Choosing Between a Home Care Agency and an Independent Caregiver

Has an accident recently demobilized a loved one? Have your parents’ golden years kept them from remembering to take their medicine? Maybe the seniors in your family can’t get around the way they used to.

Despite the cause, discovering your elderly loved ones require in-home care means it’s time to make a choice. You may be looking for temporary care during a recuperation period or permanent care for your ailing or elderly parents. Either way, a home care agency or an independent caregiver can provide you with what you need.

Below, you’ll find the pros and cons of choosing a home care agency versus an independent caregiver.

A Home Care Agency vs. an Independent Caregiver

The main difference between a home care agency and an independent caregiver is how the family receives care. With a home care agency, the family contacts a company that sends them qualified healthcare providers. These companies run background checks and drug tests while verifying proper training, matching you to the right professionals.

On the other hand, independent caregivers cut out the middleman. Instead of finding a provider through an agency, the family employs a caregiver directly. Independent caregivers can be a cheaper alternative that provides a similar level of expertise and care.

The Hiring Process

When a family does decide to employ a caregiver directly, they go through websites, newspaper ads, and recommendations to find the proper aide. They can also put out an advertisement of their own, describing what the job entails. Once they’ve found some applications that catch their eye, they begin the interview process.

The family will then ask for references, recommendations, and qualifications to determine if the aide’s skills match their senior’s needs. The interview process alone can take months, depending on the candidates.

A home care agency takes the elongated searching out of the equation. Once you describe the type of assistance necessary for your seniors, the agency will uncover the best matches in their database. The agency also prescreens the workers and guarantees they have relevant work experience.

Issues With Your Help

Still, there’s no promise that your aide will work out. If you have an independent caregiver that you believe is stealing or abusing your elders, you’ll want to take action. However, suing can be a more prolonged and strenuous task than the interview process.

Deciding to fire your help is just as tricky. Not only can they refuse to go quietly, but their absence will leave you to restart the hiring process.

On the other hand, a home care agency will deal with accusations from the aide, elder, or family member. The agency will consider all grievances and go to great lengths to sort out any issues, so you don’t have to. The agency will conduct further background checks and investigate the situation to find possible solutions.

You also don’t have to worry about holding onto an aide you don’t like with an agency. Whether the aide is problematic or simply doesn’t suit your family, an agency can find a replacement quickly. Unlike with independent caregivers, the transition is effortless on your part.

The Right Care

Regardless of agency or independent help, you’ll have the option to choose between medical and non-medical assistance.

If your seniors need physical or occupational therapy, injections, or health monitoring, you’ll need a trained medical assistant. In this case, it’s best to turn to a home care agency. Agencies hire an abundance of licensed workers that are qualified to handle numerous physical and mental ailments.

It’s not impossible to find an independent caregiver with these qualifications. However, agencies carry a wider variety of aides that may better suit your elders’ needs.

Contrarily, if you’re looking for an aide to accommodate your elders with daily activities, a non-medical assistant provides ample help. They’ll assist your parents with their daily regimens such as bathing, combing their hair, oral care, and changing their clothes. They will also help them with some light housework and cooking to keep them healthy and safe.

For a non-medical assistant, an independent caregiver is more advantageous. Agencies may limit what a care provider can do. An independent caregiver is free to assist the seniors how they deem fit, which includes:

  • Helping them with their shopping
  • Running errands with the seniors
  • Taking them for walks
  • Being a companion to talk to and play games with


Just as critical as the care your senior requires is the dependability of that care. If your parents need daily care, having an aide that misses even one shift is not an option. However, it’s not uncommon for this to happen.

If you have an independent caregiver, you have spent time hiring the right person to understand your parents’ needs. If they cannot make one of their shifts, you won’t find a replacement in time. A last-minute change like this can leave you wondering who will adhere to your loved ones’ needs.

With a home care agency, these fears become unwarranted. If your aide cannot make it to a shift, the agency will not leave you high and dry. They will immediately send out a replacement who is familiar with your parents’ files.

A home care agency guarantees you’ll never miss another day of work sitting with your elderly or disabled loved ones. Seniors receive care that targets their particular needs, even when your regular caregiver:

  • Comes down with a cold or other illness
  • Quits with little or no notice
  • Proves inadequate for the position
  • Complains about their daily duties
  • Continuously goes missing without an excuse

Crystal Home Care

When looking for senior care at home, you need to find someone you can trust. At Crystal Home Care, our aides continuously provide personalized support for seniors in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Our experienced caregivers set a new standard for safety, comfort, and care.

Are you interested in discovering how our home care agency can alleviate the strain on your family? Contact us at (708) 535-4300 for a free consultation today

We provide professional in-home care services throughout Chicagoland and the surrounding suburbs including but not limited to: ChicagoHinsdaleWinnetkaNorthbrookWilmetteOak Brook

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