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Should I Hire a Caregiver Privately or From an Agency?

Advantages and Disadvantages of Both

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Updated March 10, 2009

Once you've decided that it's time to hire a caregiver and determined what kind of caregiver to hire, it's time to decide whether you'll hire one privately or use a caregiver agency.

There are advantages and disadvantages to both private caregiver and caregiver agencies. Consider the differences and then you can decide which one is best for you.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Self-Hired Caregivers and Caregiver Agencies

Caregiver Type Advantages Disadvantages
Self-Hired Private Caregiver
  • Usually less expensive than hiring from an agency.
  • You have more control over selection of the caregiver.
  • Greater flexibility in work schedule and responsibilities of caregiver.
  • The effort to search, interview, and check references can be time consuming.
  • No supervision or special training from an agency.
  • No coverage for caregiver absenteeism.
  • You may be required to pay for insurance coverage for caregiver.
  • You are responsible for payroll, deductions, and taxes for caregiver.
  • Agency Caregiver
  • All of the hiring and firing is done by the agency.
  • Caregivers are screened and supervised by the agency.
  • Availability of back up caregivers if yours is sick.
  • The agency handles payroll, deductions, and taxes.
  • The agency usually does extensive background checks on their employees.
  • The agency usually provides on-going training for their caregivers.
  • Usually more expensive than self-hiring a caregiver.
  • You have less choice in the individual caregiver selection.
  • Caregivers may alternate, leading to confusion and interruption of care.
  • Caregiver may be more limited in the duties they are allowed to perform.
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