quality and skill level of the caregiver, especially if the client needs hands-on care, has dementia or other special needs.

7. By law, the client/employer is responsible for filing payroll taxes and verifying that the employee can legally work in the U.S.

In today’s economic times, saving money and using resources wisely is more important than ever. However, the potential risks of hiring a caregiver directly are greater than the possible savings realized.

Editor’s Note: This article was submitted by Gail Silverstein, PhD, Owner/Administrator

of Care Corner Personal Services.  Please visit for more information.