Resources for the Family Caregiver

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Davis Allen, Owner
Age at HomeCare, St. Louis, MO

Negotiating a Fair Hourly Rate for Home-Health Caregivers

When negotiating with a home-health aide about a fair hourly fee, there are many factors to take into account. There are standard hourly rates in the marketplace (generally $20 an hour), but rates can vary by several dollars up or down. Both clients and caregivers can use this checklist when negotiating rates.

Fill in or check any criteria that apply and use them as a basis for deciding on a fair rate:

  1. Average hourly rate normally charged by caregiver for similar work: $_______
  2. ______ More than 1 client requiring care
  3. ______ Physical strength/knowledge required by caregiver (transferring, lifting, etc.)
  4. ______ Close, continuous observation of client required by caregiver (a fall risk or dementia care)
  5. ______ Medication management (reordering pills; doses administered often)
  6. ______ On behalf of family, coordination of service providers, such as doctors, housekeepers, yard-maintenance contractors, etc.
  7. ______ Availability of family members to assist the caregiver with care or supervision
  8. ______ Degree of accountability/communication required with family member(s)
  9. ______ Travel off-site with client (shopping, walks, outings)
  10. ______ Prepare meals
  11. ______ Perform housekeeping, chores, shopping
  12. ______ Provide companionship (conversation, activities, music-playing, etc.)
  13. ______ Assist the client with client’s home affairs (keeping receipts, filing, handling mail)
  14. ______ Other criteria: ___________________________________________________

The caregiver’s job description can change over time. Be sure to review these criteria as needed and adjust the hourly rate accordingly.

The caregivers referred by Age at HomeCare are rare in the marketplace because they are independent contractors rather than employees of the company. Age at HomeCare’s operating overhead is lower than an employer-based agency, and the company passes this savings onto clients and caregivers. Consequently, caregivers receive 75% of the fee that clients pay per hour, rather than the usual 50%.

This higher compensation -- combined with the rigorous screening and vetting process that all AaHC caregivers receive during recruitment – is a strong incentive for the caregivers to work hard and respond well to client direction. Age at HomeCare confidently stands behind its caregiver referrals.

The caregiver’s hourly rate fee is negotiated between the client and the caregiver; AaHC does not negotiate the fee. Indeed, the client dictates all the terms of the caregiver’s contract, job description, and length of contract.

This edition of Family Caregiver Digest assists clients and caregivers alike in negotiating a fair hourly rate for caregiving. Age at HomeCare’s owner and staff stand ready to help with any question related to home-care. Don’t hesitate contacting Davis Allen or Sandy Buchanan at 314-968-8500. Check out the web site at for other helpful articles to assist the family.

Age at HomeCare, a registry home health company, is owned and managed by Davis Allen, former Exec. Dir. of Sarah Care Adult Day Center. He has an MA in Human Resource Development and is a Certified Nurse Assistant. He continues to work as a companion caregiver with his own clients. All of his associates have previous direct care experience so they are attuned to the needs of their clients and families.

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