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Live-In Caregiver

November 21, 2021

If you have a loved one who is elderly or has a debilitating illness, you may be wondering whether you should hire a live-in PCS caregiver. A lot of people choose this option because it is advantageous and convenient for the patient, especially in comparison to the alternatives.

The fact that most Medicaid plans cover these types of services makes it even more worthwhile to consider bringing in an at-home caregiver to help your loved one fulfill their medical and other needs.

What is a live-in caregiver?

Live-in caregivers stay at the homes of patients who suffer from debilitating medical conditions, such as chronic illnesses, Alzheimer's disease, and dementia.

If one of your friends or family members has a medical condition that makes it hard for them to manage their daily tasks, a live-in caregiver would sleep at their home while they provide your loved one with different forms of care and assistance.

Why would one need live-in care?

The elderly and patients who have debilitating medical problems may require help with completing day-to-day tasks, including chores, preparing meals, and maintaining personal hygiene.

More specifically, here are the main reasons for why your elderly or sick loved one would need to hire a live-in caregiver:

  • Personal Care: To get help with bathing, eating, dressing, going to the toilet, and grooming.
  • Household Care: Live-in caregivers can take care of cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping, and other household tasks.
  • Health Care: This entails managing the patient's medication schedule, going with them to physician appointments, and taking them to physical therapy sessions.
  • Emotional Care: A live-in caregiver can offer your loved one companionship and listening ears, as well as engaging with them in meaningful activities.
  • Full-Time Assistance: Many live-in caregivers sleep at their patients' homes to provide them with full-time support around the clock.

You want to keep these benefits in mind while you think about what's best for your sick family member or friend, especially if you're still deciding between hiring a live-in caregiver or taking them to an assisted living facility.

Live-in Caregiver vs Assisted Living

Each of those two options has its own pros and cons. That is to say that one isn't always better than the other. Instead, you should weigh the positive and negative aspects of these two choices based on your loved one's specific medical demands and circumstances.

Here is a breakdown of the upsides and downsides of hiring a live-in caregiver in comparison to having a patient stay at an assisted living facility:

Live-in Caregiver

Firstly, the following are the positive aspects of working with a live-in caregiver:

  • Most people who are over 65 years old want to stay at home instead of living in a medical facility.
  • Live-in caregivers can give your family member or friend one-on-one attention and cater to their individual needs 5 days a week for 24 hours per day.
  • The patient controls when and what they eat.
  • Your loved one stays in a familiar environment while they receive care.
  • If the patient wants to keep pets, they can certainly do so in their own home.

Secondly, here are the potential downsides to hiring a live-in caregiver:

  • When the patient stays at home, they don't have many opportunities to engage in social or recreational activities.
  • Access to doctors or the emergency room from home is more limited than at a residential care facility.

In contrast, taking your loved one to an assisted living facility can address some of the downsides to working with a live-in caregiver. Yet this option also comes with its own shortcomings.

Assisted Living

Here the pros to having your sick/elderly friend or family member live in an assisted living home:

  • The patient stays in a private apartment.
  • They have immediate access to nurses whenever they require help.
  • During emergencies, your loved one can immediately see a doctor or receive emergency care.
  • By sharing a common area with other residents in the assisted living home, your friend or family member will have plenty of opportunities to participate in social and recreational activities.

Having said all that, hiring a live-in caregiver can be more advantageous than taking your loved one to a residential care facility, particularly when it comes to the following:

  • The patient doesn't receive as much one-on-one care at an assisted living home.
  • Your loved one can't control their meal schedule and food options.
  • The sick or elderly person will have to move to an unfamiliar living environment.
  • Many residential care facilities don't allow residents to keep pets.

In short, a lot of people find that the pros to hiring a live-in caregiver outweigh the cons, even more so when compared to assisted living facilities.

The Benefits of Live-In Caregivers

Apart from the ones that we mentioned above, here are some of the individual benefits that patients can enjoy by working with a live-in caregiver:

  • Your loved one will be free from the strict schedules and regimens that long-term care facilities impose.
  • Your friend or family member can live as independently as possible.
  • The patient's friends and family members can visit them whenever they want to (as opposed to only being able to do so during visitation hours at assisted living homes).
  • Your elderly or sick loved one continues to live within comfortable and familiar surroundings that give them happy memories.
  • The patient can keep their pets, cherished possessions, and/or hobbies when they hire a live-in caregiver.
  • Your friend or family member can maintain their personal habits and favorite routines.
  • Having a live-in caregiver care for your loved one at home ensures that they stay in a healthy environment (rather than getting exposed to contagious diseases and illnesses that are commonly found in residential care facilities and clinical settings).

To put it another way, these advantages make hiring a live-in caregiver worthwhile, even if this option costs more than an assisted living home in your state or city.

How much does a live-in caregiver cost?

Live-in caregivers can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000 per month. The exact amount depends on several factors, including the amount of care that your loved one needs and the average cost of live-in caregivers in your city, county, and/or state.

Will insurance cover a live-in caregiver?

The majority of Medicaid plans cover some or all of the costs of hiring a live-in or personal care services (PCS) caregiver.

You should check your loved one's coverage paperwork and their state's policies to confirm that Medicaid will pay for a live-in caregiver. Some health plans cover these services for up to a certain number of hours and/or activities that specific types of caregivers perform.

Important Elements to Include in a Contract

Writing a contract is important for many reasons. Not only does it minimize the potential of future disagreements, but it also ensures that the caregiver's job duties, hours, and other contract specifications are all covered under Medicaid.

When you put together a contract for your loved one's caregiver, you want to include the following:

  • A detailed job description.
  • The hours and/or schedule of the live-in caregiver.
  • The pay rate.
  • How often they will get paid.
  • Any other condition or aspect that you agreed to while interviewing the live-in caregiver.

A comprehensive contract makes it likely that your sick or elderly loved one has a smooth and seamless experience once they hire their live-in caregiver.

After all, the patient already requires assistance with personal, household, emotional, and health care. By taking care of the live-in caregiver's contract, you will allow your friend or family member to fully focus on improving and getting better.

Above all, working with a live-in caregiver gives your loved one the ability to concentrate on their health from the comfort of their home in an independent and convenient setting (as opposed to moving to an assisted living facility).

In fact, if the patient's Medicaid plan covers live-in caregiver services, hiring one becomes even more advantageous and desirable.