How much does a live-in caregiver cost?

32 answers | Last updated: Jul 07, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

I need some basic information as to what the ball park cost would be to have someone or ones come into my home on a 24/7 basis to care for an elderly woman in early middle stage dementia. She used the bathroom three times an hour during the night and gets quite confused.


Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

Live-in caregivers cost from $700 to $3000 a week. There are many factors such as what part of the country you live in, what the living accommodations are and what hours the person is required to be on duty. The ability to speak the elder's language is also a factor.

When the elder is up most of the night, you may have to pay someone to come in on an hourly basis.  Many women who provide night time care, count on being able to sleep enough on the job, so that they can also hold down a day time job. Often, this creates more suffering in the home. The elder suffers and the caregiver suffers even more. 

Have  you taken this elderly woman to the doctor to find out what is causing the frequesnt urination at night. Often there is medication for this condition.

In my experience, young people work well for overnight care. Try to hire two people in their 20's or 30's who take turns on the night shift.  Have them work from 10 p.m. to 6 or 8 a.m. Then find a person who needs part time work for a few hours in the day. Or find some one who will live in and fix bereakfast and dinner in exchange for room and board and stipend.

You could hire a professional care manager to supervise and support the helpers. Or you could do it yourself. 

SEE ALSO: Find In-Home Care Help Near You

Think about what it is you need to continue taking care. Try to find enough care to form a team, a circle of care, people who will share. Try to create a feeling of sisterhood or brotherhood with the helpers.Then you can all work together for the benefit of all.

Call home care agencies to research charges and services. Call professional geriatric care mangers. Make an appointment with the doctor, Call the senior center to ask about local day care programs. Ask friends how to find helpers.


Community Answers

A fellow caregiver answered...

VERY similar sit'n in Westchester Co, NY and the agency is charging $210 per diem. Bro-in-Law was fed up being there, so jumped on first offer.  Probably available for much less, esp considering the youth options in the first answer.


Billf answered...

I would have to agree with Ann. But I would be careful about just hiring any youth to care for an aging parent during the night. 

Even when using an in-care agency it is important to know what screening they do for their caregivers. Each one has their own set of background checks and research.

If you have any more specific questions, I hope that you will visit our blog and ask one of our experts. We are even giving away Starbucks cards for the best questions. Check it out here.


A fellow caregiver answered...

The home care I hired is an hourly rate, the more hours, the cheaper the rate. In our situation, 24/7 is about $16 per hour. This is for companionship, medication reminders, light housekeeping, shopping, laundry, taking them to doctors appts, helping with toileting (especially at night when they need to go but are still in a sleep haze and present a fall risk.) They are not medically trained and cannot administer meds. At home nursing care in our area runs about $35 - $45 per hour. There are also adult day care centers that can suppliment the cost, one nearest to Mom and Dad charges $35 - $65 per day depending on level of attention needed and whether or not you need van transport. Keep in mind that socialization is important to their emotional well-being. Not only would day-care be cheaper, but it can be better, emotionally, for your loved one.


A fellow caregiver answered...

unfortunatly , the children are so cheap , they don't want to spend some money for the parents , in most cases , it's parents money and they deserve to have the best care and the best care giver .


Sashasmom answered...

My mom is mentally on top of her game, but physically she is impaired. She needs help with getting out of bed in the morning, needs someone to clean her and change her depends, she needs help getting dressed, combing her hair, showering, fixing her meals, she has only the use of her right arm. She needs someone to fix her meals twice a day, doing her grocery shopping, her light house keeping, her laundry, etc. How much should I pay someone who does not have a certificate, and lives-in to take care of my mom?


A fellow caregiver answered...

as a live-in caregiver, i sell myself too short. when hiring a live-in, please remember that living in is a perk for safety and should NOT be considered part of the compensation. Food is tricky, as most people are not on the same diet as the elder; therefore, causing the caregiver to spend their money on food.
when you consider the cost of sending one to a facility, a live-in should be compensated competitively. remember that this person will have personal expenses and taxes to pay. i tend to take too little, as i understand the fixed income and lack of financial support from children.


Djopgenort answered...

