Questions to ask when Considering Home Care in Charlotte, NC

When a loved one needs in-home help, it is important to educate yourself on what’s available.

By Kristen Gerencher, MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — The signs can hit you quickly or sneak up on you gradually. But what do you do if Mom or Dad isn’t safe living alone anymore?
“The worst thing you can do is ignore it,” said Bob Mecca, principal of Robert A. Mecca & Associates, an independent, fee-only financial planning firm in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
If an elderly relative starts to need help to get through the day, families who want to avoid institutions often face two choices: hire a home-care aide or become one yourself. Both these options allow the older person to remain at home where he or she may be most comfortable, experts say, but each has its own pitfalls.
Families who choose outside help must decide what level of care their loved one requires and whether they want to go through an agency or hire a caregiver privately. And people who join the ranks of the 65 million unpaid family caregivers in the U.S. can face health-draining burnout if they don’t budget for respite care for themselves.
There are two main kinds of in-home care. Personal or home-care aides provide companionship and support a person’s activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, preparing meals and doing laundry. Home health aides may do all those things plus tasks such as administering medication or recording changes in a client’s condition. They also may work under a nurse’s supervision.
Here are some questions to consider when thinking of hiring or becoming a caregiver.
What kind of care do you need and can you afford?
If you don’t know what kind of care is needed, a specially-trained geriatric care manager can help you assess the situation by doing a site visit. Assessments cost $500 to $800 depending where you live, said Stan Samples, communications director for the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. Its website,, can match you with local geriatric care managers.
The Alzheimer’s Association offers an always-open phone line at 1-800-272-3900 and an online CareFinder tool at And Medicare’s website has a Home Health Compare tool at
Before looking for a home-care worker, families need to make sure they can afford to hire one, Mecca said.
Families typically pay for these services out of their pockets unless the older person meets Medicare’s coverage conditions or has a private long-term care insurance policy that covers such needs.
Agencies’ hourly rates often are towards the top of the scale while caregivers who work independently are typically less expensive.
Rates vary widely but are often $14 to $22 an hour for nonmedical in-home care, said Jim McCabe, president of Eldercare Resources, a geriatric care-management company in Scottsdale, Ariz. Still, home care is often less pricey than assisted-living facilities, which can run $2,800 to $4,400 a month, he said.
Should you hire an independent worker directly or go an agency?
The advantage of using a home-care agency is it takes responsibility for screening and supplying aides and paying their wages, taxes and insurance in the event they get hurt on the job, said Ethan Kassel, a geriatric care manager and co-owner of Garden State Eldercare, a home-health agency in South Orange, N.J.
Agencies also run criminal background and driving-record checks, and they provide back-up aides should your main caregiver get sick or go on vacation.

Source: Marketwatch

Home care counselors at Affordable Home Care are available to talk with you about your home health care needs including how to reduce caregiver stress while providing better, affordable care. Affordable Home Care is a home care agency providing In-Home Care in Charlotte.