It is true that most, if not all, seniors would rather live at home. That is mostly because this sort of arrangement gives them the kind of freedom and independence to which they have grown accustomed.
It also has the added advantage of keeping them within familiar surroundings, which is excellent for seniors who are slowly losing the gift of sight and might be suffering from degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
But despite all these advantages, aging adults cannot live alone in their own homes as they need long-term care. At least, not without assisted help. That is why most families choose to hire in-home care for their beloved seniors.
The advantages of live-in care or non-medical home care are numerous:
- The senior gets personalized care
- The senior gets a companion
- They get help with their day to day chores
- They get help with personal hygiene
- They have someone to help them stay on top of their medication and dietary needs
- They get to stay at their home which is a familiar environment
- They get to keep their independence
- They are cared for by a qualified professional (often a licensed nurse)
As you can imagine, there is discussion about just how affordable the cost of care really is and how many people can afford it. Today, we will try to break down the cost of in-home senior care and show that it is not as expensive as most people tend to think it is at all and is much cheaper than respite care in a nursing home or receiving residential care.
The Cost of In-Home Care
The cost of health care and in-home senior care will very much depend on the number of hours the designated care worker spends with the senior. It also depended on the kind of services need as well as the supplies necessary to ensure that the senior lives a dignified life as they walk into their twilight years.
As you would expect, every state has its own median cost of care and charges associated with in-home health care. The national average, however, according to a survey conducted by Genworth Financial comes to around $4,000 per month. It also shows that the median monthly rate across the country stands at around $20 an hour, based on the survey, which was conducted in 2015. There are some states that are more expensive than average while there are those states that charge well below the median hourly rate.
The Most Expensive States:
The Survey Showed That The Most Expensive States As Far As Senior In-Home Care Is Concerned Include (Average Costs):
- North Dakota – $27
- Alaska – $26
- Hawaii – $25
- Massachusetts – $25
- Minnesota – $25
- Rhode Island – $25
While The States With The Least Expensive Senior In-Home Care Services Include (Average Costs):
- Louisiana and West Virginia – $16
- Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi – $17
- Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee – $18
As mentioned, the amount you might pay for your in-home care will greatly depend on the number of hours spent by the care worker at your home as well as the supplies necessary to make you comfortable.
Calculating In-Home Care Cost
Regardless of the kind of home care service you choose, you will receive an estimate based on the results of a comprehensive assessment of your individual needs by a licensed care worker or home care agency. Depending on the home care agency you choose, you may or may not be charged a non-refundable assessment fee.
Here Are Several Ways Through Which Your In-Home Care Cost May Be Broken Down:
- Hourly Rates: This is by far the most common way of determining just how much you will pay as a client. Seniors who generally remain independent in their day to day activities may not need a care worker around the clock. It is not uncommon to find seniors who only need care workers for about 2 hours every day. In this kind of case, the calculated cost will not be so high depending on the home care agency you choose. You should also know that different home care agencies have an established minimum number of hours per day that one of their licensed caregivers can spend at the home of a client. In most cases, it is either 2 or 4 hours minimum. This is mostly for staffing purposes.
- Daily Rates: This kind of arrangement is given to senior clients who need help or care around the clock. The rates are often calculated on a daily basis with allowances given for the time the caregiver takes off for their breaks and rests. Typically, the daily rate for most home care agencies ranges from $200 to about $350 per day. This, of course, is dependent on the cost of living within your given region as well as the amount of specialized care that you need as a client.
- Overnight Rates: Overnight rates are slightly different than daily rates in that you could choose to hire overnight help without necessarily choosing the daily Although typically not calculated by the hour, overnight rates are not as expensive as daily rates because of the limited number of hours and activities associated with the service provided by the caregiver. Overnight clients are seniors who need assistance from a professional at night because they either get up too many times to go the bathroom and need help with that or have degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia and may wander off into the night. The care worker is primarily there to offer assistance and to ensure the senior’s safety through the night. This option is often chosen by seniors who have family members acting as the primary caregiver during the day. Since the family members need to sleep as well, there is always a care worker who takes over at night. The rates are fairly affordable with some home care agencies charging between $120 and $200 for every 10–12-hour overnight care.
As mentioned, these estimates vary depending on your location and the cost of living within that state or county. For the most part, you can easily compare and contrast different home care agencies to see which one offer the best value for money.
What to Look for in an In-Home Care Service
Because Americans spend an average of $4,000 a month on home care services, it is imperative to find the right kind of service. One that speaks to your specific needs and has your best interests at heart.
Here are some of the things you should consider when you choose an in-home care service:
- How long they have been in service and their track record: This will allow you to judge just how well they treat their clients and the kind of track record they have as far as care is concerned.
- What kind of qualifications and experience the staff has: For the most part, in-home care service providers include trained and certified nurses and professionals who are specialized in care for the elderly. The credentials of every staff member will give you an indication of the level of care that the home care provides for their clients.
- Whether or not the staff is insured and bonded: This is purely for your own protection. Ensure that every member of the staff is insured and bonded.
- Whether or not they work with a doctor to develop a care plan for you: Depending on the kind of care you need, it is important to have a doctor on staff to help the care workers to come up with a well-structured care plan for you. This is especially true if you need rehabilitative and medical care.
- Can they give you references to check? The best care providers are proud of what they do and are more than happy to share that information with you. By talking to an actual client, you will get a personal feel of how the home care agency treat’s its clients. This personal testimony is quite reassuring in most cases.
Of course, as mentioned earlier, you might need to do a little digging before you settle on one home care service provider. The problem is that for some seniors, the choices are often limited by the availability of agencies in their location. So take your time and find the best one—at least one that comes to meeting as many of your particular needs if not all of them.
How is In-Home Care Paid For?
There are several methods through which you can choose to pay for your in-home care service. The most common include:
- Out-of-pocket pay where you or your family members choose to pay for the services yourselves
- You could also have a third-party pay for the service. Third parties include institutions and systems such as Medicare, Veteran Administration for military vets, and Medicaid
- There are also other third-party options such as your health insurance company or managed care plans
- In fewer cases, you may also have well-wishers paying for the service. This often involves NGO, private citizens or even friends/church
On a typical basis, you should be looking at around $4,000 a month if you want full-time care and much less than that for structured care.
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