Caregivers come into clients' homes to assist elderly or disabled persons with daily tasks and take care of their home health needs. Although caregivers perform an important role in many people's lives, they generally make very low income; as a result, caregivers may not stay with a client or even with the profession. Hiring a caregiver can be costly for the client as well, due to hidden costs such as taxes.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that personal caregivers earn between approximately $7 and $14 per hour, or between approximately $15,000 and $29,000 per year. Caregivers generally make more money in metropolitan areas and more experienced caregivers make more than those who are less experienced. Payscale.com reports that caregivers with over 20 years of experience can make more than $64,000 per year.
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The low wages discourage caregivers from staying within the profession. In 2007, 40 percent of caregivers left their primary jobs and 33 percent left the occupation altogether. The high turnover rate puts elderly persons at risk of being left without vital care during their final years, as caregivers may be difficult to find and new caregivers may need to adapt to the client's needs or may not be as aware of medical issues.
Agency vs. Independent Caregiver
Agencies often charge slightly higher prices for their services than independent caregivers. However, if you hire an independent caregiver, you may be liable for taxes on his wages such as Social Security and Medicare taxes. You may also be responsible for paying worker's compensation insurance or unemployment insurance for the caregiver. If you hire a caregiver through an agency, the agency typically takes care of these financial obligations.
Extra Job Duties
If the caregiver must drive a client to doctor's appointments or run errands for him, you may need to add the caregiver to your auto insurance. If you are employing a caregiver in your home you may consider adding him to your homeowners insurance as well so you are covered if he hurts himself while on the job. You may also want to pay your caregiver extra if he helps out with tasks that are not part of his official duties, such as doing laundry or helping watch children.