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5 Things to Consider When Determining How Much to Pay Your Caregiver

Many seniors and their families worry about the cost associated with long-term care, even if they just need part-time help. When you’re on a budget, determining how much to pay your caregiver can be quite challenging.

On the one hand, you want to make sure that you can afford to have a quality caregiver in your life. However, you don't want to underpay the caregiver you hire. Caregivers who don’t feel valued won't stay around for very long.

There are quite a few factors that play into how much you should pay your caregiver. The following are five things to consider when you are determining a fair wage:

1. Where You Live

The area in which you live will play a role in what the average caregiver in your area makes. The average home health aid makes about $21 per hour. Some areas have pay rates as low as $11-13 per hour. Meanwhile, home health aides in other areas may make $30+ per hour.

Remember that rates will vary by city and the cost of living there. The higher the costs of living in your area, the more your caregiver needs to be paid to make a living. If you are not able to pay at least the average wage in your area, your chances of hiring a quality home health aide will diminish.

2. Experience

Home health aides with more experience will likely be able to request higher wages. For example, an aide with 15 years of experience will generally make more than a home health aide just starting out. Experience matters in almost every profession, and the field of home health care is no exception.

3. Certifications, Credentials, and Specializations

If your home health aid is an RN, RNA, or LPN — or has other certification and training — their hourly wages will likely be higher because of the special training they received.

If you want a home health aide with additional training, be prepared to pay more for their expertise and services.

4. Level of Care Provided

The level of care that a home health aide provides will likely determine how much they will ask for wages. A home health aide who simply helps you do some part-time household chores like running errands, washing dishes, or sweeping the floor, will likely charge less than a nurse who provides full-on palliative care.

Depending on the level of care you need, you may be paying a senior companion rather than a home health aide to help you with your daily needs. Every senior has different needs. However, most caregivers will charge hourly rates according to the care they provide you.

5. Demand Will Likely Continue to Increase Cost

As more Baby Boomers hire caregivers, the shortage of at-home caregivers that the United States is experiencing will likely continue to grow. When there is a shortage of caregivers, the ones who are working will be in higher demand and can ask for higher wages. 

If there is a shortage of caregivers in your area, you may find yourself paying more for care than you would if there were more caregivers available to work.

These are five key factors that will likely influence your decision about how much to pay your caregiver. Negotiating a fair salary for your caregiver can be tricky. Still, it's vital to ensure that you are paying your caregiver a fair wage.

Finally, Talk to Your Caregiver About Wages

Income, pay, and money can be touchy subjects to talk about under any circumstance. However, it's vital to talk to your caregiver about wages. Be open, upfront, and honest when discussing wages and compensation. 

While the average home caregiver makes about $46,440 annually in the United States, much of that depends on hourly rates, the hours worked, and the region.

For more information on how much to pay your caregiver and how to determine an affordable (and fair) rate in the Boston area, please feel free to contact us for further assistance. We are always happy to help.