I like the "circle of support" answer, as it most closely resembles what I've seen work (I live in a community where many people are "aging in place" -- neighbor is 97, & has one "night person", two "day nurses" who alternate). Bartering accomodations for care is a great concept, & CAN work well (can also be a nightmare with mismatched people!). It's important to be absolutely honest about care needed -- the two biggest problems I've observed is "glossing over" the level of care really needed, & overburdening one person (24/7 caregiving is the fast track for burnout)


Djopgenort answered...

BTW, Don't "age profile"! Several of the best caregivers I've seen were in their late 60s or even early 70s! They had more patience, empathy, common sense & were more "on the same page" as their patients.


A fellow caregiver answered...

FIrst, it will depend on where the senior lives. The area's economy will suggest what is paid.
Second, it will depend on the income of the senior. When a senior is on a fixed income, the budget will dictate what can be paid. Third, it depends on who you find. There are many competent people who will work for very little. Since a senior's income might be $2000 per month and they have bills to pay, a live-in caregiver might be paid $700 per month.

I have taken as little as $600/mo and no more than $1200. Although I have heard of people in affluent areas making $4000/mo.

If you need 24/7, your best bet is to hire a live-in. However, you will have to provide for time off and that might cost you more, if you can not provide that relief.


A fellow caregiver answered...

As a seasoned RN who's worked in ltc facilities (skilled, assisted)and as a private caregiver (both under agency as well as private arrangement w/families) and as a family caregiver,my advice to families considering homecare for their loved ones is this: do your homework! As said earlier,look around, call around. But please don't be swayed by rhetoric eg that going through an agency is necessarily best because they "screen" people? Fact is, you can get very good caregivers through a newspaper ad or a nursing agency, and you can also get very bad ones. Think critically about those offering advice but are really just promoting their own healthcare agency/facility "for all your needs".

As a former GNA and CNA,how many homecare agencies and facilities are operated by people who've actually toiled as caregivers? Care-giving is hard work,and while it would be lovely to be compensated fairly by our employers,money shouldn't be the driving factor here.Many families also don't realize there's a huge gap btwn what's charged to the client,and what's offered as compensation to the aide.As someone else pointed out earlier, having a safe place to stay is considered a necessary labor condition, not part of a remuneration package. Granted, families do have budgets, but you really get what you pay for;Would you have your own child under the watch of someone from whom you're expecting quality childcare in exchange for free rm&board? Same logic applies.


A fellow caregiver answered...

I use a caregiver in the Massachusetts area and pay around 1500 a month for 24 hour live in (they take the weekend days off). I also have a service: Prime Medical Alert[primemedicalalert.com] that my father uses to supplement the service when the caregiver is gone. It works out pretty nicely; you have to make sure the caregiver is reliable. I would recommend a background check.


Myerlemon answered...

I am currently a care-giver in Southern California for my 93 year old great aunt. She suffers from short-term memory loss, has stability issues causing her to use a walker, and can not be left alone.

Tasks: makes meals, safety and medication reminder, takes to appointments, purchases groceries and walks, call 911after a huge fall, making sure she is comfortable, safe, and joy.

Compensation: $100/day for 5 days/week Full-time residency free

Extra: Until a month ago I wad able to leave during the day + return in evenings for meals + meds. This had been an ideal set-up because I am a freelance designer and could go on meetings. However after the holidays her balance has significantly gotten worse to a point she needs 24 hour care. Considering requesting a pay increase or inform them to get additional help.


A fellow caregiver answered...

I'm paying $175 a day for live-in caregiver in South Florida. Another caregiver comes to help hoist the patient out of bed and bathe her 3 times a week @ $15 per hr. (The live-in cannot move the patient by herself.) If the 2nd caregiver comes to fill in while the live-in goes to the store or to attend to her own needs, like going to get a haircut or dentist, the live-in still gets paid $175 for the whole day, plus the hourly rate for caregiver #2. The patient has advanced end-stage Alzheimers. She has required this level of care for 2 years. All in all, it's about $5250 a month plus expenses of the home, like water, electric, housecleaner, etc. The patient is my parent, and the money is running out.


A fellow caregiver answered...

Do you people think we work for free, I've been doing caregiving for 19 years and its tough and very stressful ! If the relatives think we are to expensive, then why don't they tend to their own parents ?


Hawaiianfood answered...

