How to Find Senior Care for Aging Adults: Companies, Cost + Reviews

Certified Care Manager, Aging Life Care Professional, and Certified Master Guardian

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Finding the best care for an aging adult involves more than just hiring professional caregivers. It also means finding reliable, relevant, and useful information about aging and caregiving. 

Jump ahead to these sections: 

The best place to start your search is by identifying what it is that you need. Is it a caregiver? Do you need information on local transportation options? Or, are you looking for assisted living options? As a Certified Care Manager, Aging Life Care Professional, and Certified Master Guardian, I’ll walk you through those questions.

Then, I’ll guide you through what I found to be the best marketplaces and services based on my expertise and hours of research. 

What is Care or Caregiving for Aging Adults? 

When an aging adult receives care or caregiving, it means they’re not able to function independently without some assistance. 

This assistance could look like a resource for transportation, in-home hands-on caregiving through a company, assisted living, home health, or nursing home care. Often, the family caregiver only needs resources and information on how to be a better caregiver for their loved one. 

How Do You Know If an Aging Adult Is Ready for In-Home Care or Caregiving?

Knowing when an aging adult is ready for in-home care can be tricky, especially for someone resistant to care or insists that they don’t need help. 

If you or a loved one experience the following, it might be time for in-home care or caregiving. 

  • Falling: Repeated falls are a sign of an underlying medical problem, weakness, or medication mismanagement.
  • Memory problems: Memory problems lead to all kinds of other safety issues. Memory problems may be reversible or a sign of dementia.
  • Weight loss: This is usually a sign of difficulty cooking, shopping, or preparing food.
  • Problems driving: Accidents, and getting lost can be a symptom of cognitive impairment.
  • Poor hygiene: Poor hygiene can be the result of increasing difficulty getting in and out of the shower. 
  • Medication mismanagement: Medication mismanagement can have serious consequences. Possible reasons include poor eyesight, dementia, or resistance to taking medications. 

What Are the Different Types of In-Home Care or Caregiving for Aging Adults or Seniors?

In most cases, caregiving starts with an aging adult’s family. Sometimes, when the responsibilities become too much, too hectic, or too time-consuming, they look to other avenues of support. Some of these options are covered by insurance or long term care insurance and others are private pay. Here’s what they look like. 

In-home personal care

In-home personal care can be a great option for people who need help to stay safe at home. You’ll usually pay for this on an hourly basis, and is normally paid out-of-pocket unless you qualify under a long term care policy. 

Pros: 

  • Scheduling is very flexible, from a few hours a day to 24-hour care.
  • Allows someone to transition safely from rehab or hospitalization.
  • Depending on state requirements, caregivers can help with bathing, dressing, cooking, shopping, medication pick up, transfers, and companionship.

Cons:

  • The cost can get expensive, especially with 24-hour or live-in care.
  • Caregiver turnover is high, which means the caregiver you love so much, may leave.
  • There might be tasks that your family member needs, like blood glucose testing, but due to state regulations, the caregiver may be prohibited from doing. That leaves you with a decision about whether to hire a nurse to perform those duties.
  • Having someone in your space every day can leave you feeling like you don’t have enough privacy.
  • If you opt for one of the sites that connect you with caregivers, you might be responsible for managing the caregiver yourself.

Assisted living

Assisted living is for seniors who need intermittent assistance with dressing, bathing, medication management, cooking, and cleaning. Assisted living housing communities often include memory care as well.

Pros: 

  • Built-in social component with opportunities for group activities and communal dining.
  • Almost all care needs are taken care of, including transportation to doctor’s appointments (or sometimes physicians on location), hairdresser, and part-time nursing services.
  • In most cases, it eliminates the need to manage in-home care.
  • There is no home maintenance to worry about.

Cons:

  • Assisted living can get expensive. Most communities have a “base rate” and add on costs depending on the level of care needed.
  • Not everyone likes the socialization aspect or the feeling that they are being checked on all the time.
  • May provide insufficient medical care.

Home health care

Home health care is short term in-home rehabilitation covered by insurance. But, certain criteria must be met for the benefit to be covered. 

Pros:

  • Nursing, physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapy available.
  • Aide service up to three times a week to help with bathing, dressing, and transfers.
  • Insurance covered.

Cons:

  • Time-limited. Someone may need continued help after the services have been discontinued. When that happens, it may be necessary to pay for in-home caregivers through an agency.

