The 3 Most Expensive Mistakes Family Caregivers are Making and How to Prevent Them

…a 3 minute read

family caregivers

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Family Caregivers Face incredible daily challenges…

Whether caregiving for a loved one, be it your kids, a friend, or an elderly parent, it can be quite a feat even if you know what you are doing.

As in other areas of daily living, we pick up bad habits and easy fixes instead of following a proven process. We should pivot only when circumstances change, but the vision should always stay the same.

Many times we are just used to doing something a particular way. We don’t know when we started; we only remember we’ve always done it that way.

Today I want to share with you 3 of these very common and costly mistakes in time, money, and quality of life I see caregivers make every day, and how you can avoid them.

MISTAKE #1You are doing ALL the caregiving. 

As family caregiving goes, decisions always trump conditions. When you allow yourself to become a full time caregiver to your parents you give control to the conditions instead of leading with smart decisions.

You are doing your parents a disservice while simultaneously putting your own quality of life, health, and happiness at risk.

This doesn’t mean you don’t get involved in your Mom’s care plan, on the contrary, you get involved, but in a smart and meaningful way. You are no good to anyone burnt out and totally spent.

SOLUTION – Caregiving is a team sport. First:

  • Build a hand-picked team around you starting with a Home Care Agency that will provide you with proper guidance and qualified personnel on demand.
  • Reach out to a Social Worker or Care Manager. They have a world of experience and practical information at their fingertips.
  • Keep your Doctor in the loop even though he may not be as involved in the day to day of family caregivers, he/she’s still a great community resource.
  • Keep a list of community resources handy. Here’s a nifty list.
  • Forge relationships with other family caregivers that share a similar situation to yours. There’s strength in numbers! Here are a few caregiver forums you can start browsing. 

MISTAKE #2  Not staying current on elder caregiver options and resources.

In caregiving, information is TRUE POWER!

I can’t tell you how many sons and daughters we speak to on the weekly basis that come to us with absolutely no idea of what to do with a parent that recently became convalescent.

Staying current on caregiving issues even before a crisis strikes should be the proper strategy, but let’s face it, we are not built that way. Prevention is never a good incentive for us to get off our butts!

Fear and discomfort on the other hand…

SOLUTION – Focus on solution to mistake #1 above.

You’ll never learn as well or as fast than with actual professionals working. In addition to this there are plenty of resources around that can guide and educate you, and in some cases get you the help you need outright. For example:

  • The Alliance for Aging – One of the biggest concerns people have today regarding the care of an elderly parent, has to do with: “What if my Mom gets to the point of needing some serious caregiver help at home, but the insurance won’t cover the services and the hours she needs… What then?”  The Alliance is a terrific local resource for seniors 60 and older that qualify. We recently published a post-guide on how to approach this awesome local resource.
  • Veteran Care – A company whose network Angel Home Care Services is now a part of, will screen potential candidates for this program. The benefits can be used for home care services, nursing home needs.
  • Lifecare Funding – Did you know you can turn your existing Life Insurance policy into a dedicated Long Term Care Benefit Plan to help you fund your senior care or that of a parent or loved one? This is an awesome solution not many families are aware of!
  • Adult Day Care Options – An adult day care (ADC) provides convalescent seniors with supervision and care in a structured setting during daytime hours allowing their primary caregivers to work or take a break from their care giving responsibilities. ADCs are a unique solution to unique family circumstances.
  • The “How To Get Help At Home For An Elderly Parent Without Going Broke in The Process” report. An 35 page report on caregiving strategies and tactics every Son and Daughter must be familiar with.
  • 10 Other Caregiver Support You Need To Know AboutBecome familiar with these and deploy accordingly!

MISTAKE #3Not knowing the difference between hiring a home health aide through an agency vs. hiring privately. 

This is probably the most expensive and time consuming of all mistakes, because is the least understood, and the most misapplied.

The popular belief is that hiring an aide privately will be generally less expensive than going through an agency. Though there are benefits to doing this, it isn’t always the case.

SOLUTION – The right answer to this question is that there is no right answer. It depends on your circumstances. Instead let’s consider the pros and cons and YOU be the judge!

*modified from original pros.cons article

Private Caregiver


  • You are in charge of the selection process and making the final decision.
  • Hiring a private caregiver is generally cheaper than hiring through a home care agency.
  • You are giving caregivers an opportunity to work independently and for better wages.


  • It may be difficult to find qualified caregivers.
  • You will need a back-up plan when your caregiver is not available.
  • Conducting personal interviews, checking references, and performing background checks are time consuming tasks.
  • You are responsible for managing employee payroll and tax records, as well as withholding social security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes.
  • You are liable for job related accidents in your home. 


Home Care Agency


  • You have the possibility of several caregivers to choose from.
  • Most agencies offer back-up caregivers when your regular caregiver is not available.
  • Nurse assistants have formal training and certification that is verified upon hire.
  • Caregiver references and background checks are reviewed at the time of hire.
  • Home care agencies are required to supervise their aides and evaluate performance.
  • Caregivers participate in ongoing training.
  • Licensed home care agencies carry liability insurance, and many have worker’s compensation.
  • Employees are insured or bonded to protect you against theft and damages.


  • Different caregivers may be sent causing a disruption in the care of your parents.
  • Home care agencies cost more (usually $3-$9 more per hour) than private caregivers because they have expenses related to recruitment, hiring, orienting, payroll deductions, and ongoing supervision and training of employees.

As you can see making the decision to hire a home health aide based solely on budget would be a serious misstep. Many other important factors come into play when making this decision.

In helping family caregivers in general, our strategy has always been to approach each family’s unique situation as such and perform good assessments in order to provide the right advice based on facts. This usually helps the family make the right decision because they are now properly informed and educated.

So there you have it, 3 costly mistakes family caregivers are making and how to avoid them.

Enjoy, and please share if you found this information useful 🙂

Untitled designClaudio Alegre is the CEO & Chief Content Writer for Angel Home Care Services on the Web and Patient and Family Advocate off the Web. He lives in Miami with his wife and 3 boys. He's passionate about healthcare and all things caregiving. He can be reached at [email protected] or directly at 305.220.4544
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