How to Find a Caregiver Near You

By Betsy Gold, Co-Founder, LeanOnWe

An in-depth look at local home care

When you or your loved one needs home care, you’ll have to make many tough decisions and the process can quickly become overwhelming. What kind of care is needed? What will it cost? Should you go through a traditional agency or hire on your own?

We’re here to answer those questions and more. We’ll help you understand the choices you face and how to simplify the decision-making process so you can find the reliable, trusted care your loved one deserves.

Types of Private Care

With so many variables when it comes to home care, it’s a good idea to understand the landscape before determining what type of help is needed. Here’s a breakdown of the options:

  • Home Health Aides – These aides make up the largest pool of home care providers and depending on the regulations in your state, can perform a wide variety of care, including help with activities of daily living such as showering, meals, mobility help, tidying, and possibly driving.
  • Companions – These helpers are hired when a person needs supervision, companionship, and engagement. They do not provide hands-on care but are available to help a client around the house, take them on outings, supervise meal prep, and more.
  • Nurses – Many people think they need a nurse to help them at home, but an RN or LPN is needed only when specific medical care arises, such as advanced wound care, ventilator care, injections, and the like.

Learn more here: Do I Need A Nurse or A Senior Caregiver?

Steps to Finding a Caregiver

To hire a private caregiver, you must follow three essential steps:

  1. Assess the Need
  2. Choose Where You Will Hire From
  3. Manage Your Caregiver

Assess the Need

Identify the challenges your loved one faces and the level of care that they need.

  • Daily Tasks: Can your loved one manage basic activities and chores independently? Consider whether your loved one needs care around the clock, during waking hours, or for shorter periods. Then, consider how much help family and friends can reasonably provide and during what hours.
  • Health: Consider physical and mental health needs. Are there fall risks? Memory issues? Seniors with a progressive disease like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s will need ongoing and increased care. Those recovering from surgery, an infection, or another setback may only need home care temporarily.
  • Isolation: Does your loved one need social interaction and companionship? Companion care provides social interaction and emotional support, combating feelings of loneliness and isolation. Having a companion can improve overall mental well-being and reduce the risk of depression. Companions assist with meal preparation and light housekeeping, activities, and engaging with clients to promote a safe and comfortable living environment.

Choose How You Will Hire

You have two options when hiring a caregiver:

  • Use a traditional home care agency
  • Hire on your own
  • LeanonWe

Hire A Traditional Home Care Agency

Home care agencies assess your care needs and then send an aide to the home. They employ the caregiver and provide a wide range of services ranging from basic housekeeping to medication management. Agencies are well suited for those who don’t want to hire or employ their own caregiver and feel more comfortable having someone else manage the care and the patient’s needs.

The process of hiring an agency

Begin your journey by conducting thorough research on home care agencies. Seek recommendations from your circle of friends and family, or even from senior centers and physicians. Dive into online reviews and ratings to get a comprehensive picture.

Once you've shortlisted potential agencies, arrange a meeting with their care coordinator to discuss your specific needs and preferences. Inquire about their caregiver vetting process, including background checks, certifications, and experience.

Choose the agency that aligns best with your requirements and financial constraints.

Advantages of hiring an agency

  • The agency has a staff of caregivers, so there’s no need to gather referrals, do interviews, or find backup care.
  • Because the caregiver is employed by the agency, the agency provides insurance and handles payroll taxes and other employment-related issues.
  • In most states, agencies must supervise the caregiver; they provide a Plan of Care and periodically send a nurse to check in.

Disadvantages of hiring an agency

  • You don’t get to choose the caregiver assigned to you, and there’s no guarantee the same caregiver will come to work each time. The agency is incentivized to send you the caregiver based on availability with less thought on who is the best fit.
  • There are numerous restrictions on what services the caregiver can provide. Many regulations are determined by the state and out of the agency’s control, but other rules are simply agency policy.
  • The person seeking care pays the agency an hourly rate (or a daily fee for 24/7 live-in care) and the agency pays the caregiver a portion of it. Caregivers commonly earn about half of what you pay the agency.

Hire Directly On Your Own

When hiring directly on your own you have a few options:

  • Hire from referrals: It’s typical to start with word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family when finding a caregiver on your own, but that is not always available and the person you find may not be suited to the care needed.
  • Hire from Craigslist or a similar site: You can also try to find someone online via CraigsList or other sites. Be extra careful about vetting and making sure the candidates are credentialed and legally eligible to work.

