Care.com – Finding Care for Your Loved Ones

by on November 5, 2012 · 34 comments

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.

Senior Care

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 Pricing

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.”

Bottom Line

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!

Comments on this entry are closed.

Harleena Singh
Twitter:
November 5, 2012 at 8:41 am

Sounds wonderful Carolyn!

My heart really goes out to those elders who are homeless or have no one to turn to, or even those who find themselves rather alone even though they live within a family. Care.com seems the perfect answer to them, just as one of the women mentioned how it relieved to see her parent come alive once again after having joined it.

Similarly, I think even for child care, when one needs babysitters, nannies, or day care centers and tutors, or if our kid’s are with special needs care – sites like these can really be a big help.

I like the fact that they even opt for pet care, which I would have loved to use had they been close by for the times when we need to go out of station or travel. I really don’t like leaving my pet just anywhere and would prefer proper care for him too.

Thanks for sharing about yet another wonderful site with all of us. :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 5, 2012 at 9:45 am

Hi Harleena, You’re right, even if your older loved one has a home, they may be able to stay in it longer if they can get some outside help in a few times a week. I was very impressed with all of the resources that Care.com offers, and in many different areas.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts today, Harleena!
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Barry Wells November 5, 2012 at 10:20 am

Hi Carolyn,

This looks like a first class service and one that we should all take a note of.

My wife is my carer, but I’m pretty much independent when I’m up and about. However I know others that really struggle with meeting their care needs, so much so that some stay in bed all day and watch life passing them by.

It’s fantastic that there’s someone to turn to for advice that’ll point us in the right direction. I wish I had known about it years ago…

3 years ago my mum had an aneurysm burst in her brain. We were told that she wouldn’t make it, but she did and was returned to our local hospital. That hospital wanted to discharge her after just 4 weeks saying she was fit and well. As i was visiting her all day every day I knew she was far from ready for discharge so asked for a meeting with the doctor, who referred to my family as an audience and said that my mum was ready for discharge and arrangements would be made for her to be discharged ASAP.

Now I’m not one to be pushed around Carolyn so I asked social services to have my mum independently assessed. I met with the assessor and introduced her to my mum and explained that my mum is deaf and would need things written down I then left the room to let them get on with it. Within 10 minutes the assessor came back to me and said my mum was not able to take in what was being asked (day, date, location etc) and she’d (assessor) come back and try again the following day. Which she did and got the same results, my mum was not able to take information in and therefore couldn’t make any decisions.

The hospital then wanted to put her in a care home 15 miles away, I refused it. I was told that the options were limited and that was the only home available….. BS!!

I then found 66 care homes in the 15 mile radius and made a short list of 6 within my home town. I phoned the hospital social services and told them what i had found, I was then given excuse after excuse of why my mum couldn’t go to any of them…. More BS!!

I then reminded them of a social services ruling and additional services that were in place for such cases, now these services were not know by the public nor were they displayed on any public website. It was from their own guidelines website that were only accessible to social services….. (unless you know a friendly one willing to enter their password ;-) ).

I was then met with a silence and eventually told someone would call me back. 30 minutes later they phoned me and asked for my short list…. and again tried making excuses with more BS.

I stuck to my guns and told them my mum would remain in hospital until they found her suitable accommodation close to home….. They then agreed to place my mum in my first choice care home.

3 years later she’s still with us, in the same care home and is being well looked after.

Had she of gone to the care home they wanted I feel she’d have given up long ago and wouldn’t be here today.

Now I had to do all of that on my own, with a little help from a friendly social worker who gave me the info I needed to fight my case. But had I not had that help I dread to think what may have happened.

It’s fantastic that this service is available these days as it’ll save all the head and heart ache I’ve had to go through.

I especially like that they give the military a 25% discount. Good on them.

Sorry if I run on a bit Carolyn, but this subject brings all the memories back and I hate for others to have to go through it all :-)

Barry
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 5, 2012 at 10:31 am

Hi Barry, Wow, you are nothing short of a hero for what you did for your mother. You saved her life by fighting as hard as you did and refusing to accept solutions that weren’t humane. She is very lucky to have you by her side.

I am sorry that accessing the information you needed was so very difficult. It’s a good thing that you are so well-versed in using the Internet in order to access the help that your mother needed. Yours is an extreme example of how important information is to be able to find out about the resources that are available to help others.

Your experience illustrates well how valuable this type of information is that Care.com provides. These resources can make an immense difference in the quality of people’s lives. People who are facing challenges need all the help they can get and that site may be able to provide people with just the help they are looking for but can’t find elsewhere.

