There comes a time when seniors need the help and support home care services provide.
However, not many people are equipped with the necessary funds required to pay for these types of services. The experience of any health emergency, such as a fall or a heart attack, generally occur when we least expect. Although these, and many other acute conditions only last for a short period of time, the post-recovery can, and very well may, require the assistance of in-home care. Seniors who have not yet experienced these emergencies can still benefit from the company and training a home caregiver provides.
The good news?
There are several programs available to seniors who are unable to afford home care. From Medicare to financing home care personally, this guide will help educate you on the topic of senior care and how to protect your senior loved ones. In this day and age, it is essential that you do all you can to help seniors get the care they need, and prevent elder fraud, abuse, and assault.
Home Care vs Home Health Care
All too often, when people hear the words “home health care” and “in-home care”, they assume the services are the same. Well, as it turns out, there are some vitally important differences between the two types of care.
Home Health Care
Home health care is provided by skilled medical professionals, and requires a written order from a doctor / physician. Generally speaking, home health care is used to help older adults recover at home, after undergoing a serious medical procedure or accident, or for elderly people who suffer from terminal illness or diseases. Home health care is usually less expensive, due to the fact that it is used on a short-term basis. It is important to note that home health care can be just as effective as care from a hospital or skilled nursing facility (SNF).
Home Health Care Services Include:
- Surgical wound care and wound care for pressure sores
- At-home physical, speech, or occupational therapy
- Constant monitoring of serious illness or unstable health status
- Nutrition therapy, including intravenous (IV) therapy
- Pain management
- Any form of injection
In-home care services are usually non-medical, and primarily focus on helping older adults with various activities of daily living (ADLs). The main goal of in-home care is to keep seniors in the comfort of their own homes for as long as possible. These non-medical home care services are provided by a home health aide, or a personal care aide, and no medical licensing or training is required of them. That said, there are several states which require a high school diploma or it’s equivalent. It is important to note that the majority of states allow home health aides to provide their clients with medication and check their vital signs, as long as it is done under the supervision of a nurse, physician or other healthcare provider.
In-Home Care Services Include:
- Shopping for personal items or groceries
- Meal preparation
- Dressing, grooming, bathing, and other activities involving personal hygiene
- Laundry and light housekeeping duties
- Assistance with mobility
- Observation of changes in mental or physical condition, and reporting the results to a healthcare professional or family member
- Medication reminders and management
- Recording client’s diet
- Encouraging and assisting with daily exercise
- Maintaining a safe home environment for the client
Costs: In-Home Care, Home Health, & Memory Care
In-Home Care Costs:
Home health aides and home care aides both bill on an hourly basis (the only exception would be for live-in caregivers who sometimes bill flat rates). You can hire home care aides through a home care agency, or by hiring directly (private hire). Keep in mind, home health aides go though a great deal of federal regulations, and are almost always hired through a home care agency. We recommend hiring a caregiver through an agency, as it comes with less liabilities, and more security, due to the fact that home care agencies are required to perform many scans and assessments prior-to hiring their caregivers.
It is important to mention that hourly rates for home care vary significantly – as much as a 50% cost increase or decrease, even within the same town or state.
The nationwide average in 2018 for non-medical home care is $20.50 per hour, with state averages ranging from $15 – $27.50 per hour. (It should be noted – these are average costs determined by data collected from home care agencies). Some private-hire caregivers can be retained to provide most of the same services with fees that are about 20% lower. However, independently hired caregivers are generally uninsured, and are not required to go through background checks for safety. In addition, these private caregivers may be unable to provide substitute caregivers to work in their place, in the event that they are not able to work on short notice).
As previously mentioned, independently hired caregivers typically charge 20% less than caregivers hired through a home care agency.
Home Health Costs:
Home health aides usually only visit the home as much as is medically needed or required; and only stay there for short periods of time when compared to in-home care aides. The nationwide average in 2018 for medical home health aides displayed an hourly fee of $21 per hour. However, different state averages range anywhere form $15.25 to $28 per hour of care.
In-Home Memory Care Costs:
Memory care usually refers to a distinct form of long-term care, designed specifically to meet the needs of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other memory problems.
In-home Alzheimer’s care can be affordable, and even relatively low cost, when compared to residential care. Typically, in-home care providers do not charge any additional fees to care for seniors with Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, senior living residences (Assisted Living, Nursing Homes), almost always charge an additional $1,200 per month for individuals who have memory issues, dementia, or Alzheimer’s.
Financial Assistance for Home Care Services
Original Medicare Benefits