My mother lives with me; she is 97 and has moderate to severe dementia. I quit my job to care for her. I'm paid $1000 a month. But she pays the rent. However, it's pretty much unbearable. I feel like I have no life and I am sacrificing my own stable future because of my lack of income and not contributing to a 401k, etc. I am going to hire a live-in caregiver and rent a 2-bedroom 2 bath apt. for her to stay in. i I'll share a bedroom with my mom. I have $1500 month to pay, and that's all. She'll have evenings and weekends free. This is all I can afford and I will do everything I can to assist the caregiver. I don't agree that providing room & board is just providing a safe environment! Any more than I think a live-in apartment manager is being given a safe environment. I don't think anybody expects a caregiver to work for free. Some of us just don't have any more than to spend, and that's it. I sympathize, but that's all I have.


Ahusband answered...

MY WIFE IS GETTING PAID FOR ADULT CARE FOR A 91 YR OLD LADY at the rate of $13 AN HOUR. SHE IS PART TIME AND HAS THE FOLOWING TASKS: makes meals, medication reminder, takes to appointments, calls 911 for emergencies, makes sure she is comfortable and happy. She also does some lite house work incuding laundry and pet care (SHE HAS 4 CATS). SHE NORMALLY ONLY WORKS ABOUT 10 HOURS A WEEK, AND HAS STAYED WITH HER OVERNIGHT ON THE WEEKEND AND ONLY CHARGED $40 FOR THE NIGHT AND 10 TO 8 REGULAR HOURLY RATE FOR THE SATURDAY AND SUNDAY DAY PORTION OF THE WEEKEND. I BELIEVE THAT SHE IS UNDER CHARGING THE CLIENT AND I KNOW THE LADY'S DAUGHTER CAN AFFORD MORE. EVEN THOUGH THE DAUGHTER COMPLAINS THE EXTRA CHARGE IF SHE RELIEVES MY WIFE LATE, LIKE TWO HOURS LATE SOMETIMES, MY WIFE IS STILL TAKING HER CRAP. I AM GOING TO SHOW HER THIS WEBSITE AND WHAT OTHERS HAVE BEEN SAYING WHAT THEY CHARGE, SO THAT SHE CAN GET AN IDEA OF WHAT THE REAL WORLD ACTUALLY PAYS FOR HER KIND OF SERVICE. SHE ALSO WORKS FOR A NEWLY OPENED ADULT DAY CARE FOR ALZHEIMER PATIENTS AND THEY ONLY PAY THE STAFF $10 AN HOUR, WITH THE PROMISE OF HIGHER PAY ONCE THE CENTER IS ESTABLISHED AND THEY GET A GREATER CASH FLOW.


Djopgenort answered...

Durable pwr of attorney -- his "love" shouldn't mind since she has his best interests at heart, right?


Mamahelp answered...

I just wish there was more help from the government, I am a caregiver/friend of the family who cares for a 89 year young lady I call mama and that is what I think of her. I live in her house wih my husband. We have a room and we get groceries plus $200.00 a month. I care for her 24/7. She has severe alzheimers, she has severe ostheoparosis, diabetes, high blood pressure and she is incontinent (both). Family lives 2 hours away or more and only visit 1 or 2 time a month. They are in charge of her finances, bills, groceries and my pay. They say that uses up all her money from ssi, and there is no money left for more pay. I can't even get them to stay one day for me a break. I love her so much and feel like if I go I am abandoning my mama and I just cant do that. Anyone know of help in Texas?


Eureeka answered...

@mamahelp You should speak to the family about getting respite care. A lot of elderly people are eligible for this free of charge. I just went through a similar situation until my client passed a few weeks ago. I had found out that there were all these things he was eligible for that the family kept from me. There is a lot of support for caregivers, you should research what's available and bring it to their attention. Also, if that is all they are able to pay, she is definitely eligible for respite :)


Care with love answered...

In Northern Virginia area, Live-In is for almost $300 per day.


A fellow caregiver answered...

Someone posted that "Bartering accomodations for care is a great concept, & CAN work well".. I disagree and actually, there is a Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) that both parties should be aware of.. If someone hires a caregiver and doesn't pay them according to those wage laws (regardless of an agreement/contract) then a complaint can be filed and the Federal govt will look into the situation and if wages aren't up to those laws then they will be required to pay those wages and any back wages.. and it applies to illegal immigrant home care workers also.. If an employer retaliates against an employee for filing a complaint then there are financial consequences for the employer..

