Seniors who require extra support at home can depend on in-home senior care. In-home care is available to the elderly via services from professional caregivers, like home care aides and home health aides. Both provide compassionate assistance to elderly individuals who are no longer able to remain fully independent.
Home care aides offer help with the activities of daily living, which include bathing, dressing, grocery shopping and meal preparation. Home health aides, on the other hand, are trained in basic medical care and perform simple medical tasks, such as taking vital signs or changing wound dressings.
The cost for either form of in-home help depends on the level of service a loved one needs. Home care aides charge lower hourly rates than home health aides. Home care aides can be hired from senior care agencies with costs ranging from $15 to $27 an hour.
Independently employing a home care aide is more cost-effective, up to 30 percent lower than hiring a caregiver from an agency. Home health aides, who are skilled in basic medical care, charge on average $20.50 to $27 an hour. Costs for either type of aide varies from state to state.
Elderly care is costly. Numerous means of financial support are available to families to help finance the cost of in-home senior care. Many older individuals rely on Medicare, Medicaid and veteran’s benefits for financial assistance. Self-pay options for in-home care include long-term care insurance, home care loans and conversions of life insurance policies.
Medicare Offers Advantages and Disadvantages. In-home health care is covered by Medicare but is strictly regulated. Only home-bound individuals are eligible for Medicare benefits when home health care is deemed medically necessary. “Home-bound” refers to individuals who are incapable of leaving their home without assistance, such as from a caregiver or via a wheelchair. Any Medicare benefits exclude personal care received during home health care visits.
Medicare is impractical when attempting to finance non-medical, in-home senior care. Medicare does not cover non-medical care in any form, whether the care received is at home or in a facility. Consequently, Medicare is an unreliable source for paying for home care aides, who solely provide non-medical assistance.
Medicaid Assists Qualifying Low-Income Individuals. Medicaid is a federal insurance program that supports low-income persons aged 65 and older. Both in-home health care and in-home non-medical care are covered by Medicaid. Eligibility and benefits for Medicaid vary by state. The majority of states, however, cover senior in-home care. It is important to note that a waiting list for Medicaid benefits is common due to the limited availability.
Veterans Benefits Support Home Care. The Department of Veterans Affairs offers several types of assistance to help veterans finance suitable in-home care. Options include direct monetary assistance and direct care services. Veterans’ pensions may be applied to home care, as well. The three pension benefits veterans may use toward home care are the Improved Pension, Homebound and Aid and Attendance.
State Non-Medicaid Programs Aid Low-Income Seniors. Low-income seniors who are ineligible for Medicaid may dependably turn to state non-Medicaid programs. Rather than place seniors in nursing homes, non-Medicaid programs aim to delay the event, often with cash assistance or respite services. Most states offer financial assistance through programs, like the Senior Care Act in Kansas, Home-Based Care in Maine and the Senior Care Program in Maryland.
Non-Profit Organization Grants Help with Specific Conditions. Non-profit organizations on occasion offer financial assistance to seniors with specific ailments. The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, for example, offers Family Respite Care Grants to offset the cost of in-home care for families that work directly with the organizations.
Self-Pay Through Life Insurance Conversions. Seniors who carry life insurance policies have a variety of opportunities to convert the policy into cash prior to their passing. Three options that allow elderly individuals to receive payouts include the viatical settlement (the senior has less than a two-year life expectancy), life settlements (for people who expect to live longer) and life insurance conversions (where care instead of cash is received).
Death benefit loans and accelerated death benefits are additional ways life insurance policies can work to benefit the senior policyholder.
Self-Pay Via Long-Term Care Insurance. Home care may be financed through long-term care insurance benefits (alternately known as nursing home insurance). Individuals must pay a monthly premium, often totaling $250 to $1000 per month in exchange for the policy partially covering or completely paying for a senior’s long-term care expenses. Long-term care insurance is ideal for paying for in-home care.
An obstacle that seniors may encounter if they do not already have long-term care insurance is enrolling when they are in need of care. Insurers often reject new, elderly enrollees as well as older individuals who are in frail health. Premiums can be extremely high on the rare occasions that seniors are accepted.
Local Resources Offer Financial Planning Services. Families can find assistance with financial planning to pay for senior home care from a variety of resources: geriatric care managers or life care managers, eldercare resource managers, public benefits counselors and elder law attorneys.
When non-medical, in-home care best suits the needs of your loved one, turn to Assisting Hands Home Care. As a licensed, bonded and insured home care agency, Assisting Hands Home Care offers compassionate home care aides who provide constant care and attention to their senior clients. Examples of the agency’s wide variety of non-medical, elder care services include meal preparation, light housekeeping, transportation and bathing.
The Assisting Hands Home Care team meets with families and their loved one to assess their needs and develop a customized care plan. A well-matched caregiver is dispatched to the family’s home to tend to the needs of the senior, whether for a few hours a week or around the clock every day.
The home care agency prioritizes the dignity and well-being of the seniors in their care, helping their care recipients remain as independent as possible and secure in the comfort of home.