Kommer Bave and Ciccone LLP General Practice Law Firm

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Recent Successes And News:   Month: October 2022

Hiring a Caregiver

Hiring a Caregiver: Should You Employ One Yourself or Go Through an Agency?

Most seniors prefer to stay at home as long as possible rather than move into a nursing home. For many families, this means eventually hiring a caregiver to look after an aging relative. There are two main ways to hire someone: directly or through a home health agency.

Hiring directly
When you hire a caregiver directly, you need to consider all the tax and liability issues. As an employer, you are responsible for filing payroll taxes, tax forms, and verifying that the employee can legally work in the United States. If you pay $2,400 or more in wages in 2022 to any one employee, you need to withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you pay more than $1,500 in wages in 2022, you need to pay unemployment taxes. In addition, a private caregiver may not carry his or her own liability insurance or workers’ compensation. If an accident occurs on the job, you could be responsible.

The benefit of hiring a caregiver directly is that you have more control over whom you hire and can choose someone whom you feel is right for your family. Another benefit is that hiring privately is usually cheaper than hiring through a home health agency.

The agency route
When you hire through a home health agency, the agency is the employer, so you don’t need to worry about tax and liability issues. The agency takes care of screening the employees, doing background checks, and providing insurance. In addition, a licensed home care agency must provide ongoing supervision to its employees. It can help the employees deal with difficult family situations or changing needs. The agency may also be able to provide back-up if a regular caregiver is not available.

The downside of going through an agency is not having as much input into the selection of the caregiver. Another consideration is that caregivers may change or alternate, causing a disruption in care and confusion.

To discuss your options, consult the Attorneys at Kommer Bave & Ciccone LLP.

Questions to Ask

12 Interview Questions to Ask an In-Home Aide

Most older Americans want to remain in their homes as long as possible.  For growing numbers of elders — and concerned family members — this is only possible with the help of a home care aide.  There are two basic types of aides and two ways to engage one: either through an agency or hiring one yourself.

If you hire through an agency, ask questions to screen and vet the agency. 

Then, use the following questions to interview the candidates they suggest or those you have found on your own:

  • Can you provide me with your full name, address, phone number, social security number and current photo ID so that I can run a background, including credit, check? (If interviewing an agency candidate, request contact information only.)
  • Can you (your agency) provide me with copies of current documentation related to personal insurance, bonding, workers’ compensation, and current health status (TB test, immunizations, etc.).
  • Can you (your agency) show or provide me with current documentation related to specific services and assistance (dementia care, CPR, etc.) you are trained/certified to provide?
  • Tell me about your experience as an in-home aide – how long you have been providing care, previous work situations, etc.
  • Can you (your agency) provide me with references related to past clients and employers.
  • Why did you leave your last position?  (If they have not left this position, ask how they plan on coordinating schedules.)
  • What are your expectations if I hire you?
  • What hours and days will you be available?
  • What hourly rate do you expect, and how do you expect to be paid?
  • How do you like to get feedback and suggestions?
  • What do you like and dislike about home care?
  • Situation-specific questions related to specific issues, such as ability to prepare culturally appropriate foods or competency in the older person’s language, should also be asked.

(Based on information from interviewees and How to Care for Aging Parents, pps. 155-161, and The Caregiver Helpbook, pps. 177-181.)

Additional resources

United Hospital Fund: Home Care: A Family Caregiver’s Guide PDF
United Hospital Fund: A Family Caregiver’s Planner for Care at Home PDF
National Institute on Aging: There’s No Place Like Home – For Growing Old

For more information on planning for long-term care needs, consult the Elder Law Attorneys at Kommer Bave & Ciccone LLP. 

Nurse caring for senior woman

How to Know If Your Aging Parents Need Home Care

As our parents get older, we must make tough decisions regarding their health care. It can be hard to know when to bring in professional support in the form of home care. Consider the following as you decide whether your aging parents need home care.

What Is Home Care?
Home care is professional, supportive care offered to seniors in their homes. Home care is intended to allow older adults to stay in their homes for longer as they age, as opposed to having to move to a nursing home or other facility. Home care is typically focused on personal care (activities of daily living).