How Did We Compare Home Care Services or Marketplaces for Aging Adults and Seniors?

Each of these companies offers pretty different services. Some of these websites are portals to other companies,, while others directly administer the care.

We also interviewed a private assisted living placement professional and a home care agency owner to find out their views on the online assisted living placement services and the costs, if any, to the agency or consumer.

  • Ease of use: This means the ease with which, as a user, you can navigate the site and get the information you are looking for. 
  • Methods of communicating with caregivers:: If you are hiring a caregiver from one of these sites, what is the method of communication and how easy is it to determine the limits to that communication?
  • Hiring process for caregivers: For sites that allow you to hire your own caregiver, what is the process?
  • Price: The service may be free, or there may be a fee. Sites that connect you with a caregiver will charge a subscription rate, and then you pay the caregiver on top of that. 
  • Services offered and pricing transparency: What exactly is the service being offered, and can you easily tell what the price is of the service?
  • Relevance of blog articles:  Blog articles are a large part of some of these company’s sites. Are the blogs current, are the writers experienced, and how relevant is the information?

Popular Online Care Marketplaces and Services Compared

There is tremendous competition in the world of senior marketplaces and services. As the population ages, the potential to capture a share of the senior marketplace is significant. One of the ways in which companies attract you to their paid services is through informational websites.

1. Eldercare Locator

Eldercare locator's homepage

  • Price: Free
  • Ease of use: Simple interface. You simply put in your zip code and it takes you to local resources.
  • Communicating with caregivers: Up to client
  • Hiring Process for caregivers: Client self-selects
  • Services and transparency: Very transparent, but does not refer to private agencies or companies—only public and non-profit.
  • Resources or blog: Doesn't have a blog, but does have informational brochures on a wide range of topics.

Eldercare Locator is a public service of the Administration on Aging with the goal of connecting families and aging adults to local resources. This means there’s no profit motives or attempt to capture your information to sell you more services.  

There are several ways to connect with resources. You can put your zip code or city and state, which will take you to public and non-profit resources in your area. The listings include programs like aging and adult services, state agencies on aging, disability and aging, elder abuse prevention, legal services, and the ombudsman program. The interface is very easy to use, and the information is current and relevant. 

The downside of Eldercare Locator is that there is no referral to private companies or programs.

Learn More About Eldercare Locator 

2. Care.com

Care.com's homepage

  • Price: Basic membership is free, but won't be able to communicate freely with potential caregivers unless you pay the $13 per month subscription. Caregiving rates are around $15-$30 per hour.
  • Ease of use: Clean interface and easy to use.
  • Communicating with caregivers: Restricted unless you pay a monthly fee.
  • Hiring process for caregivers: Client self-selects
  • Services and transparency: Pricing is not transparent unless you put in your name and email information. Caregiver hiring fees vary widely, but you can expect to pay less than through a private agency.
  • Resources or blog: Blog articles are related to caregiving services only.

Care.com is one of the oldest running sites that connects consumers to eldercare, child, and pet care. The only way to view caregivers is to give your name and email information. Then, you can pay a subscription to communicate with and hire caregivers. 

The appeal of this direct consumer to caregiver hiring process is that you’re likely to pay far less per hour than if you went through an agency. Each caregiver’s profile states their hourly rate, which, generally speaking, is around $15 an hour for eldercare. If you went with an agency instead, you’d expect to pay up to $40 an hour.

Pricing isn’t transparent unless you give Care.com your name and email. The subscription fee is $13 a month or less if you sign up for a longer period of time. If you want a caregiver background check, this runs around $60-$300 extra, depending on the type of background check. Keep in mind that since you’re directly hiring a caregiver, you will be responsible for payroll, liability insurance, and caregiver replacement. 

Learn More About Care.com

3. Carelinx

Carelinx's homepage

  • Price: Free, care services will depend on the provider you choose 
  • Ease of use: Clean interface and easy to use.
  • Communicating with caregivers: Restricted unless you pay a monthly fee.
  • Hiring process for caregivers: Client self-selects
  • Services and transparency:  Caregiver hiring fees vary widely, and will depend on the caregiver you choose.
  • Resources or blog: None available

Carelinx is in direct competition to Care.com. When you find a caregiver you want to interview, either in person or by Web video, you pay the site a $99 fee, and Carelinx runs a background check. 