Thank you so much, Barry, for sharing your story with us here. I wish you and your mum the very best.
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Barbara November 5, 2012 at 11:52 am

What a wonderful institution, caring and giving care on so many levels. To my knowledge we do not have anything similar in Switzerland. I spend quite a lot of time with my mother who is 88 and still living on her own. And I am aware of the fact she is only able to manage because of me. I talked to her doctor as it is getting too much for me and he was referring me to the usual official channels which do not appeal to me. This would be the website I would contact to get better information on how to deal with the emotional side of the situation.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 5, 2012 at 3:42 pm

Hi Barbara, Wow, I’m sorry to hear that your mother is facing such challenges. She is very lucky to have you by her side helping her and advocating for her. I wish there were such resources for you in Switzerland because that would be such a big help to her and to you.

I wonder what other resources might be available in Switzerland for you and your mother. I hope there is something to help give you support, both for emotional support and additional care.

Please take good care of yourself, Barbara.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Hi Barbara, Great news! I just found out that Care.com operates in Switzerland through its recently acquired subsidiary, Betreut: http://www.betreut.de/

I hope that you are able to use this site as a resource to help you and your mother, Barbara.
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Barbara November 7, 2012 at 2:55 am

Good morning, Carolyn, thank you so much for thinking of me and sending the link to betreut.de. I will check it out, you cannot imagine how glad I am, this comes at a very needed time (after a stressful doctor’s visit yesterday).

Thank you so much again and have a great (and not too tired!) Wednesday, hugs from Switzerland!

Adrienne
Twitter:
November 5, 2012 at 11:56 am

Hey Carolyn,

I believe this is the same site but I was registered with them about five years back. Their site has changed but I’m almost certain this is the same one. It’s been awhile now.

After I lost my corporate job I was searching for another position. I did a few different things and even interviewed to work at an assisted living facility because I love the elderly. I actually got the job but the location they wanted me to work was too far to drive for the hours they wanted me to work and the pay was ridiculous. So I got online and registered with different sites to see if anyone would hire me to take care of their relative during the day. I got lots of requests but was never hired.

I love the elderly and enjoy spending time with them. I’m not a nurse or have a medical background but I love to help and assist them in their daily activities.

As you know I have my Mom living next door to me now and I honestly believe that she’ll remain independent for the rest of her life baring any unforeseen accidents. You know me, miss positive attitude.

I appreciate sites like these though to make finding care for the elderly, our children or even our pets easier to find.

Thanks for sharing this site with us Carolyn. I think this one is a great find for everyone needing this type of care.

~Adrienne
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Hi Adrienne, You may very well have registered with Care.com five years ago. That’s when they first started so they weren’t as well known as they are now. I’m sorry that your listing didn’t result in a job, but that lead you down other paths to where you are now.

I imagine you would be excellent at elder care, Adrienne. You’re such a giving and caring person. Your relationship with your mother is a shining example of how supportive and loving you are. You are very fortunate to have your mother living so close to you and being independent and in good health. Living next to you must bring her joy every day.

Yes, this site is truly a treasure trove of resources for those looking for help in caring for loved ones. This is the type of tech I enjoy sharing with my readers to help them in their daily lives.
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Praveen Rajarao November 15, 2012 at 1:54 pm

I agree completely, Adrienne would have been quite a find for anyone. Maybe we should start something like blogcare.com where we can hire professional help to take care of our blogs :-) Adrienne would again be my first choice there too…
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 15, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Lol, excellent choice, Praveen! Adrienne has, in fact, helped me with the mechanics of The Wonder of Tech and she did a marvelous job! :-bd

Jens P. Berget
Twitter:
November 6, 2012 at 1:00 am

I am still surprised about how many brilliant services that comes via your site Carolyn. I feel that I am fairly updated online, but even though I read a lot and discover new services every single day, many of the ones you’ve been blogging about, I have never heard of :-)

And, care.com sounds amazing. There are so many people who need some type of care. At the moment, I feel that I have things under control, but I know many who doesn’t, so this would be the perfect service for them. I guess that this is not available in Norway, and when it becomes available it will probably not be available in a small town? :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 6, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Hi Jens, I just found out that Care.com does operate in 15 countries in Europe under the company Betreut. Here is the link to the company’s website in Germany: http://www.betreut.de/

One thing I really like about Care.com is that you can search for help without having to join. You can see who is available to hire in your area before you pay for a membership.
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Jens P. Berget
Twitter:
November 7, 2012 at 12:42 am

That’s awesome Carolyn. I have just visited the site, and I must say that I’m terrible in German, but I’ll keep looking for a Norwegian site :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 9, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Hi Jens, I heard back from the company that Care.com is not yet in Norway. But you can use Google Translate to translate that website into Norwegian if you want to check it out anyway. ;-)
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Tim Bonner November 6, 2012 at 4:52 am

Hi Carolyn

This sounds like a really helpful service.

We struggle to find a babysitter at times. I’m going to check this out as I see it’s available in the UK. Yay!

Thanks for sharing Carolyn.

Tim
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 6, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Hi Tim, Yes, this is a great resource for babysitting. You can see the babysitter’s qualifications and availability, as well as any security clearance and recommendations before you make the hiring decision.

