Many seniors are preferring to age in their own homes, even as they require more care. Fortunately there are in-home care options for seniors to help with activities of daily living, as well as provide home health care.
- What Is In-home Care for Seniors?
- How Much Does Senior In-home Care Cost?
- Types of In-home Care for Seniors
- What Are the Different Levels of Care?
- Private vs. Agency Home Care Costs
- How to Estimate In-home Care Costs
- In-home Care Costs by State
- How to Choose an In-home Care Provider
What Is In-home Care for Seniors?
In-home care for seniors is a model of long-term care where home health aides and medical care is provided at home rather than in an assisted living facility or nursing home. It is especially useful for those who want to age in their homes rather than living in a care facility or have a spouse that would be unable to live in a long-term care facility.
It is an alternative to the traditional assisted living community, group homes, or nursing homes offered to seniors. However, in home care services can also include personal care, home health care, and companion care.
For instance, in-home care includes but is not limited to assistance with daily activities like grooming and bathing, help cleaning and maintaining the home, and facilitating transportation. It also includes running errands like grocery shopping.
In-home senior care requires extensive planning on the part of the loved ones of the senior in need of care. It is important to be fully educated on the risks, requirements, and responsibilities of in-home care before committing to the endeavor.
How Much Does Senior In-home Care Cost?
In-home care is more expensive on average than an assisted living community but less expensive than a traditional nursing home. The average cost of in-home care in the United States is about $4,600 per month. This is compared to an average of $9,000 per month for a private room at a traditional nursing home or $4,300 per month at an assisted living facility.
This is an average range on a nationwide scale, so keep in mind that the cost of care could be well above or slightly below the numbers provided here depending.
Price can fluctuate with location, demand, cost of living, and level of care and medical services needed. Check out the local rates to confirm costs.
Types of In-home Care for Seniors
There are many types of care services for in-home care for seniors. To determine which option is best, consider the preferences and medical needs of the care recipient. The needs and preferences of the senior should help guide the decision process to choose the right home care providers.
Home Health Care
Home health care will require that the caregiver can perform basic medical and nursing tasks like medication management, injections, monitor vital signs, wound care, nutrition therapy, and monitoring the status of an illness.
The caregiver in an in-home health care situation is generally certified to provide health care services necessary for the quality of life for the patient.
Personal care is typically administered by a home care aide. It is helpful for older adults who want to age in their own home but need a little help with basic tasks.
It is non-medical, but the home caregiver may need to help the person in their care remember to take medicine or participate in rehabilitation activities.
Personal care assistance provides the senior the freedom to live in their own home but also providing assistance with errands, housekeeping, or preparing meals is part of in-home personal care.
Like personal care, companion care is non-medical. The primary aim of companion care is to offer emotional support and engage in social activity.
The people in need of companion care are largely self-sufficient and would benefit from help in light housekeeping or various errands on occasion.
Mainly, the goal is to keep them social and happy while they age at home.
What Are the Different Levels of Care?
Different levels of care are required based on the needs and health of an individual.
When someone is younger and more self-sufficient, they need less care. As someone develops more health issues, their level of care will increase as will the cost.
Whether it is in-home health care, personal care, or companion care, the level of care depends on the individual’s needs at the time. Typically individuals move through the care spectrum, starting with companion or personal care, and move towards in-home health care as their medical and nursing needs increase over time.
Private vs. Agency Home Care Costs
There are two models of in-home care: private in-home care and agency in-home care.
Private in-home care requires that other family members or independent contractors provide the in-home care.
With agency in-home care, the family of the senior will work with a home care agency to obtain an in-home care professional that is attached to an agency.
There are cost differences between the two options. Overall, agency in-home care tends to be more expensive due to various agency costs and fair wages for their workers. The benefit of a home health care agency is that they have people on staff who can fill in if your home health aide gets sick or needs time off. Additionally, the agency should ensure the aide’s training and skills are sufficient for the care required.
For the most part, agency care costs from 20 percent to 30 percent more than private care. Care.com is one of the most well known sources for finding local independent senior caregivers (link). This can be an option for more affordable home care for a senior. Make sure to validate all certifications and qualifications since there is no agency doing this.
