There is no way around it. Senior care is costly. No matter what service your loved one requires, the truth is that it will likely cost more than you are expecting. The odds are 1 in 5 that your loved one will have over $25,000 in out of pocket long term care costs. And that is just the costs that are recorded. The AARP conducted a study that determined family caregivers provided care that totaled an estimated $470 Billion in 2013, and that total has only risen since then. Those statistics can be overwhelming to someone who is just beginning to provide care to an aging loved one. Rest assured, there are ways that you can provide your loved one with affordable home care. Continue reading to learn about an affordable care plan for seniors.
Know What You Need: Medical Home Care vs. Non-Medical Home Care
Affordable home care for your loved one always begins with an assessment of their needs. This assessment will determine the level of care that your aging loved one needs. Medical Home Care is provided by a licensed professional such as a registered nurse, licensed professional nurse, or a skilled therapist. Non-Medical Home Care, however, is provided by an aide who does not carry a specific license and cannot carryout medical tasks. The tasks you can expect to be performed by each service are as follows:
Medical Home Care
- Tube Feedings
- Catheter Changes
- Wound Care
- Skilled Therapy (Speech, Physical & Occupational)
- Medication Administration
- Professional Observation & Assessment
- Care Plan Development & Management
Non-Medical Home Care
- Groceries & Errands
- Meal Preparation
- Medication Reminders
- Bathing & Toileting
Medical Home Care cost substantially more than Non-Medical Home Care. To better understand the care your loved one needs, you can informally administer an assessment yourself. Before beginning any care, it is always wise to ask for guidance from your loved one’s personal care physician.
Know What Programs Your Loved One Qualifies For
There are many programs available to help provide affordable home care for aging people in the United States. Your loved one might be eligible for several programs that you did not know exist. Here are a few of the biggest organization available to assist aging people in the United States:
If your loved one is a veteran or the spouse of a veteran, they likely are entitled to benefits that will help them stay independent as they age. Currently there are two major programs that aid aging veterans and their spouses:
The Aide & Attendance Program
This program is intended for aging veterans who need the assistance of another person or are housebound. These benefits are available on top of existing monthly pensions provided by the Veterans Association. Eligible veterans can receive over $20,000 annually to assist with the cost of care.
Home Maker Program
The Veteran’s Association provides eligible veterans with Non-Medical Home Care as a part of their VHS Standard Medical Benefits Package. The Veteran’s Association partners with licensed Home Care Agencies to provide affordable home care to veterans who have a proven clinical need for service. If you are interested in this service, contact your local VA Medical Center or Clinic to get an assessment.
As of 2017 all 50 States in the U.S.A. offer at least one program funded by Medicaid that provides in home assistance to seniors. Medicaid benefits for older adults vary from state to state. These services can help to fund both Medical and Non-Medical Home Care as well as select pieces of durable medical equipment and supplies. As a rule of thumb for your loved one to qualify for Medicaid assistance they need to have a monthly income less than $2,205 / month and have less than $2,000 in countable assets. This, of course varies state to state.
If your loved one needs short term skilled nursing care or specialized therapy, Medicare Benefits will likely cover the cost. Medicare is very specific and limited in the care that it will cover. For instance, Medicare will not cover any Non-Medical Home Care, nor will it cover 24 hour home care. If you are planning for long term care, Medicare will only be able to assist your loved one initially.
Diagnosis Specific Foundations & Grants
There are many programs available that aid families who need financial assistance coping with the cost of care. Depending on your loved one’s specific medical needs, they might be applicable for assistance through a foundation or grant program.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
If your loved one is suffering with Multiple Sclerosis, the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation offers a grant to help with the cost of homecare. Click here to see if your loved one qualifies.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
The ALS Association has local chapters located throughout the United States to help affected people cope with their diagnosis. The services provided by each chapter vary, but many do offer grants to assist with more affordable home care services. Click here to find your local chapter and view their offered services.
Affordable Home care is vital for people suffering with Alzheimer’s Disease. Fortunately, Hilarity for Charity offers a grant to help families receive affordable home care. They have awarded over 211,000 hours of care to families a need since their founding. Check to see if you qualify for their grant here.
There are programs available for a wide variety of diagnoses beyond those listed. If your loved one is impacted by an illness that is not listed, you can search for grants specific to their needs. A little research can go a long way in helping to find affordable home care.
Know If You Need Independent Caregivers or Agency Caregivers
When your loved one exceeds the income limits that are required to qualify for Medicaid Benefits, you should consider hiring an Independent caregiver. Independent caregivers typically charge half as much as traditional home care agencies for the same services. This is because independent caregivers do not need to cover the same overhead cost that home care agencies do. However, there are differences in the way that home care agencies operate as compared to an independent caregiver. For example, agency caregivers are often insured and bonded, which is not a requirement for independent caregivers.
Know How Much Support Your Family Can Provide
Not all home care needs to be provided professionally. While professionals can offer their expertise, there are many tasks you and your family can easily assist with. If your family care team consists of 4 people you can divide the work. Consider, agencies charge over $25 for an hour of Non-Medical Home Care. If you can each cover 5 hours of care a week, you can cut out $26,000 from your professional home care budget. Not to mention, this will provide you a way to have some valuable one on one time with your aging loved one.
Utilize Adult Day Care
You can use an adult day care service to supplement the cost of in home care. Your loved one will receive simulation through activities and companionship with other seniors and staff. Additionally, your loved one will receive a meal and a snack. Adult day cares typically operate between 7:00am – 6:00pm Monday through Friday. Adult day care centers are an excellent idea for family care teams who work 9:00-5:00 and cannot supervise their aging loved one during the workday.
Know Your Budget and Have a Financial Plan
It can be easy to underestimate the cost of care when you first begin to plan. The cost of the care that your aging loved one needs will quickly add up as a result. Know exactly how much you have to spend on services for home care. To have a better idea of what you have and what programs are available to assist your loved one, collaborate with a financial planner. They can help you find the best solution for more affordable home care. To find a financial planner in your loved one’s area search The Financial Planning Association’s free Financial Planner Locator.
If you have any questions or concerns about our affordable Pittsburgh care plan for seniors, contact us today. We are happy to help in any way we can!