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Understand Your Caregiving Options

by Richard Bitner
Understand Your Caregiving Options

Choosing Between 24-Hour Home Care and Live-In Caregivers

There are a number of reasons why a senior might require round-the-clock care. Severe illness, acute disability, or a memory disorder can all lead to 24/7 care and support. While many seniors and their families choose to make the move to a nursing home at this stage, others prefer to receive care at home, where seniors feel most comfortable. Understand Your Caregiving Options
If you have a loved one who requires constant care, you’ll need to choose between a live-in caregiver and a 24-hour home care service. Each offers its own benefits and drawbacks, and the right service for your loved one will depend on your loved one’s care needs, their living situation, your family’s involvement in your loved one’s care, and a number of other circumstances.
Visiting Angels has been providing seniors with professional, 24-hour home care for nearly two decades. Below, we’ve outlined the pros and cons of 24-hour home care and live-in caregivers, what each of these services offers, and how you can make the right choice for your loved one.

When & Why to Choose 24-Hour Care

If you feel that a loved one cannot live safely without constant care and supervision, some form of 24-hour care becomes necessary. Sometimes it’s possible for family members to share 24-hour caregiving responsibilities. But more often than not, professional assistance is needed. Understand Your Caregiving Options
Some of the most common reasons for choosing 24-hour care include:

  • Memory Disorders. Seniors suffering from advanced forms of dementia can be a risk to themselves without constant monitoring and support.
  • Severe Illness. If a loved one suffers from a serious illness, they may require regular medical or non-medical care to ensure their well-being.
  • Acute Disability. Physical disabilities can make it impossible for seniors to safely perform necessary tasks, like going to the bathroom, without help from a caregiver.

24-hour care will ensure that your loved one has someone around to assist them with activities of daily living at all times of the day. These can include light housekeeping, meal planning, meal preparation, and companionship. It also ensures that your loved one is looked after throughout the day, ensuring a watchful eye to keep them safe, offer guidance, and take action in case of an emergency.

24-Hour Home Care vs. Live-In Caregivers

Round-the-clock home care for seniors is a care option that is offered by a number of home care agencies and occasionally by independent caregivers. Here is what you need to know about both types of care to make the right choice for your loved one:

  • 24-Hour Home Care. 24-hour home care services are delivered by a team of caregivers. These caregivers are scheduled on 12-hour or 8-hour shifts to ensure that someone is always with your loved one. This makes constant-monitoring and assistance possible (as opposed to live-in care, which requires a sleeping period for the caregiver). Shorter shifts also ensure that caregivers are alert throughout their time on duty. With a rotating team of caregivers, communication between caregivers is essential.
  • Live-In Caregivers. Live-in care services are performed by a single caregiver over a 24-hour period. Usually, two caregivers split these duties over the course of the week. With the same caregiver providing care over a 24-hour period, caregivers can more quickly build a relationship with care recipients. Over the course of a 24-hour shift, a live-in caregiver receives an eight-hour sleeping period, which prevents constant monitoring.

Cost can be another factor that differentiates 24-hour home care from live-in care. While 24-hour home care is usually the more expensive option, rates can vary widely between providers. In some areas, it’s not uncommon to find 24-hour home care plans that are less expensive than live-in care.

Choosing the Right Care for Your Loved One

If your loved one requires round-the-clock care, here are the factors that you should consider when choosing between 24-hour home care and live-in care:

  • What are your loved one’s care needs? If your loved one has specialized care needs, that will narrow down the care providers who are able to provide quality care for your loved one.
  • How important is constant monitoring? If you feel that a caregiver should be alert and on duty all 24 hours of the day, then 24-hour home care by rotating caregivers may be necessary. However, some live-in caregivers will make accommodations to avoid care interruptions.
  • How do costs compare in your area? While cost of care is no object for some families, most of us don’t have that luxury. Meet with providers in your area to ensure an accurate cost comparison.
  • How will the care relationship be developed and maintained? Live-in caregivers are often able to develop stronger care relationships with care recipient by spending more time with them, though some home care agencies take steps to ensure a strong relationship between caregivers and care recipients.

Hiring a Caregivers vs. Choosing an Agency

Additionally, it’s important to consider the value of choosing an agency rather than hiring a caregiver on your own. One of the main benefits of choosing an agency is that they will handle all insurance and liability concerns. For example, the agency you choose should be bonded, insured and licensed if required by your state. If you hire a caregiver directly, who will hold the insurance? You or the caregiver?
Home care agencies also manage federal and state taxes or 1099 for the caregiver allowing you to focus on spending quality time with your loved one. When hiring a caregiver independently, you’ll be responsible for managing taxes, 1099 forms and being aware of any changes in regulations. A reputable agency will also run background and criminal history checks on caregivers ensuring they are trustworthy and reliable.
If you’re considering 24-hour home care for your loved one, get in touch with your local Visiting Angels office. Many of our home care agencies offer affordable 24-hour care plans that are tailored to each client’s needs. Your local office will be happy to meet with you for an in-person, no-cost consultation. Understand Your Caregiving Options

Understand Your Caregiving Options


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