Over the past few weeks, we’ve been writing about how to find a caregiver for an elderly parent: how to tell whether it’s time, what to look for in a caregiver, how to conduct a job interview when you’re hiring a caregiver for your parent.
But there’s one thing we haven’t addressed yet, and it’s pretty important: the cost of a caregiver.
Care.com offers a calculator that lets you figure out the suggested pay rate for caregivers in your community depending on how many hours you’ll need them each week and their years of experience.
We crunched the numbers for our own community – as well as some other surrounding towns here in the Philadelphia area and found that the suggested pay rate was:
- Cost to hire a caregiver (full time) — $530 for 40 hours of work each week
- Cost to hire a caregiver (part-time) — $265 for 20 hours each week
Of course, the cost to hire a caregiver can depend on your parent’s needs. Are you seeking a live-in nurse who’ll provide round-the-clock care, or someone to just check in on occasion? If it’s part-time help you need, will it be for the same days every week?
Asking the person you hire to take on additional duties like running errands might increase the cost of a caregiver (or require you to reimburse them.)
The cost of a caregiver also depends on the type of caregiver you hire. The national average hourly rate for a non-skilled home health aide is $18, although in some states this can range from $15 to $25 per hour if you go through an agency. And the agency may charge more for weekend or holiday shifts.
If you’re hiring a CNA (certified nursing assistant, expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $30 per hour if you go through an agency.
And of course, costs will go up when you hire someone with more experience. Hiring someone who has a special certification – such as a social worker – might also cost more.
Will Medicare cover the cost to hire a caregiver?
Medicare does not cover the cost of long-term care at home. It will pay for short-term nursing home stays, as well as “skilled care” visits at home from nurses or physical, speech or occupational therapists. These specialists are preapproved for visits by a doctor and can make hourly visits.
Wouldn’t residential care be easier?
As you calculate the cost of caregivers for your family, you might begin to think that residential care – an assisted living center or nursing home – might be a better option.
Here are some of the pros and cons of hiring a caregiver vs. residential care.
- Pro- Offer one-to-one care
- Pro-More control over timing of meals and meal options
- Pro – Your mom or dad can stay at home in a familiar environment and keep their pets
- Con – There are no doctors or immediate emergency care
- Con – There are fewer chances to socialize
In residential care:
- Pro – Access to doctors and emergency care right away
- Pro – Lots of chances to socialize and engage in recreational activities
- Con — One-to-one care not available
- Con – Meals are scheduled and dining options more limited
- Con – Your parents won’t be in a familiar environment and will likely not get to keep their pets
Has your mom or dad decided that staying at home is right for them? Let Pennsylvania Stair Lifts make life easier for your family.