New options and new risks in elder care

A recent New York Times article explored a new option for at-home elder care that lies in the so-called “gray market,” an over-the-back-fence network of women who are hired through personal recommendation. This new option is an alternative to both home health agency aides and nursing homes. Agency aides, although bonded, insured, and certified, are costly and often not covered by government assistance. Nursing homes have been criticized for being a place of nursing home abuse and neglect.

The gray market of aides are usually untrained, unscreened and unsupervised. However, they are much more affordable. Although these aides are hired through word-of-mouth without criminal background checks, many of their employers cite their loyalty and ability to work unfettered by agency regulations.

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