Potential Risks in Hiring a Neighbor or a Friend as a Senior Caregiver

skeptical woman considering senior caregiver

Suspicious of a potential caregiver? Research shows you should be . . .

When you realize your senior loved one needs to have a caregiver, stress builds and you want the issue resolved immediately. To save yourself the time and hassle of finding someone, you may just hire on a friend or a neighbor who can handle the day-to-day. Though this may seem like an easy, quick-fix solution, at least understand the risk it involves. Here are six potential risks in hiring a neighbor or a friend as a senior caregiver:

  1. Different priorities

If your neighbor/family friend had to choose between caring for your senior in question, or caring for their own family’s immediate needs, guess which one gets the priority? Suddenly, you’re without care on a day with a schedule full of kids, work and errands.

Even if the friend you hire is single, there have been reported cases of caregivers having dalliances with their boyfriends/girlfriends in the same home as the senior. Should your senior have mobility/vocal impairments, you unfortunately have no way of knowing that these shenanigans are taking place.

  1. Inadequate training

What would your friend/neighbor do if CPR were required? How about determining the best immediate care if your senior is suffering from a stroke or a heart attack? If your senior had a bad fall, would your friend know how to properly stabilize him or her before paramedics arrive? If there is any doubt in your mind about any of these issues, then hiring a friend or a neighbor as a caregiver is probably not the best course of action.

  1. The wrong temperament can lead to abuse

Unbeknownst to you, or even to your hired friend or neighbor, the stress of dealing with a needy senior can result in uncontrollable anger. Mental and/or physical abuse can even result. There is really no way of knowing this unless you conducted a background check on your hired friend to determine if he or she has had criminal outbursts in the past. Even this isn’t guaranteed to discover a “short fuse” with your caregiver friend. Don’t put your senior loved one at risk by taking a chance on someone who isn’t a professional with the training that helps them manage their stress.

  1. Trouble with the IRS

Did you know that hiring a caregiver, if it is a neighbor or a friend, requires you to be 100% responsible for filing his or her household employee taxes? Your hired caregiver cannot file as an independent contractor, because he or she follows your specific instructions on caring for your senior. Also, your neighbor works hours as specified by you, and when he or she chooses. If you file this with the IRS incorrectly, or don’t make a mention of this neighbor employee at all, it is considered tax evasion, and you put yourself at risk of an audit.

Senior watching for senior caregiver

Does your senior loved one look forward to visits from his or her caregiver?

  1. Insurance/legal consequences

Have you ever tried lifting up your senior when he or she fell down? Or even tried to maneuver him or her in bed, out of bed, into the toilet, into a car? It isn’t easy, and it can cause chronic muscle strain a caregiver’s muscles severely enough to require physical therapy. Your neighbor most likely doesn’t have the proper training required to properly lift and move another person. In the event that your neighbor/friend is injured on the job, he or she would have a case against you, and the financial burden would be extensive.

  1. Financial abuse

You have probably told yourself, “I can trust my friend or neighbor.” Think again. A study of 2,000 Americans conducted by the Allianz Life Insurance Company, titled “Safeguarding Our Seniors,” found that 52% of all senior financial abuse is perpetrated by a family member, friend or caregiver, and not by a stranger. Be careful trusting just anyone with the care of your senior, because exposure to his or her wallet, identification passwords, and financial statements can be too tempting to resist. Even an innocent shopping expedition with the senior can result in personal purchases by your friend or neighbor that can go undetected.


Love 2 Live Care Services vets, checks and trains the most trustworthy caregivers in San Diego

Don’t let the overwhelming burden of finding an excellent caregiver reduce you to hiring a local neighbor or friend who isn’t up to the task. If you need professionals who have been background-checked, are reliable, caring, and get regular training, call Love 2 Live Care Services at 619-291-4663. We will gladly provide a no-obligation in-home assessment, free of charge. If you are a concerned relative residing in another city, or even in another state, no need to worry about your elderly relation … simply call Love 2 Live Care Services, and we’ll be there!

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