Enjoy your night out, Tim! :-)
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Ashvini
Twitter:
November 6, 2012 at 5:08 am

Hi Carolyn,

I think this is a great service. Elderly need timely care and often family members who are far away are not in position to get to them in time. These services would help them a lot. I think about my maternal Grandmother. If she had access to such a care for long time, she would have lived for at least ten more years. Providing great healthcare affects the whole nation in a positive manner.
I am sharing this on an entrepreneur group. Let us see if someone picks up the idea here too. Thanks for this article :-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 6, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Hi Ashvini, Care.com has plans to expand globally so they may be coming to India soon.

You’re right, getting proper care can make a great difference to a family and a society. Care.com is a great resource, even if you don’t need it yet.
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Brian D. Meeks November 6, 2012 at 10:04 am

It isn’t a sexy topic, but I’d say it is an important one. Nobody likes to think about when they may need to make such a call for their parents, because Mom and Dad are supposed to be invincible, but they aren’t.

This looks like a great service.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 6, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Hi Brian, Yes, you’re right, we all like to think of our parents as invincible, but there may be times when parents need help and their kids aren’t nearby to give the assistance that is needed. Care.com can be a great resource that people can access even from afar.
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Mike Maynard
Twitter:
November 6, 2012 at 10:30 am

Hi Carolyn,

This one is a disappointment. I thought you’d found a robot to look after me when I finally go senile and I end up in the home for retired bloggers. I shall just have to keep going to the end after all. Care is a little different in the UK so I don’t think this will catch on. I did come across a site like this the other day, it catered for carers those needing carers. Lots of carers, but no jobs. If you’re ever in the UK and need someone to walk your dog or take care of your hamster; you should have no problem…

My blog today is colourful. I’ve been shopping to today and as I was driving home I thought it was getting dark, it was only 2:40pm. I’ve been spending money without an anaesthetic! I even bought a new hat and a umbrella. It started raining and I couldn’t get the tag off the umbrella. It appears to open when it feels like it, I’m sure I’m supposed to press a button. ;-)
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 6, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Hi Mike, Actually, Care.com is already in the UK, but I imagine you’ll never retire from blogging, Mike. At least I hope you won’t!

No robot yet, but if someone develops one, I will definitely report on that here.

I will definitely be by to see your colors. I’m a big fan of color, though you do impressive work with monochrome images as well!
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Shalu Sharma November 6, 2012 at 10:55 am

Looks like care dot com seems to provide all sorts of care from pet to the elderly. Is this company based mostly in the USA and Europe or is a world wide thing.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 7, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Hi Shalu, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! Care.com is based in the US and serves the US and Canada directly. the company owns a subsidiary, Betreut, which services 15 countries in Europe. Care.com has plans to expand globally.

Peter November 7, 2012 at 5:07 am

It is so much difficult to find maids, nannies and such other types of caretakers for the house nowadays. These people always have issues with the pay they are offered and still never come on time or work properly. This sites seems a good way to find these helpers who take care of our house in all circumstances.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 7, 2012 at 11:41 am

Hi Peter, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech! That is one very good thing about Care.com, the rates are given by the job seekers and shown in their listings. You can also read the recommendations for the job seekers as well.

I hope you find a good match on Care.com, Peter!
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Jack November 7, 2012 at 7:07 am

Care.com is really wonderful, the competition has grown up so much that in todays world giving time to your loved one’s has become little difficult. 25% discount on military is very nice, really nice helping post, thanks a lot for sharing..

Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 7, 2012 at 11:42 am

Hi Jack, Welcome to The Wonder of Tech. Yes, it’s great that Care.com gives military families a discount. And you’re right, people can feel torn in many different directions so getting help can reduce the stress in a family and make everyone happier.
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Manickam Vijayabanu November 7, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Hi Carolyn,

Wonderful and very useful service. The price tag also looks attractive and affordable.

We know, combined family structure is almost gone these days, and elderly people care them self become very difficult. This could be for medical, personal and daily routine life needs. These kind of service really would help that age group people.

Thanks for sharing the informative post.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 7, 2012 at 9:36 pm

Hi Manickam, Yes, good point. With two-income households and families living apart, children may be concerned that they are unable to provide the care that their parents may need as they get older. Care.com can help people find that care, even from far away.
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Praveen Rajarao November 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm

This is quite interesting and informative for most of us here. Sounds like a valuable service for the money expected. Many a times we find that our babysitter is not able to make it or even the househelp refuses to come at a time that we expect her to.

This will really add more options for us. Thanks a lot for sharing it.
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Carolyn Nicander Mohr November 15, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Hi Praveen, Yes, the Back Up Care feature is brilliant. To be able to have someone come to help you out on a moment’s notice when you’re in a bind could make a huge difference, especially for working families.
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