Today’s seniors have more care options available to them than ever before. When their physical capabilities start to diminish, more and more seniors are choosing to receive assistance in the comfort of their own homes. Home care is considered by many to be one of the most desirable options because it allows seniors to maintain their independence while remaining where they feel most comfortable.

One of the most difficult challenges you face when caring for an aging parent is finding a good, quality home care company. Whether you need full time assistance or a little extra help when you can’t be there, hiring a home care provider is a serious decision. Just like any other major life decision, there are many pitfalls to watch out for when enlisting home care assistance. On the surface, many home care companies seem to be the same. With so many available options, how do you find the best fit for your loved one?

To help with this task, we have provided the following list of questions to ask each home care agency you consider for your loved one.  If they can’t answer these questions to your satisfaction, then you should consider working with a different company.

Are your caregivers bonded and insured?

Believe it or not, many home care companies have minimal insurance coverage while others have none at all. Most home care companies carry liability coverage for personal injuries and property damage. However, it is important that the company is bonded. Bonded means the company offers protection to the client if the caregiver steals from them.


How extensive are your background checks?

Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous people in this world. The last thing you want to do is to allow them into your home. It is imperative that you ask about the background checks the agency performs on their caregivers. Because unsavory characters move from place to place, it’s important that you know about the caregiver on a national scale. Also, be sure to ask the agency if they conduct reference checks.


Are your caregivers employees or contractors?

There are different types of home care companies (employers, referral services, registries, and individuals). The benefit with working with companies that hire employees is that they hire and pay their employees directly. All employees are covered by work comp and liability laws of your state. Employers are subject to Social Security, federal tax, and medicare withholding, and applicable state and local income taxes. It’s important to understand your obligations when hiring a home care agency.

What is the company’s replacement policy?

Despite everyone’s best efforts the client and caregiver’s personalities may clash. In most cases, a good home care agency will provide you with as many replacements as needed. Have a discussion about “what if” scenarios and see how the company reacts. Ideally they will take your concerns very seriously and act as a liaison to resolve the conflict quickly and effectively.

What happens if I have an issue of concern after business hours?

Home care is a 24/7 business. The rule of thumb is that worst case situations occur during the nights, weekends, or holidays. You want your agency to have a very clear process for managing problems outside of their regular business hours. Some agencies use answering services while a few agencies will have a dedicated staff member to field calls after hours. With today’s technology there is absolutely no reason you shouldn’t be able to reach the agency in case of an emergency. Ask how to contact them and see how they respond.

Article written by Acti-Kare Responsive In-Home Care.  View Acti-Kare’s listing on