Some agencies insist that you hire someone full time. Others allow for as little as a three-hour block of time, as infrequently as you like. Some charge more than $50 per hour; others less than $20 per hour. Some assign a social worker to you (in addition to a caregiver); others do not. You will also have to pay extra for driving. Some charge a flat rate per mile, others only ask you pay for gas. But if they use your car to drive you, there is no extra cost.
The best way to search for a Caregiver in your area is via Google using the terms home care or senior care. You can also search on caregiver, but that was actually the least fruitful method I tried. I suggest you telephone as many as possible and make a list of cost, minimum time, whether caregivers can handle cash for shopping, how they screen their workers, how much advance notice is needed, etc. Then go over your list and decide
Chances are the next step will be an interview with you. The agency rep will come out to evaluate your situation. This would be a good time for you to get more details about the service.
I signed up with two caregiver agencies, so I had a backup in case one was not coming through. I picked two that were the least expensive per hour, required the fewest minimum hours per visit, and that had a phone number where I would reach a person instead of a recording.
Ive also hired caregivers directly. This cost me about half of what I pay an agency. But the disadvantage was I had to work around their schedules and find backups in case they got sick or had car problems. To give you an idea of how much you might pay a caregiver directly, my research found a pay range of $9 to $12 per hour and milage from $58 cents a mile down to just the cost of gas. My research was for Los Angeles County, so adjust according to where you live.
If you watch the news long enough, you will see stories about people being exploited by caregivers. So I try not to get lazy. I dont hand over pin numbers, and I check my accounts. In other words, no matter how nice the person seems, be alert. And Id offer more advice on how to do this, but Im still figuring this out. I can tell you, though, Ive never had a problem in the two years Ive had several different caregivers in my home.
By the way, a friend of mine told me she once had a caregiver who came out for free. This was done via a philanthropic organization. I have no idea how to find this kind of help. And another friend told me that social services is paying for her caregiver. If anyone knows more about this, please post the information in a comment here.