Since I have been taken advantage of, lied to, grossly underpaid, etc in a major way (bartering) I wont be doing this type of work any longer.. and my former employers will be getting a well deserved education as I am filing complaints against them..

Live in- http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs79b.htm

Home care- http://www.dol.gov/whd/homecare/factsheets.htm

http://www.dol.gov/wecanhelp/faq.htm


Jumpgroup answered...

We're currently in need of an in-home assistance provider for an elderly male (Father-in-Law) with moderate dementia and diabetes. We have some limited experience with previous providers for my Mother-in-Law who is now in a nursing home.

I was a little shocked to hear that accommodations and food are NOT generally considered part of the compensation. In my area, the living expense alone is worth about $2k/mo. That's quite a sum to conveniently ignore.

I've also seen a good deal of feedback from care providers citing poor pay, working conditions, being lied to by their employers, etc.

I can personally attest to the fact that this door swings both ways. I won't get into details, but not all 'care-givers' are trustworthy either.

I believe a live-in caregiver should be a partnership between the provider and the family. If anyone has advice on finding qualified candidates, conducting background checks and arranging a mutually beneficial working arrangement, I would be most appreciative.

On a side note, I am less likely to consider placement through an agency as (again, in my personal experience) the quality of care is not superior, they cost about double what the provider receives, and the agency workers have been no more reliable than independents.


Christykat answered...

I am 31 me and my husband take care of his grandmother who is 97 she is kinda blind and cannot hear well she is mentally unstable and very very controlling. Also his great aunt who has mid stage dementia she is 94 the house and land is hers. She has 4 cats 1 dog and 3 big birds. Her mind resets every 5 to 10 minutes. We are paid 1000 each a month. We do everything meals , meds , cleaning house inside and out. Not to mention all the mental abuse his grandmother delivers lol. We take turns sitting with them all throughout the day. We also help the grand father who lives 15 minutes away with taking him shopping and to appointments. We have 3 children that live with us and another every other weekend. Things get rough and sometimes you just want to give up but we keep going. The pay should be more but we do not complain at least we get something for doing all this . It does help that I have my CNA but school did not prepare me for these people. Patience and understanding is what you need to look for in a caregiver especially an in home care giver.


A fellow caregiver answered...

My uncle-in-law has a live in care giver. She is paid $8000.00 /month. They live in the northern area of New Mexico. She does not have taxes taken out of this money. The house hold expenses are paid separately. She lives in a guest house separate from the main house which, I must say is lovely. From what I've read here. she has done well. My husband and I were quite shocked to find out how much he is paid. My uncle is 94 , has some short-term memory loss. Is a little shaky but basically is great at his age. So... that brings something into perspective.


Sumalon answered...

The Federal Law states that you can not pay less than federal min. wage per hr for a live-in aid, effective on January 2015. Also this new law brings overtime wages for live-in caregivers. Some states have laws overriding the federal laws cause they have higher state minimum wages such as Massachusetts which has $9/hr.


A fellow caregiver answered...

"I just wish there was more help from the government." Everyone says this but doesn't want to pay for it. What the government needs to do is allow pretax deductions to save for this. Oh wait they do. Just no body is respnsible enough to do so...!


Grandma joan answered...

I am in the industry, and place private live-ins with families nationwide. I have been doing this since 2010. I can tell you that the average rate depends on whether the care recipient is low, med, or high needs, whether they drive/have a car, and how many yrs experience you require them to have.

That being said...The average paid for a med needs single care recipient is: Cash: $125-$150 day As a 1099 Independent Contractor : $150-$175 day As a W2 Domestic Employee: $175-$275 day (varies greatly depending on whether your state requires the live-in to get paid overtime or not, and what your states min wage is)

Hope that helps!

Dave


Beyond care answered...

It is important you do not get someone that is just looking for a paycheck or a place to crash ("oh I can pretend I am doing something when family is around"). The happiness, health, and safety of your loved one must be priorities. Get some that has the experience and skills that will be proactive instead reactive to all things related to your loved one's well-being and home. Do not hire someone to "sit" with Mom and/or Dad. They need someone that can if, God forbid, they fall and need properly trained assistance in getting up.