If a family member is performing the in-home care, then the price will most likely be nearly zero in terms of paying the family member to perform the care services. However, expect to spend money on training, medical equipment, and other pertinent costs. Additionally, being a primary full-time caregiver for a loved one is physically exhausting and emotionally draining.
Based on the 2020 study by Genworth1, in-home health care by an aide from an agency is about $100 per month more than homemaker services.
How to Estimate In-home Care Costs
It is difficult to categorically estimate in-home care costs because of the variables involved. However, with some research, it is possible to determine a ballpark area of costs.
Determine Type of Care
First, determine the type of care that is needed. It will depend on the individual’s needs. For this example, in-home care with an aide will be used.
The average price for in-home care with an external aide from an agency is about $21 per hour. Independent in-home care, or private in-home care, on average costs about 20 percent less than agency prices.
Identify Providers for Each Type of Care
Next, find the various providers in your area with this service. There are over 40,000 companies in the US that offer in-home care options. Doing the research online or through phone calls to determine which service is right for each individual will help make a good decision.
If you are looking at private individuals, make sure they have the proper credentials for the care needed – for example, if nursing care is needed, make sure a candidate is a registered nurse.
Research Costs for Each Care Type/Provider
Then, research the costs for each type of care to determine which is best for your situation.
Total the Costs for All Required Care
Lastly, total the costs for all required care based on the research of statistics and estimate how much it will cost per week, month or year. There are guidelines available on the internet as a template to determine what can be expected.
In-home Care Costs by State
As with anything, location has a lot to do with the cost of home care and availability of home health services. States with a higher cost of living tend to skew more expensive for in-home care as well.
Based on data from Genworth’s cost of care survey1, the most expensive state for in-home senior care is Minnesota with a rate of $6,292 (or $207 per day). The top five most expensive states are:
- Minnesota – $6,292 per month
- Washington – $6,031 per month
- Rhode Island – $5,911 per month
- Hawaii – $5,720 per month
- Idaho – $5,720 per month
On the other hand, Louisiana is the least expensive state for in-home care from a home-health aide at $3,241 per month (or $107 per day). The top five least expensive states for in-home care are:
- Louisiana – $3,241 per month
- Alabama – $3,432 per month
- Mississippi – $3,527 per month
- West Virginia – $3,527 per month
- Arkansas – $3,813 per month
These are only averages used to give a general idea of what to expect when determining the in-home cost of long-term care. Pricing may vary based on location, demand, and availability of providers. Additionally, if the senior has a private insurance, long term care insurance policy or qualifies for Medicaid, they may be able to pay less than the rates above. Additionally, medicare coverage includes some health based in-home care, but will not cover 24/7 care or companion / home-aide care.
How to Choose an In-home Care Provider
When choosing an in-home care provider, thorough research is key. Helping a loved one get the right in-home care is essential in ensuring good quality of life for them.
Crunch the numbers to be sure it is an affordable venture for the individual. Choosing an in-home care provider is not a small feat, so being well versed in all it entails is crucial.
Based on the needs of the senior, it will be a clear choice on the type of in-home care that is necessary. Deciding whether or not to use an agency is a personal choice that can only be determined by each individual.
How Much Does 24/7 In-home Care Cost?
Many home care agencies charge clients by the hour, but for 24/7 care, they may offer different pay structures. Live-in caretakers receive room and board. These caretakers also need hourly pay. The average cost of 24/7 in-home care can be up to $12,000.
Does Medicare Cover In-home Care?
Some Medicare plans do cover some of the cost of in-home care. Not all plans are created equal, and it is up to the individual to determine if they qualify for support from Medicare.
Medicare parts A and B can be used to cover the cost of some in-home care.
Related: Does Medicare Cover Home Health Care
Do Veterans’ Benefits Cover In-home Care?
The VA offers various aid programs that can cover the costs of in-home care. Again, research to be sure that the individual’s plan meets the necessary pension requirements.
Is Home Care Cheaper Than a Nursing Home?
Overall, yes. Home care is cheaper than a nursing home. More on the cost of home care vs nursing homes.
- 1 https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html