If you ever wished you could be two places at once, you’re not alone. Whether you’re juggling the demands of work and parenting, or balancing the needs of older loved ones with the needs of your children, you may be stuck wondering where to get help.
Care.com is a resource for people who need assistance with meeting the demands of daily life. Care.com can help you find a person with the right qualifications and availability, and give you information about what to look for, even if you don’t know where to begin.
I recently spoke with Jody Gastfriend, VP of Senior Care Services at Care.com, about their services. The website launched in 2007 “with the goal of being the largest online destination for care in the world, which we now are,” she explained. “The vision has always been to address the life-cycle of care needs.”
65 million people in the US are caregivers and of those, 24 million are sandwich caregivers, providing care to both children and older loved ones, according to Gastfriend.
What Care.com Offers
Care.com helps people connect with caregivers and provides other resources for:
- child care – including babysitters, nannies, au pairs, day care centers, tutors, special needs care, and camps
- senior care – including in-home helpers, in-home agencies, and residential facilities
- pet care – pet sitters, boarding facilities, groomers, and trainers
- home care – housekeepers
“It’s really a matching service between the caregivers and the families. The match is really specific to what your needs are,” said Gastfriend. She contrasts Care.com with seeking help by putting an ad in the paper and having to screen responses. With Care.com you get information about a person’s experience, qualifications, and availability.
Care.com also has articles with information about caregiving with links to additional resources. The site has message boards, organized by groups, to help people with similar caregiving needs reach out to one another.
Back Up Care
If your caregiver cancels at the last minute, Care.com offers Back Up Care that provides access to local caregivers who may be able to fill the void. You can submit a form with your immediate needs and then Care.com will provide you with a list of caregivers in your area who are available on short notice, along with their qualifications. You can send them an instant message to secure their services.
For senior care, Care.com provides information about both in-home individual care providers and residential facilities. “For senior care you need the whole range of options,” said Gastfriend. “Senior care is different from child care and other types of care. Just being able to do it yourself doesn’t work for most people. They need support, they need information, they need guidance, they need resources, which is why we built this consultative approach.”
Individual care providers are used more often by people who already know what they want, explained Gastfriend. She gave the example of someone who might come in three times a week to help Mom with laundry, housekeeping and meal preparation.
Other people may not be as certain about their needs. Gastfriend gave the example of someone who is discharged from a rehab facility and the family isn’t sure whether he can manage to live on his own or whether he might need an assisted living facility.
Care.com offers Senior Care Advisors who are elder care professionals who talk to the care-seekers and connect them to the care they need, such as assisted living, nursing homes, in-home care agencies, geriatric care managers, or elder law attorneys. “We figure out what people need then we make connections,” said Gastfriend.
Care.com also has information resources, including articles written by Gastfriend and other elder care specialists. The site offers a Senior Care Guide, a free 45 page download “that walks people through all of the basics. It’s like Elder Care 101,” said Gastfriend.
Gastfriend explained that there is so much information online about elder care that it can be overwhelming. “That’s where you need the expertise.” She gave the example of the medicare.gov website where people can get helpful information. People can research topics there such as nursing homes and see their ratings and survey reports. Interpreting the reports can be challenging, which is another area where Care.com can help.
Care.com can also help facilitate discussions among siblings trying to determine a plan of care for their older parents.
Here’s a video discussing some of the services Care.com offers to those looking for senior care:
Care.com provides free access to articles, resources and discussion groups. You can also contact a Senior Care Advisor for free. The site also provides for free the ability to search for in-home help and residential facilities.
A premium membership is available that gives you the ability to contact in-home helpers and post a job for your caregiving needs.
The price of a premium membership at Care.com is:
- $35 for one month
- $70 for three months
- $140 for one year
Military families save 25% on a one year membership.
Gastfriend said that many employers are now offering senior care assistance through Care.com as an employee benefit. She advised that people who need senior care should check with their employers to see whether senior care is provided as a benefit. “Many people don’t even realize they have this benefit,” said Gastfriend.
Caregiving costs US companies between $17 and $30 billion per year in lost productivity, according to Gastfriend. “The return on investment becomes more and more clear.”
If you are looking to get some extra help, check out Care.com.
Have you ever struggled to find care when you needed it? Do you like the idea of an online resource for information and guidance about care giving? Let us know in the Comments section below!