Seniors: Home Care Services Can Help Keep You at Home
Options for seniors in need of support were once quite limited. In the past, growing older often meant moving out of your comfortable, familiar home and into a nursing home or a senior living community. For some, these types of facilities are great choices. But for those who prefer to age in place, home care services are an option that preserves their independence while still providing plenty of support and assistance.
What Is Senior Home Care?
Senior home care is a type of professional support service that helps seniors maintain their independence and continue to live safely at home. It’s very similar to the type of care you would receive in an assisted living facility. The main difference is that you’ll receive this care in the comfort of your own home from a certified senior home care provider.
The length and level of care can vary, but senior home care generally refers to non-medical or personal care, along with companionship services. Caregivers spend two to eight hours a day, several days a week, helping with various activities and providing companionship.
Senior home care providers can assist with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and using the restroom. They can also help with instrumental activities of daily living like laundry, house cleaning, meal prep, and grocery shopping. Additionally, senior home care providers can provide companionship, conversation, and transportation to appointments and other activities.
Home health care is a type of senior home care that provides medical assistance ,such as prescription management, monitoring of vitals, and IV treatments. If you’ve recently suffered an injury or undergone surgery, your doctor may recommend home health care as a part of your treatment plan. Home health care is typically a more short-term service that focuses on addressing your medical conditions.
Since there are so many different services available under the umbrella of senior home care, be sure to specify your needs when consulting with an agency or interviewing potential caregivers.
Why Is Senior Home Care a Good Choice?
There are many benefits to choosing senior home care over other common options, like moving to a senior living community or a nursing home. One of the biggest benefits of aging in place is the comfort and familiarity that comes with continuing to live at home. Having a caregiver come to your home is less of an adjustment and it allows you to maintain your independence. Another great advantage of senior home care is that you’ll receive completely personalized care that’s catered to your specific needs.
Senior home care also allows you to stay more connected with loved ones. Unlike most assisted living facilities and other senior communities, you’re not limited to specific visiting hours; your friends and family can stop by anytime. With senior home care, you can also continue to engage in any hobbies or activities you enjoy. Senior home care promotes peace of mind and improves quality of life.
How Much Does Senior Home Care Cost?
In comparison to other options for seniors who need additional support, senior home care is a more affordable choice. You can choose to hire a caregiver from an agency or individually. Agencies come with fees that will make the total cost about 20 to 30 percent higher, but they usually provide training, background checks, and some on-the-job supervision. If you choose to hire a caregiver who isn’t part of an agency, the cost is likely to be lower, but you’ll need to do your own background check and ask for references.
As of 2021, the average cost of in-home care for seniors is $24 a hour, with an average daily cost of $188 and an average yearly cost of $47,000. In contrast, the average cost of nursing home care with a private room is $290 a day or $105,850 a year. The affordability of senior home care in comparison to assisted living or a nursing home makes it a great option for many seniors.
How to Find Affordable Senior Home Care
Although many families pay out of pocket for senior home care, there are also several ways to make this service more affordable. For example, home care is tax-deductible in some cases, making the cost more manageable. If you’re a veteran, you’re eligible for senior home care services under the Veteran’s Administration as long as you meet the need for them and they are available.
Medicare Advantage is a great option to lower the expenses of senior home care as well. Also known as Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage covers non-skilled in-home care for seniors, although coverage can vary depending on the specific Medicare Advantage plan. It’s important to note that Medicare A and/or B cover medically necessary home health care, but not non-skilled in-home care.
When paying out of pocket, there are a few options available to you. You can use a combination of savings, investments, annuities, and your life insurance policy. A reverse mortgage or home equity loan may also be valid choices. However, it can be risky to use your home to cover long-term care, as you may run out of equity in your home over time.
Government assistance is also available to those who qualify. A good place to start is the federal government’s Eldercare Locator, which is a public service that can connect you and your family to various resources for seniors.
Finally, Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is a little-known but helpful initiative that has the goal of keeping seniors out of nursing homes. If you are 55 or older and live in an area with a PACE organization, you may be eligible for senior home care coverage through PACE.
Senior home care is a versatile service that can provide you with the assistance you need to age in place. With the help of a home caregiver, you can continue to live an independent and fulfilling life from the comfort of your own home.