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What is Home Care and How to Pay For It?

Updated: Jan 10

You or your aging loved one needs help. They need help with bathing, dressing, eating, etc. It's not medical care, it's just help with stuff every day. THIS is home care. Here I share some realities around this type of care, including how to pay for it.


What is Home Care?


Care when you need an extra hand. Here's the types of care tasks provided in home care:

  • Laundry

  • Dog walking

  • Companionship

  • Taking out garbage

  • Making bed

  • Changing linens

  • Organizing/cleaning closets

  • Meal preparation

  • Transportation for errands, shopping, doctor appointments

  • Bathing

  • Dressing

  • Hygiene

Should you do it yourself or hire someone?


A lot of individuals consider taking on this type of care themselves, or hiring a neighbor or friend. I get it. It's expensive to get the care you, or your loved one, needs. Let's look at some of the differences between doing this way or hiring a home care service.


A Care Plan - with a home care agency, you'll get a care plan. This is an essential part of making sure your loved one gets all the care they require. Often, their physician tells you about this, but there's no follow-up or professional know-how when you take this on yourself. A professional agency has qualified teams that evaluate care recipients for home safety and level of care required. Plus, they're responsible for continual check-ins to ensure all your needs are getting met.


Safety - professional care staff are required to remain up-to-date on all vaccinations, so you know you or your aging loved one is as safe as possible from spreadable illnesses. Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, this is often top of the list on everyone's safety check. Professional agencies perform background checks on their employees. When hiring a close family friend, this may not be a concern, but there is concern when hiring caretakers from third-party websites or classified ads to save money. Agencies carry insurance to protect you from damages. If an accident occurs where you or your loved one is harmed, your are protected.


Catching Medical Issues Early - because a professional agency is required to do regular screenings, any signs or symptoms of serious medical issues will be caught early. A small mistake in care, that may not be caught, can be the start of a decline in health that is difficult to overcome.


Quality Care - a professional agency is required to train their care staff on care tasks, simple medical procedures, and medical screenings. Alternatively, family members and friends don't have access to this training. I can't tell you how many families I've worked with that have had to find YouTube videos to learn how to perform a certain activity to care for their loved one. That's not the safest possible situation. If a caretaker has to miss a day, an agency will ensure there's no gap in care by sending another employee. With friends or family, you could be left with no care. Home care is usually available 24-hours a day and 7-day a week, including holidays. Services can be scheduled in increments (i.e. 2-hour block up to 24 hours).


Be informed.


When looking for care for yourself, or a loved one, it’s always important to be informed. It's okay to take a look at multiple agencies. You want to right fit! Schedule a meeting with a home or personal care company to get to know them.


Ask about the process for starting care, the timeline to start services, how they handle situations when a caretaker is absent, how they screen and educate their employees, and their costs. The smoothest transitions to home care are when families contact agencies weeks before they are ready to start home care.


The Costs.


The national average hourly rate is $26/hour.

Check the rate in your area using this Genworth tool.

How to pay for home care (the common answers):

  1. Use a Long-term Care Insurance policy. (most aging individuals don't have a policy in place)

  2. Costs are covered by the Aid & Attendance pension plan for veterans and their spouses. (it can take some time to navigate the application and not all individuals are veterans or spouses of)

  3. Utilize Medicaid. (most middle-class families don't qualify because their asset value is too high)

Figuring out how to pay for long-term care is hard! The answers exist in too many places for you to find alone. We can help!

© 2023 Elder Care Solutions


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