Allison’s mom needed help, everyone could see that. When the family talked to her about getting one of the professional home care agencies to come in she refused. She insisted on hiring a young man whom she had befriended at her church. At first it seemed to be an ideal match. But the lack of a proper background checks soon came back to haunt them. Late one night the police knocked on the door to inform the family that the young caregiver had been in a serious accident with multiple injuries and arrested for felony drunk driving.
A simple background check would have revealed his previous drunk driving arrests and multiple vehicle infractions involving excessive speed. Legitimate home care agencies always do proper FBI/DOJ Livescans Background checks before hiring caregivers.
Until January 1, 2016, there was no licensing required or standards of care established in California. Now Home Care Agencies are required to be licensed bonded and insured. But there are many who have refused to comply with the law and still advertise themselves as professionals. With over 6,000 agencies in California, and about 250 in the Sacramento region alone, finding the proper care for your loved one can be a daunting task. But here are some sources and questions to help narrow the search.
This is absolutely the worst place to search for a caregiver. You will save money, with the average caregiver offering their services at between $15-$20 per hour. But there are no background checks, no compliance with State and Federal payroll laws, no insurance or workman’s compensation. And, when the day comes that you no longer need services, if the caregiver files for unemployment, the State will come after the family for back payroll taxes including penalties and interest.
Churches and Community Organizations
You’ve already seen the problem with hiring friends of friends, but there are some non-profit organizations that do a pretty good job of vetting agencies. They can provide you with a list of legitimate companies. The Alzheimer’s Association and the local Area on Aging can help you find the help you need with no cost.
Online Referral Agencies
A better choice than the first two, but these agencies will only refer you to companies that have paid them a fee. The do a good job of vetting and tracking complaints, but you will not see agencies that are so well known and established that they have no need to pay for referrals. After filling out one of their contact forms, 3-4 agencies on their list will give you a call and try to set up a consultation with your family.
Local Placement Agencies
Still a better choice are local referral agencies. They gain their reputations by being helpful resources to seniors and the industry that supports our aging population. They know all of the assisted living, independent living, and nursing home facilities in your area, as well as knowing which agencies do the best job of providing in-home care. And they don’t charge a fee for their services. Some of the local referral agencies we work closely with are A Love for Seniors, Senior Referral Network, and A Senior Connection.
The best and safest option is to do your own research. Reviewing Home Care Agencies online, checking their websites, looking for their reviews and testimonials, and finally calling them up and asking them the 20 questions you should know before hiring and agency: these are the best and safest steps to getting the best help and the right fit for your particular situation.