Many aging adults are determined to remain in their homes for as long as possible. The challenge is this: As adults get older, living independently in a single-family home becomes more and more challenging over time and at-home care may become a necessity.
There are issues with home maintenance, taking medication, eating properly, and even getting dressed and performing other daily functions. If an aging adult who is struggling in one or more of these areas is going to stay in the home, he or she needs at-home care.
Daily at-home care represents a cost that can sometimes be prohibitive — unless an aging adult and his or her loved ones know where to look for and how to secure affordable at-home senior caregiving services. Here are 7 things to consider if you’re trying to find an affordable at-home senior caregiver.
1. Get a Head Start
The smartest approach to at-home senior caregiving is this: Plan for it well before you need it. For example, in your 50s or even in your 60s, you can afford and qualify for a long-term care insurance policy that includes a home-care benefit.
The median cost of at-home care is about $125 a day, which can be a burden to carry if you don’t have insurance or benefits that pay for it. So, if you’re most likely years away from needing at-home care, now is the perfect time to plan for it.
2. Let Family Fill Gaps
Of course, most people don’t plan for at-home care. There are other things to worry about and to pay for when you’re younger, and so few choose to get long-term care insurance with at-home care benefits.
What do you do when there’s no plan in place at the time of need? Keep in mind that the need for at-home senior caregiving emerges gradually in many cases. Yes, in some instances an injury or health event brings on the sudden need for at-home care, but most often it is a process that occurs over months or even years.
In the beginning, as the need for at-home care is just starting to emerge, let the family fill in the gaps. Consider setting a schedule for different family members to check on a loved one and provide specific support or assistance. This is a great way to keep costs down while the aging adult and his or her family members begin planning for more intensive at-home care services in the future.
3. Use Trusted Services
Where do you start when you need to bring in a professional? Do you just Google around for an at-home caregiver in your area? You can, but it’s best to start with trusted services that help you search for qualified professionals in your community.
For example, Eldercare.gov includes an at-home caregiver search function that connects you with qualified providers in your area.
4. Take Advantage of Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans Benefits
You never know what programs are available to an aging loved one. If and when at-home care is needed, start first with Medicare and Medicaid. Both programs, if the individual who needs care is eligible, offer some support.
Medicare, for example, offers limited home health services as long as they are “medically necessary.” Medicaid pays for at-home care and even assisted living and skilled nursing in some cases — it depends mostly on where you live and what your specific state offers.
Also, the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, better known as “PACE,” is a Medicare and Medicaid program designed to keep seniors out of nursing homes for as long as possible. Check to see if your aging loved one is eligible, which would mean at-home care benefits and more.
Finally, if your aging loved one is a veteran, look at programs made available through the Department of Veterans Affairs that assist with the cost of at-home care.
5. Search for Private-Pay Funds
It can be frustrating (and costly) when you find that an aging loved one does not qualify for at-home benefits or programs. In these cases, how do you plan for a private-pay provider?
Check any current group life insurance policies. Some of these policies include a cash benefit that can be used to pay for at-home care. In urgent situations, an aging adult and loved one may decide to take out a reverse mortgage or use home equity to pay for care.
6. Look at Community-Based Services
Don’t forget that communities are often a source of at-home services. Churches, synagogues, non-profits, senior centers, and other institutions may offer programs for meals, transportation, or simply companionship. While community-based services rarely offer a complete solution, they can help fill gaps when funds are tight and a family needs support and assistance.
7. Find the Right Individual
If you do need to go the private-pay route, you’ll want to find the right individual to care for your aging loved one. Nothing beats getting a recommendation from someone who’s been in a similar situation. And remember that you can often save money by going directly to a private caregiver or caregiving company rather than using an agency.
Ultimately, the best way to find affordable at-home care for an aging adult will likely include several of the strategies listed above.
Get the Best At-Home Care in Orange County
At Colonial Home Care Services, we are passionate about supporting aging adults as they seek to remain in their homes while living active lifestyles. We provide a range of affordable services to support seniors and families in Orange, Mission Viejo, and other areas throughout Los Angeles, CA, including everything from 1-hour bath visits to hourly care.
Get in touch today to learn more about affordable at-home care through Colonial Home Care Services.