I have worked for agencies starting September 2003 and have been a private (self-employed) caregiver since 2009. My first client I was the base-line caregiver/house manager. Made sure I sent out an email twice a week letting the family know how their Mom was doing (my idea). I did all things household: had groceries ordered and delivered (was given a separate allowance for it); maintained a repair needed list; and transport to medical appointments and outings - lunch out, hair salon or just a ride to a nearby park for fresh air. Personal care, diet/nutrition/meal prep, safety, stand-by assist with ambulation, incontinence care, and all other activities of daily living were required of me. My weekly salary then was $600.00 and schedule was Sunday 5pm-5pm Friday (Friday 5pm-5pm Sunday was my time and could stay in the house if I wanted/needed to, a family member would come and stay the weekend in another guest room).

Currently I am in a situation that has me in a corner. The family schedules me for day hours in lieu of room and board but pays me for overnight care 8p-8a at a bargain $75.00 per over night, yes you read correctly. June 12, 2015 I was going to be evicted and had no job. I had answered their post and was suckered in due to desperation. Now I hear talk about them getting someone that needs a place but not a job...hmmm where will that leave me?

I just answered an ad thru Care.com and set my own very good compensated deal.

Know what your love one needs going forward as their health (physical and mental) changes so they won't suffer in their home. If you have agency caregivers look at what the agency charges you and pay a private (non-agency) say 75% of that and have a contract drawn up and signed protecting your loved one and the caregiver. Also keep in mind that if you have someone move in (they left their apartment and maybe put things in storage or sold them) and employed by your loved one... what will happen if your loved one is hospitalized or has passed ..can the caregiver stay at the house? how long? paid? severance pay? how much? It is not cut and dry.


A fellow caregiver answered...

yes the door does swing both ways. The recipient of care when hiring privately is now considered the employer and as such, responsible for paying employment taxes as well as unemployment and workers comp. If a caregiver hurts themselves badly and you don't specifically have a WC policy on your homeowners that covers 500k, than you are at risk of losing your home plus any saving you might have, and I guarantee that the more assets you have, the higher the claim will be. Each state has different laws regarding overtime but all states you are required to pay overtime. Some states its over 40 hours a week, some states its over 8/9 hrs a day and/or over 40 hrs a week. Another thing that people don't like to recognize is that if an employee (and that's what your CG is) stays at your house for sleeping and/or days off, they are still considered by law to be under your control, which means in court, it would most likely be ruled that they need to be compensated for their time, whether sleeping or not. So, the door swings both ways? There are plenty of people that will hire a CG and pay them next to nothing expecting them to be available 24/7. Burn out happens very quickly, even if they were well paid. On the other side, there are many CGs that advertise for private duty jobs because they can't work for a legitimate agency(because they have criminal records) or they are looking for a disadvantaged person to take advantage of. Many seniors won't report this second item because they are afraid and helpless.


Seniors matter answered...

We pay $7,000 monthly ($250/day) for our live-in caregiver in the midwest, through a licensed & insured agency. The caregiver has a private room & bath, but for convenience, sleeps in the same room as our parent who gets up once during the night. Their night time sleep is interrupted, but they sleep late every day & nap in the afternoon. We pay only for groceries that our parent will eat & the caregiver pays for any additional items.

The pros & cons of using an agency: The cost is prohibitive. But the agency provides replacement caregivers when one is sick or needs time off, eliminating the stress of searching for help or solving daily issues & emergencies. This works well when you live far away. The agency is responsible for training & background checks. Unfortunately - we've found that simple light housekeeping chores are rarely done to our liking. But we must choose our priorities. The well-being & happiness of our parent comes first. Caregivers can also (understandably) become burnt out and impatient. I've found that those who do it well, do it because it is a calling - it's not about a paycheck.

If you hire an independent - please do your homework! Conduct a background check & get references. Our previous unlicensed caregiver was a manipulative thief who gained our parent's trust then stole a large sum of cash, valuable & sentimental items, and our parent's prescription drugs. (A licensed caregiver is not always trust-worthy either) We've had 5 caregivers in the past year and finally found one we like and trust. Live & learn!


A fellow caregiver answered...

An unlicensed health care provider can come from many different backgrounds and levels of knowledge when it comes to care. So you might want to clarify their experience.

Cooking and cleaning and helping with the laundry is OK but what you want is someone who can asses and prevent complications and who can foresee future problems like pressure ulcers, skin break down, or disease.

The elderly need help when they are no longer able to help themselves the person caring for them should have at least basic medical knowledge.