If you hire someone, you pay Carelinx a fee equal to 10% of the pay that you and the caregiver negotiate, which is often around $12 to $15 an hour. Carelinx also offers payroll services. Plus, the website is slick and transparent about what their product is. 

Learn More About Carelinx

4. SeniorLiving.org

SeniorLiving.org's hompage

  • Price: Free
  • Ease of use: Very easy to use and find information. 
  • Communicating with caregivers: Up to client
  • Hiring process for caregivers: Client self-selects
  • Services and transparency SeniorLiving.org will direct your queries to A Place For Mom.
  • Resources or blog: Tons of relevant and useful information on everything from transportation, medical alert systems, side by side comparisons of cell phones, durable medical equipment, and much more. 

SeniorLiving.org allows you to put in your zip code to find assisted living, memory care, nursing, and home care in your community. Once you answer questions about who you are looking for and what you can pay, you put in your contact information to have a housing advisor help you find what you are looking for.

The site itself is very good. There’s tons of relevant and useful information on everything from transportation, medical alert systems, side-by-side comparisons of cell phones, durable medical equipment, and much more.

That aside, the site itself is very good. There’s tons of relevant and useful information on everything from transportation, medical alert systems, side-by-side comparisons of cell phones, durable medical equipment, and much more. 

Learn More About SeniorLiving.org

4. AgingCare.com

Agingcare.com's homepage

  • Price: Free
  • Ease of use: Super easy to use and find the information you are looking for. 
  • Communication with caregivers: Up to client
  • Hiring process for caregivers: Client self-selects
  • Services and transparency: Not transparent about the housing inquiries, which will lead you to A Place for Mom. 
  • Resource or blog: Very relevant and up to date information on a wide range of subjects

AgingCare.com is a site for the consumer to find senior housing or in-home care. You have to put in your information to have a senior advisor contact you for assistance.

Private home care agencies can also advertise their services on AgingCare.com. One home care owner told us that Agingcare.com takes 10% of all billing for any client that comes from AgingCare.com.

The site is super easy to use, but to get any local care resources you must put in your contact information.

Learn More About AgingCare.com

5. ElderCare.com

ElderCare.com's homepage

  • Price: Free
  • Ease of use: Able to see potential caregivers profiles and really good filer system
  • Communication with caregivers: Up to client
  • Hiring process for caregivers: Client self-selects
  • Services and transparency: Not transparent about the housing inquiries, which will lead you to A Place for Mom. 
  • Resource or blog: Not current.

ElderCare.com is owned by Careguide.com. They are in direct competition with Care.com providing services such as eldercare, child, and pet care. It’s impossible to find subscription fees or get any additional information without giving them your email address and name.

As with Care.com, the only way to communicate with potential caregivers is to subscribe.

Learn More About ElderCare.com

Another service to consider

As a comparison to the sites and services listed above, here's another type of service to consider.

Private senior referral or placement agency

Consider a private referral placement agency to find local assisted living communities that fit your needs. Generally speaking, this service is generally much more personalized and is free to the consumer.

 Just make sure you ask how many assisted living communities the referral agency has contracts with. If the referral agency only has a few contracts, your introduction to assisted living communities may be limited to just those few.

Finding Care for Seniors or Aging Adults: Frequently Asked Questions

As you can see from the comparisons above, finding care for aging adults can get complicated. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions to fill in some gaps.

How much does in-home care typically cost? And how do people pay for it?

In-home care through a private agency costs between $20-$40 an hour. People pay for these services privately unless they have long-term care insurance to offset the cost. Costs through one of the online companies listed in our comparisons will be lower, at about $10-$30 an hour. 

What services are generally included in in-home care?

This all depends on the state you live in. In-home care typically consists of assistance with bathing, grooming, cooking, transportation, and companionship.

How do you talk to your aging parents or loved ones about starting in-home care or caregiving?

The best approach to talking to an aging parent about in-home caregiving is to be honest and respectful. Negotiating, and discussing options fairy and transparently is a must. 

If the caregiving situation is not working out to you or your family member’s satisfaction, do not hesitate to make a change.

Find the Best Senior Care for Aging Adults

If you’re feeling like finding senior care for an aging adult is a jungle, it is. Our comparisons are intended to help you become a better consumer so you can get the best care possible.

The only word of wording is to use caution when providing personal information. As our comparisons note, you may be signing up for a service that you don’t need.

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