Hiring Senior Caregivers: Avoid Tax and Legal Risks

Julie Northcutt, 6/22/2011

Senior caregiving is very different from child care, as sandwich generation parents and caregivers well know.  Children know they are expected to follow the instructions of their nanny or baby-sitter and it is also expected they will misbehave sometimes as they are growing children.  The parents are there at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day to hold everyone accountable.

Senior care is completely different.  First, it is not at all baby-sitting and specific knowledge and skills are necessary for senior care.  Senior caregivers must be trained in hands-on care as well as emotional care and many situations require the knowledge of a certified nursing aide.  It is necessary to understand how to communicate with seniors who are experiencing memory loss and how to manage their personality changes.  In addition, support for the caregiver is vital in order to have quality senior care in the home. 

Senior home care agencies provide professional care management with caregiver training and insurance protections and provide for all payroll taxes.  Another difference in senior care from child care is the fact that some unsavory individuals target this market for financial fraud.  There are groups of caregivers who are trained in how to go into the home and develop trust in order to then take advantage of the senior financially.  The number one type of senior abuse is financial and entire estates of have been signed over to caregivers who knew how to develop the relationship in order to steal from their senior client.

Court-appointed guardians are assigned to seniors when abuse has taken place and those of us who have worked in senior care can share many stories about how this happens.

Professional senior home care agencies actively manage the care and the caregiver to prevent emotional and financial abuse from taking place.  They are well insured to also provide coverage if items in the home are broken or if the caregiver is injured on the job.  They also take care of payroll taxes to prevent any tax issues which can arise if an independent contractor does not pay taxes on their own.

While babysitters can be hired direct, senior caregivers should not be.  You are risking a lifetime worth of assets and the caregivers do not have the advantage of support and training and a manager to talk to when they have had a rough day.  Seniors are experiencing new health issues and losing their friends and families to death and because of this, sometimes they are not cooperative with their caregivers.

Also, unlike child care, if a senior caregiver cannot make it to work, Mom or Dad cannot stay home to fill-in and someone must be found to go in the caregiver's place.  This is especially vital when the adult children do not live near their parents.  A trustworthy and trained caregiver must be able to fill-in on short notice and professional senior home care agencies have care plans in place and trained staff to step in immediately.

The National Private Duty Association will host a web conference on Wednesday, March 30, 2011, at 8:00 pm EDT to provide advice on avoiding tax and legal risks when hiring home care providers.

"Most seniors want to reamin living at home as long as possible.  The goal of our upcomiong program is to educate families to help them amke the best decisions when hiring caregivers for their seniors who need assistance around the house," says Sheila McMackin, president of The National Private Duty Association (NPDA).

The web conference topics will include:

  • Hiring Guidelines
  • Tax and Legal Issues
  • Indetifying Risks
  • Independent Contractor Issues

You may sign-up for this free conference and learn how to provide both quality senior care and protection of assets to your senior family members and friends.

Senior home care agencies provide one-on-one caregivers, professionally managed in the home.  Compare the costs of senior home care with nursing homes in your area to better plan for your retirement care needs.



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