Live-In Care for Seniors

The purpose of this article is to create an awareness and greater understanding regarding live-in care, and how it can be a convenient and economic alternative to institutional facilities. As well, we will review the different options that exist with live-in care, as well as the advantages and the general costs.

Live-in care can be described as a caregiver providing services to a client, while living with the client in their home. The live-in caregiver acts to facilitate the independence of the client, and helps them to optimize their quality of life. A live-in caregiver can provide services such as: meal preparation, light housekeeping, companionship, medication reminders, hygiene assistance, and more. In a live-in situation, a caregiver is paid for eight hours of service per day, is given reasonable room and board accommodation, private time including uninterrupted sleep, and receives at least one day a week off. Therefore, the caregiver resides in the home, and is present in case of emergency, but is not expected to work continuously around the clock. It is important in all live-in cases that the lines of communication between the caregiver and the client remain open in order to promote a harmonious relationship based on clear understanding.

A common abbreviation in health care is ADL meaning one’s activities of daily living. For seniors who begin to have difficulty with their own ADL’s, their overall independence may be compromised. These can certainly be trying times for the individual, and family and friends are encouraged to practice psycho-social interventions such as attentive listening, eye contact, therapeutic touch, and humor to help them cope with these normal life stages. A live-in caregiver will assist a client with ADL’s, therefore ultimately assisting them in maintaining their independence. Along with this practical solution, live-in caregivers reduce the risk of social isolation and provide stimulating company for the client.

Live-in care can be considered as an alternative to placement in an institutional facility. The two main advantages of live-in care are that the senior is able to stay at home, and that the care they receive is more personalized, and adapted to their individual needs. A live-in caregiver and their client get to know one another, as time goes on, and can foster a nurturing relationship for both the client and the caregiver, that not only meets the physical needs of the client, but also provides emotional and psychological support.

Once you have made the decision, there are three options available to assist in setting up live-in care: private agency placement, personal hiring of a caregiver or hiring a caregiver with the assistance of an agency.

The first option is to have a private agency place one of their employees as the live-in caregiver. The agency will charge a daily rate for services on average ranging from $150-$190 per day; this totals approximately $50,000 a year. The advantage of this option is that the agency is the employer of the caregiver, and takes care of payment, tax deductions, insurance, worker’s compensation, etc., and is continuously involved in the client’s care plan. The disadvantage of this option is that it is much more costly.

The second option is to hire a caregiver yourself. This can either be done by hiring someone who is already in the country looking for a live-in position, or by sponsoring a foreign worker through Immigration Canada’s live-in program. The advantage of this option is cost efficiency, where the yearly cost would be approximately $21,000. The disadvantages include: time consumption in interviewing and finding caring, competent and trustworthy caregivers; and the responsibility of paperwork, including: sponsorship papers, payroll to the caregiver, tax deduction and remittance to Canada Revenue Agency, as well as worker’s compensation to protect the well being of the caregiver.

The third option is a compromise between the two previous options. This option entails becoming the employer by hiring a caregiver with the assistance of an agency, which charges a one-time placement fee. The agency is responsible for interviewing and screening their caregivers, and can set up one or many interviews with different caregivers interested in a live-in position. Moreover, depending on which agency you choose, they may also include in their placement fee, assistance with all the paper work required for a legitimate caregiver-employer relationship. In other words, the agency guides you in your transition as the caregiver’s employer. The advantages of this option are: guidance in what can seem to be an overwhelming process, and access to caregivers who have already demonstrated their competence to the agency. Also, this option is still less costly than paying an agency a daily live-in rate. The one-time placement fee which can range between $1500-$2500 ensures that you are comfortable and confident with the caregiver you choose, and in your role as the caregiver’s employer.

At Zen Home Care, we are proud to offer what we consider to be the best one-time placement fee package in the business. For a one-time fee of $2000, we will introduce to you caregivers that we have already interviewed, and carefully screened according to the competence and compassion they demonstrate. We will also assist you with all of the sponsorship papers, negotiations, employment contracts and employer declaration to Canada Revenue Agency. On top of this, we will provide one year of closely guided assistance with all issues pertaining to payroll, tax & CPP deductions, and T4 papers that have to be remitted to the caregiver at the end of each fiscal year. We will support you all the way through, and make sure that your experience in hiring a live-in caregiver is a smooth and enjoyable one.

Zen Home Care is a local, family-owned business that is passionate about providing quality care to our clients. We offer competitive rates on hourly and live-in care services as well as our superior one-time placement fee package for live-in care.