Live-in senior caregivers are in demand – wait, you say, I don’t want someone to move-in with my mother or father, or, if you are a senior caregiver, you are thinking you don’t want to move-in with a senior.
But wait, we say, because it doesn’t work that way.
Live-in caregivers do not actually move-in with a senior when they are working for a licensed senior home care agency. Many states actually have passed legislation which requires all professionals referring seniors to caregiver services to only refer to licensed senior care companies. Why? Well, it turns out the #1 type of senior abuse is financial abuse. Usually this takes place by a relative or caregiver.
We also always like to point out that senior care is not at all like babysitting – yes, we know some babysitter websites have tried to dabble in senior care and we also know that has not worked out so well for them – nobody wants to lose a lifetime of a senior’s assets to a hire-direct caregiver, not to mention the lack of payroll taxes, insurance and training that is missing in a hire-direct situation (one fall or injured back and there goes the family’s assets).
Northwestern University in Chicago also released a caregiver study recently which expressed concern over lack of language skills and training for hire-direct senior caregivers. You won’t find this when working with professionally licensed senior care companies - they deliver one-on-one care which can even be superior to care in an institutional setting. Look for more and more states to pass legislation to protect both seniors and caregivers from the lack of insurances and benefits in the hire-direct situations.
Senior care requires managing care for perhaps a senior who is
resistant to help. Combine this with memory loss and the senior care services can take a toll on a caregiver. Senior home care agencies provide emotional support and Care Management for live-in senior caregivers and provide the same level of professional services a senior would find in a nursing home (except there is one C.N.A. or caregiver providing one-on-one care where nursing homes will have one C.N.A. for every 10 to 15 residents). Review the daily costs of nursing homes to see that most nursing homes will charge from $200 to $350 per day for the care services (and the sharing of one C.N.A. for as many as a dozen residents).
Seniors are dealing with age-related illnesses which advance at different paces, along with the emotional challenges of losing loved ones. This requires proper training and support by professional senior care companies. In addition, senior caregivesr deserve the benefits that senior care companies provide, such as Social Security benefits, Worker’s Compensation insurance and Unemployment insurance.
Having your friends pass away every other month and then waking up in the morning only to discover a new body ache would not be pleasant at any age, right? My brother and sister and I always joke that our parent’s social life is going to funerals. But the truth of the matter is that funerals are just part of their monthly mix of activities.
Back to live-in caregiving – this is exactly why live-in senior care is in demand – because there is some comfort in knowing that while you are losing many things you are not losing your home and all the memories that come with it. All of us in senior caregiving can tell you stories about the senior who relocated to an Assisted Living community or to a child’s house and passed away the next day or week. Home is where the heart is, for some, and a live-in caregiver keeps the senior’s heart at home.
What do live-in caregivers do?
Job Description for a Live-in caregiver includes assisting the senior to “age-in-place”. The caregiver will spend the night a few days in a row and keep the household running. And then they will go back to their own home.
As the former owner of a senior home care agency in Chicago, my company provided live-in senior care services for many senior clients. I very much enjoyed working with these seniors, as usually they did not have family members who lived nearby and just wanted to find some joy in their last days within their own home and the neighborhood that they knew. As I grew up on a family farm which has been home to our family for more than 150 years, I very much appreciate the sense of home and having roots – deep, deep roots which support the tree of life. Of course the tree won’t survive if you separate it from it’s roots – I totally understand the need to age-in-place in your own home.
Live-in caregivers usually work in a team of two caregivers who will rotate every few days. Somehow, the stars align and a senior home care agency can always staff the best team of caregivers for a live-in senior care client. I truly can tell you that we would always find just the right two caregivers for each client. The senior could have the live-in caregiver who talked a lot for a few days and then have the live-in caregiver who had few words for the rest of the week. You interview the senior and understand their needs and you always find just the right combination of caregivers.
