There are more than 100 home care agencies in the Bay Area alone.  How do you navigate to find an agency you are comfortable with and that will provide the best care?

To figure out the right fit for you or your loved one, there are certain questions that you should ask of any prospective agency, such as:

  1. Are the caregiver W2 Employees of the agency?  This means the employees have taxes withheld are the legal responsibility of the agency.  Some agencies offer only a “match” of a caregiver but they are 1099 employees putting the full liability on you.
  2. Does the agency carry proper insurance?  Ask for a copy of the agencies proof of insurance statement which will show all the lines carried by the agency.
  3. Can you speak with references?  Talking with current and past clients will give you a very clear picture of how the agency truly operates.
  4. What is the recruiting and screening process for bringing caregivers on-board?  Are the caregivers given full background checks along with calling references?
  5. What is the communication process between the caregiver and the agency staff?   Careful and continuous monitoring ensures that appropriate action can be taken to ensure the safety of the client and identify any performance question with the caregiver.
  6. How flexible is the agency?   The requirements of care recipients typically change over time, even day-to-day or week-to-week, depending upon needs and the availability of family members.
  7. Will the agency help you plan for possible changes you may face down the road?  Staying at home is preferred by many seniors.   But what if the situation arises where staying at home is not an option?  Will your agency partner up with senior advocates that help find the best alternative to staying at home?  Advocates like Mary Meehan at “A Better Choice” who offer a no-fee service to help find the right facility.

The decision to stay at home and look for help is an important one, and is often fraught with emotions. Having a caregiver should make life less stressful, not more. My hope is that this list of questions will remove some of that stress, and will provide you with some guidance on finding the best partner for the years ahead.