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How To Hire An In-Home Caregiver

How to Hire an In-Home Caregiver

The majority of today’s seniors show a preference toward continuing to live at home for as long as possible, as opposed to moving into a senior living facility.

It’s not hard to understand why; transitioning to a senior living facility can feel scary and unfamiliar, especially with any added stressors such as illness and decreased faculties.

If you and your loved one have decided that he or she would be better suited staying at home, you have plenty of options for in-home care. 

What does an in-home caregiver do?

Your caregiver’s role will vary depending on the needs of your loved one.

If he or she requires minimal care and supervision but lives alone, you could hire a companion caregiver to provide some much-needed companionship and social interaction. These caregivers can perform some minor tasks such as driving to appointments, helping to dispense medication, and some light cooking and cleaning. 

Personal care assistants essentially function as companion caregivers with some added duties. Personal care assistants are there to help your loved one with all aspects of the day-to-day, such as bathing, dressing, grocery shopping, and more. These caregivers can be live-in or on call, depending on your family’s needs and preferences. 

How to find an in-home caregiver

If you want to find a qualified live-in caregiver without searching very far, working with a care agency is the way to go.

Senior care agencies recruit, interview, and thoroughly background check all potential employees, and all agencies have certain training standards that they uphold. 

Maybe you heard about a fantastic caregiver in your area through word of mouth. This could still be a fine option, and possibly less expensive than an agency. However, working with an independent caregiver holds you, the employer, liable for any injury incurred on the job. 

Hourly rates will most likely be higher with an agency caregiver, but you will save a ton of time and stress on figuring out FICA taxes, seeking liability insurance for your caregiver, and filling out other tedious tax forms.

If you hire an agency caregiver, a great deal of the paperwork will be done for you, and liability insurance will most likely be included. If you decide to go with an independent caregiver, the process may not be so simple. 

Hiring an independent caregiver comes with some risk, so consulting a lawyer and an accountant is advisable to ensure that you are meeting all your obligations as an employer. Also, you’ll want to make sure that your potential independent caregiver has or had a home health aide license, meaning they’ve learned the basics of care from a registered nurse. 


Hiring the right in-home caregiver

If you’re going the agency route, starting with the right agency will save you time and effort. Make sure to do your research on different agencies’ care specialties, testimonials from previous clients, and staff vaccinations. 

Once you reach the interview process, there are a few key questions to answer. Does this candidate present themselves professionally? Do they connect well with the family, and especially with the person they’ll be caregiving for? Is there a language barrier? Maybe a potential caregiver technically checks all the boxes, but there is a lack of chemistry. Since your caregiver will be spending a good deal of time with your loved one, make sure to go with a candidate that could truly become a meaningful companion for them. 

Free Download: A Guide to Choosing an In-Home Care Company

Remember: if your loved one needs round-the-clock in-home care, you will need to hire two caregivers to take shifts. This can actually be a huge relief to families, as you know you always have someone else who is familiar with your situation to call upon if one caregiver has an emergency. 

Setting expectations with your in-home caregiver

Making sure your expectations are clear for your in-home caregiver is hugely important for a successful working relationship. If your caregiver’s job description is simply “Take care of Jill,” there’s far too much room for confusion. Some common duties for caregivers include:

  • cooking/cleaning
  • washing and folding laundry
  • running errands/picking up medication

Whatever you need from your caregiver, make sure to be as specific as possible. This also goes for what you don’t want, such as lateness, bringing kids/pets to work, or bringing in personal food. You and your loved one’s caregiver should be friendly, but for the continued health of the relationship, make sure to keep a constant level of professionalism. 

To help find the right in-home caregiver for you, download our free in-home care guide with helpful checklists and questions to ask or request a free consultation to discuss your loved one’s needs.


If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation.  Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.

Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia CareBed & Wheelchair Transfer AssistanceCompanionshipHousekeeping & Meal PreparationPersonal CareRecovery Care, and Transportation.

Serving the San Francisco Bay Area, Greater San Diego, and now Oregon, Family Matter In-Home Care has offices in Campbell, CARoseville, CASan Marcos, CASan Mateo, CA, and Portland, OR.

Carol Pardue-Spears

Carol has worked in the healthcare field for more than forty years. As a Certified Nursing Assistant, she worked for El Camino Hospital in the cardiac unit, Los Gatos Community Hospital, The Women’s Cancer Center in Los Gatos and several home health and hospice agencies. Carol founded Family Matters in 2002 to fill a deficit she witnessed in high-quality, in-home services and care.