How to Vet a Home Care Agency

By John F. Wasik
May 26, 2018
From Morningstar’s Ecology of Money

Dr. Katy is quoted in this article:

 “I recommend that people reach out to the national Eldercare locator service as their first stop to find eldercare resources, including home care information, in every U.S. community,” Votava says. “Eldercare locator gives people access to trained professional counselors providing information and referral assistance free of charge.”


When my father, now 91, was no longer able to fully care for himself, his emerging needs unfolded slowly. At first, we noticed unpaid bills began to stack up, which my younger brother and I took over managing. Then there were other daily details of his life, such as cleaning and eating, that began to deteriorate.

Since my father had no intention of moving into assisted living–he rejected the places we toured–yet couldn’t continue to be completely on his own, the third option, which we knew little or nothing about, was home care.

For years, options for long-term care were limited to taking an older relative into your home or placing him or her in assisted living or a nursing home. For working families, the first choice can be difficult, and the second option can be prohibitively expensive.
But as America ages, the home healthcare industry is evolving, providing lower-cost alternatives to residential assisted living. More than one million jobs will be created to meet this growing need through 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

How can you know if home care is a viable option for yourself or a loved one?

Home Care Basics

There are several layers of home care, and you can order them a la carte. Basic services, such as home cleaning or homemaking, are the least expensive and are a good place to start. More personal services, such as companion care and health aides, perform nonmedical tasks, such as transportation to doctors and checking on medication. The top level of care is skilled nursing, where registered visiting nurses come into the home to provide basic medical services.
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