Do My Parents Need Home Care?
As you decide the right time to get your parent home care, consider their overall needs. For example, if your parent cannot prepare a meal for themselves, they may benefit from a professional coming in to handle some of their daily tasks.

Other examples of signs that your parent needs assistance include:

  • Your parents’ mental status has changed. If you notice that they are having a hard time remembering things like the names of family members, their addresses, or other information that should be easily recalled, it may be time to take the next step and secure home care for them.
  • They cannot care for themselves properly. If they do not know how or remember to take their medication, for example, you may need someone to remind them to take their medication promptly. This also goes for cooking themselves meals and tending to their personal hygiene.
  • Your parents are at risk of falling. If your parents have unexplained bruises or show other signs of physical distress, a home care provider may give you peace of mind that your parents are not alone if they have an emergency.

You may find this needs assessment worksheet from the National Caregiver Library helpful in assessing the level of care your loved one may need.

Do Medicare or Medicaid Cover Home Care?
While Medicare provides a limited home care benefit, Medicaid often provides long-term home care services if a person is financially eligible and meets the criteria for coverage.

Choose a Home Care Plan Today
We all want to protect our parents as they age. Home care services can be the best way to protect your family and provide them with the safety they deserve. Consult the attorneys at Kommer Bave & Ciccone LLP if you need more information on securing home care.

Elder Law Medicaid Planning

Adult Day Care: Providing a Break for Caregivers

Caregiving is hard work and it is easy for caregivers to get burned out. Adult day care centers provide care and companionship in a group setting to seniors who need supervision during the day, allowing their caregivers to go to work or take a much-needed break.

Often affiliated with another facility, such as a nursing home, home care agency, or medical center, adult day care centers usually operate Monday through Friday during business hours. In general, there are three types of centers: those that focus on social interaction, those that focus on health care, and special Alzheimer’s care centers.

Adult day care centers usually offer a variety of services, such as counseling, exercise, assistance with medication, social activities, physical therapy, and educational programs. Social activities can include crafts, games, gardening, book clubs, field trips, music, pets, and parties. Often the service includes a meal, and some centers provide transportation to and from the center.

The cost of adult day care can vary widely, depending on the state and type of services offered. As of 2018, the median daily rate for adult day care is $72, but it can be as high as $136 a day and as low as $35 a day. Medicare will not cover the cost, but Medicaid, long-term care insurance, or private health insurance may pay for some adult day care centers.

To find an adult day care center near you, contact your local Area Agency on Aging. Following are some tips for choosing an adult day care:

  • Determine your needs. Do you need full time care or occasional care? Do you need transportation?
  • Figure out the senior’s needs. What type help is needed? Are you looking for specific therapy? Social interaction? Assistance with medications?
  • Visit the center. Spend a day there so you can get a feel for what it is like.
  • Ask questions specific to your needs.
  • Ask for references.

Contact the Elder Law Attorneys at Kommer Bave & Ciccone LLP for discussion and additional resources.

Yonkers Senior Law Day – October 19, 2022

A program of the Senior Law Day Collaborative

On Wednesday, October 19th, Yonkers Senior Law Day will be held at the Grinton I. Will Branch of the Yonkers Public Library. Presentations and educational programs will start at 10:30 am. They include:

  • Financial Fitness for Older Adults
  • Your Will – Making Sense of the Terms & Process
  • Finding What You Need For Housing Applications and Emergency Placements
  • You Have a Power of Attorney in Place – Now What?

Presentations will break around noon for attendees to grab a bag lunch and visit the sponsor tables. From noon until 2 pm, there will also be free 15 minute consults available with an Attorney, Certified Financial Planner, Care Manager or Medicare Specialist.

Registration is required for attendance and consultations at seniorlawday.info or call 914-231-3227.

This event is sponsored by: Kommer Bave & Ciccone, LLP; Woodlawn Cemetery; Yonkers Public Library; and Aging Issues Management.
Yonkers Senior Law Day October 19, 2022