Why don’t live-in caregivers actually move in? Well, for the same reason the senior prefers to remain in their own home for the aging process – it is their home, they don’t want one person moving in and encroaching on their turf. They want to keep their home as they know it. A professional live-in senior caregiver stays at the senior’s home for 2 to 3 days and leaves everything as it is – they bring just their over-night bag with them. It is a job, not their home.
Live-in caregivers receive a few hours of down-time each evening and are paid a daily stipend (the Supreme Court has approved this = no over-time pay is required as long as the senior caregiver can sleep at night and have a few hours to themselves each evening). They are able to prepare and enjoy meals with the senior (and if the senior must eat a special diet, they are provided with the food of their choice). Many senior care companies will use a meal delivery service such as Peapod to deliver groceries to the senior each week. This way the live-in caregiver can plan meals and make sure they are meeting the nutrition guidelines for the senior’s medical conditions.
Senior home care agencies will make sure the senior’s house is appropriate for live-in caregivers. From proper sleeping arrangements, to all the little things like fresh new sheets and towels, the caregiver will be made to feel at home while they are caring for the senior.
Another advantage of working as a live-in caregiver is that you just have to take public transportation or drive to and from work once a week. Many more mature ladies enjoy this type of arrangement. One of my favorite caregivers who had burned out from working as a C.N.A. at nursing homes and moved on to only do live-in care, told me she would not still be married if she did not do live-in. “it is perfect,” she would tell me, “just when I am sick and tired of my husband and he is sick and tired of me, it is time for me to run off for my 3-day live-in shift and by the time I come home he is missing me and my cooking!”
A few more answers to the questions you may have around working as a live-in senior caregiver.
Job Description for Live-in Senior Caregivers:
Assist senior with Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s), including meal preparation, light housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping, meal preparation, medication monitoring, physical exercise and manage calendar and escort to doctor appointments and personal appointments. Assistance with physical care may be required in some situations. Seniors on hospice care may be bed-ridden and require more hands-on care assistance. Companionship is also a top requirement of caregivers. Review the caregiver job description in the Caregiverlist Career Center.
Live-in Senior Caregiver Pay Wages:
Live-in senior caregivers receive a daily stipend – this was actually approved by the Supreme Court to over-ride over-time pay as long as the caregiver can sleep during the night and have down-time for themselves each evening. The Fair Home Health Care Act of 2007 upholds a long-standing U.S. Dept. of Labor regulation which exempts home care companions from overtime payment. This works for both the caregiver and the senior as hourly pay would just not make sense nor be affordable. Live-in senior caregivers receive the benefits of 3 meals a day, time to rest and from $100 to $160 per day. Other perks include being able to accompany a senior on trips and to special events and activities.
Apply for a live-in caregiving job near you to begin a career as a live-in senior caregiver.
Live-in Caregiver Contract: Is there one?
No, the senior care company will have a Service Agreement with the family but in a professional live-in position with a senior care company you are an employee and there is no contract. The live-in caregiver receives days off, benefits such as Social Security taxes, Unemployment and health care insurance, vacation pay and bonuses. Ongoing caregiver training is also provided. As an employee, the senior care company will re-staff you should the senior pass away.
Live-in Caregiver Training:
Senior caregivers receive basic non-medical caregiver training. The 10-hour Caregiverlist Caregiver Certification meets the training standards in most states and prepares anyone for the job of caregiving. Senior care companies will provide training in age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and assisting seniors who are rehabilitating from strokes, hip replacements and heart surgery.
How to find and apply for a Live-in Caregiver Job:
Many seniors do prefer to remain in their own home (or vacation home) as they age. Many times live-in senior care will become a sudden need. You may submit one caregiver job application on Caregiverlist and be considered for current and future job openings with senior care companies in your area.
Apply for Live-in Caregiver Jobs near you now – spread the word to others who may be interested in working as a senior caregiver – remember, the rewards are beyond the paycheck. Many times early retirees enjoy the fulfillment that senior care delivers. As long as you are a caring person and can pass a criminal background check, you can begin working as a companion caregiver which is the basic care services many seniors need. Visit Caregiverlist’s Career Center to learn more.
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