In Home Senior Care Services
The Benefits of In-Home Care
When people think of long term care, in-home care is often the first type of care that comes to mind. In-home care is exactly what it sounds like; seniors are able to remain in the comfort of their own home while still receiving the care they need. Caregivers are hired to assist seniors with their activities of daily living (ADLs), which includes things like bathing, grooming, dressing, transferring, toileting, and eating.
If you are using a caregiving agency to supply the care, the agency will send out a certified caregiver with the same license that employees at an assisted living community or residential care home would have. A caregiver will look after a patient’s health and hygiene, as well as provide transportation to seniors who do not have the ability to drive. For those patients that require medication management, in-home care agencies can generally provide that as well, by sending out a nurse to supervise the administration of prescriptions.
The Cost of In-Home Care
In-home care is not without its drawbacks. The first and most important drawback is cost. When seniors only need a few hours of care per week, many people are surprised to learn that caregiving companies will not come for less than a certain weekly minimum of hours. Abiding by a company’s minimum adds up quickly and often makes in-home care not worth the trouble if a person is not at a high enough level of care.
For seniors at a higher level of care, however, in-home care is a great option. There are two methods when it comes to paying for care. A person can either private pay, meaning pay out of pocket, or apply for state or federal benefits. When someone requires many hours of care per day, the cost adds up quickly and unless the senior has a very high fixed income or a vast amount of savings, the cost is simply unaffordable for many families without the use of benefits like the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS) or the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit. At Senior Planning, we help people apply for state and federal benefits to cover much of the cost.
In our experience, many people apply for benefits, use those benefits to cover in-home care, and remain happy at home for quite a long time until they begin to need 24/7 care. Because insurance won’t cover 24/7 care and there are no benefits to cover such a large amount of in-home care, we generally recommend assisted living or residential care once someone needs 24/7 care. Unless families can pay out of pocket to make up the difference between what a benefit will cover and what the total care costs, in-home care is not ideal for 24/7 care.
Getting Paid as a Family Caregiver
If a senior is absolutely unwilling to leave their home no matter how much care they need, it’s worth mentioning that ALTCS and/or the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit can be used to pay a family member or friend to provide care. Family members or friends can be paid up to 40 hours per week to provide care. For family members that live with their older loved ones, this can be a workaround to paying for 24/7 care since the family member can get paid during the day and then provide care at night for free, ensuring your loved one is taken care of day and night.
What A Caregiver Can Do For Me
Caregivers can provide a variety of services. It is important to understand the difference between medical and non-medical caregivers. If you don’t need medication management or help with medical equipment, a non-medical caregiver may be the best option since non-medical care is generally much less costly. If you need help around the house, cleaning, transportation to and from appointments, help running errands, getting groceries, and other tasks, non-medical caregiving would be a great fit.
For seniors who wish to receive medical care in their home, there are agencies that provide medical-specific services as well. For the most part, medical care is provided by agencies rather than private individuals because of the need for licensed medical professionals to supervise the care.
If you need help finding a caregiver in your area, we would be happy to help. Likewise, we would be happy to help you apply for ALTCS or the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit to fund in-home care. Many people who apply for benefits on their own are deemed ineligible due to mistakes they make on the applications or during the document submission process. Each benefit requires a lengthy application process and an immense amount of paperwork so call Senior Planning today to ensure your application makes it through, getting you the benefits you need for in-home care and beyond.
Is In-Home Care Right for Me?
For seniors who are still independent and don’t need very much care, in-home care might not be the best option because many caregiving agencies require a minimum amount of hours each week that must be paid for. Likewise, for seniors who need 24/7 care, in-home care may be too expensive to feasibly provide care for the long term. If, however, a senior needs help with their ADLs but can sleep through the night safely on their own, in-home care is a great option.
How to Pay for In-Home Care
In-home care can either be paid for out-of-pocket or by applying to state and federal benefits. For seniors that private pay, the costs can add up quickly so we always recommend applying for benefits when applicable.
Applying for Benefits to Pay for Care
To qualify for benefits, a senior must be at the right income level and also the right medical neediness level. Generally, seniors must need help with most of their activities of daily living to qualify medically and also must be on a fixed income without extensive assets. Both ALTCS and the VA Aid & Attendance Benefit have different financial eligibility requirements so contact us today to find out more.
Paying a Family Member as Caregiver
Many people are surprised to learn they can use benefit money to pay a family member or friend to provide the care they need. Since caregiving is already a full time job, why not get paid for it? Senior Planning can help you qualify to pay your relative or friend to be a caregiver.