Consumer-Directed Care Rising in Popularity
By Mark Broughton, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®

Consumer-directed care (CDC) is often associated with state-specific Medicaid waivers, but did you know that it is also among the fastest growing areas within the private duty care market? As its name implies, this type of care provides families and their senior loved ones with more direction and hands-on control over the care they receive.  This option has many benefits over the traditional way of going through an agency.

These include the ability to choose your own caregiver, negotiate caregiver wages, define your own hours and services rendered, and gain more control (and visibility) over care plan outcomes. As a side benefit, CDC – because it qualifies as domestic employment – can also help families avoid certain overtime regulations, thus providing additional cost reduction.

Families Want More Choice
As the in-home senior care market has matured, a growing number of families are demanding more control over care plans, caregivers, long-term expenses, and activities, including socialization, for their loved one. Traditional in-home senior care can be quite expensive, so the CDC model is welcomed by many who are seeking a lower priced alternative without sacrificing quality. Trending among families is the strong desire to hire the caregiver of their own choosing.  This may include hiring a friend, a relative, or an immediate family member or relying on a CSA who can guide you in the right direction.   Such an arrangement is just not possible with traditional agency care, but it is relatively common with CDC.

Families Want Lower Costs
Families enjoy more choice and lower costs with the CDC model, and with this may come additional responsibilities. With CDC, families are required to be more engaged in the caregiver selection process and on-going care plan activities, but the cost savings that offset the work they put in can be substantial. In fact, costs for CDC cases are typically 25%-50% lower than traditional agency care. This option’s costs are less because the family is doing some of the required work, not an agency.

Families Want More Control
When care planning, nothing can substitute for having a professional nurse, case manager or geriatric care coordinator help, but an increasing number of families also want a seat at that table. In particular, families want to help shape and scope the sometimes overlooked areas such as mental and emotional stimulation that outings, activities, and socialization bring. With CDC, families not only get to choose their own caregiver and determine the pay rate, but they also get to have a direct hand in defining the extracurricular activities of their senior loved one; and in turn, they hold the caregiver accountable for making sure they are done. How refreshing for family members to actually have a voice in determining the activities and events their senior loved one will get to enjoy on a regular basis. And equally important – how essential these activities and events are to the overall mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well being of their loved one.

Finding and managing reliable In-home senior care can difficult and complicated, so never underestimate the fact you may not want to go this journey alone.