Once you find and hire a caregiver, this option requires a level of caregiver management and oversight, as well as scheduling. It is most suitable for those who are comfortable taking on these responsibilities or have family members who can assist with the process.

Advantages of hiring on your own

  • Private caregivers can provide a wide range of services and may work anywhere from a few hours a week to full-time.
  • You and your caregiver define your work arrangement together, without agency rules.
  • You negotiate rates with your caregiver and pay him or her based on the guidelines in your state.

Disadvantages of hiring on your own

  • Word-of-mouth referrals don’t always work out. Just because your friend’s mom loved her caregiver doesn’t mean she’s right for you or your loved one.
  • The only background check you can do on your own is a non-comprehensive, superficial internet screening based on the caregiver’s social security number. These checks typically cover only the last seven years.
  • When unexpected situations arise, you have to handle them on your own. If a caregiver quits, gets sick, has a family emergency, moves out of town, or simply wants some time off, you are responsible for finding back-up and/or replacement care.


LeanOnWe provides a practical solution to the challenges of hiring a caregiver independently. With LeanOnWe, you're no longer alone in your caregiver search. You are connected to a network of thousands of caregivers who have been carefully screened and vetted for references and credentials.

This broad network allows you to select a caregiver who best fits your specific needs. The company also offers the convenience of having backup or fill-in care available when needed, or if you decide to change caregivers or supplement your initial work schedule. In short, LeanOnWe simplifies the caregiver selection process while offering flexibility and peace of mind.

Advantages of LeanOnWe

  • You have access to fully pre-vetted caregivers who undergo the highest possible background check – the comprehensive FBI fingerprint check – and who meet your specific needs.
  • Private caregivers on the LeanOnWe network can provide a wide range of services and may work anywhere from a few hours a week to full-time.
  • You and your caregiver define your work arrangement together, without agency rules, and you have full oversight of the care.
  • LeanOnWe helps you offer competitive salaries based on the needs of the case and your budget, and then you pay your caregiver directly.

Learn more here: How to Screen A Caregiver (Or As Importantly, How NOT To Screen A Caregiver)

Disadvantages of LeanOnWe

  • You are responsible for all employment issues (though LeanOnWe has partnered with a payroll company specializing in home care to make it easier for you).
  • You are responsible for supervising the care and managing the schedule.

How to Manage Your Caregiver

If you hire privately, you will need to answer the following questions yourself:

  • How will I pay my caregiver?
  • How can I be compliant with minimum wage?
  • Do I need to pay overtime?
  • Should I pay time and a half for holidays or give my caregiver time off?

Learn more here: How to Pay For Senior Home Care

If you work with LeanOnWe, we will help you navigate through these questions and others as you search for the right caregiver for your loved one. We simplify the challenging process of finding your ideal caregiver. Our expert Care Advisors focus on understanding your distinct requirements to ensure you are matched with the best-suited caregiver and provide unparalleled support along the way.

Find the Right Caregiver with LeanOnWe

Are none of the typical care options listed here exactly what you’re looking for? We can relate.

When we needed affordable, reliable home care, we had trouble finding it. That’s why we founded LeanOnWe.

Learn more about why we started LeanOnWe: About LeanOnWe

With LeanOnWe, you get Choice, Expertise, Affordability, and Peace of Mind.

  • Choice: Choose your own caregiver from our network of highly skilled and carefully vetted caregivers. If in the rare event it doesn’t work out, come back and decide on someone new.
  • Expertise: We know care because we need care for ourselves or our own loved ones. We draw on our experience to guide you as you make important decisions related to all aspects of home care, from answering personal care questions to pointing you to financial or tax resources.
  • Affordability: Negotiate rates with your caregiver and pay him or her directly. Since we eliminate the agency middleman, you save money and your caregiver earns better pay.
  • Peace of Mind: Our wide network means you’ll have access to caregivers for backup, replacement, emergencies, and additional shifts, plus we provide ongoing support as your needs change.

LeanOnWe is a different kind of home care company – a hybrid that offers the control of hiring on your own with access to backup and replacement caregivers and a host of other much-needed services.

You can schedule a complimentary home care consultation with one of our Care Advisors here or by calling us today at 844-532-6669.

About The Author

Betsy is a LeanOnWe co-founder and leads the Care Advisor Team that provides day-to-day support for their clients. Before LeanOnWe, Betsy was an award-winning journalist and business editor.