Hourly Care for Your Senior: You Won’t Believe Why It’s the Cheapest Option

hourly senior caregiver
Hourly care for seniors may be less expensive than you imagine.
image source: Ulrich Joho

There can be no disputing that hourly care for your senior costs a substantial amount of money. Friends and family of the elderly are frequently floored by how much they’d need to spend in order to keep their loved ones under the right supervision. Often, they’re under the impression that nursing home care is the only option.

But when I was the Director of Social Services in a nursing home, people were actually relieved to find that institutionalization wasn’t the only option – even if their loved ones required quite a bit of care. Read on to find out why keeping a senior in their home with professional support can actually save money – for them and you!

Nursing home costs are on the rise

One reason that hourly care for your senior may be cheaper is because nursing home costs are on the rise while at-home care prices have remained relatively stable over the past five years. Many people receive quite a bit of sticker shock when they price a year’s stay at a nursing home: it can be more than $80,000!

Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care costs

It’s a misconception that Medicare, which most seniors have, pays for permanent residency in a long-term care (LTC) facility. Actually, Medicare only pays for specific, short-term situations, like when a person is recovering from a particular illness or injury. For example, if a senior needs physical therapy due to a stroke or a broken hip, Medicare covers the first twenty days of a sub-acute rehabilitation (SAR) stay at 100%. Nursing homes often have separate wings in their buildings for SAR and LTC patients.

When seniors receive Medicare, they assume it covers anything medically-related. Often, they have no trouble using it to pay for doctor’s visits, pharmacies, and medical equipment outside the home. While these things would still be covered by Medicare in a nursing home, the program doesn’t pay for what it considers custodial care. Custodial care is things like room and board, utilities (electricity, gas, etc.), and staff such as aides to help the senior perform ADL’s (Activities of Daily Living), like feeding and bathing.

Medicaid, on the other hand, does pay for in-home care, although your senior may have to meet certain income requirements. Medicare is an insurance program for the elderly and disabled, while Medicaid is meant to assist people who — permanently or temporarily — have low incomes. Medicaid will also pay for custodial care in a nursing home. But if your senior wants to stay where they are, and Medicaid will help pay for it, why not at least give them that option?

When it comes to home care versus long-term care costs, home care wins

The average rate for at-home, hourly care for your senior is roughly $19. If you have a home health aide stay with them for five hours a day, that’s less than $100. Now, compare it to the average daily rate for a nursing home: a whopping $185! And that’s for round-the-clock care, which your senior may not even need in the first place.

With a nursing home, you’re paying for RN’s (Registered Nurses), LPN’s (Licensed Professional Nurses), CNA’s (Certified Nursing Aides), and janitorial staff twenty-four hours a day. But if your loved only needs a visit for wound care twice a week, or a little medication monitoring, you’d pay for around-the-clock care that just isn’t necessary. The same goes for aides, whom you may not need to stay overnight, therefore saving you money.

Look into all the options, including hourly care for your senior

Before making any decisions about how to look after your elderly loved ones, be sure to explore all the options, including hourly care for seniors. Studies show that home care is 80% cheaper than a nursing home. Why not keep seniors in their preferred setting while saving money at the same time? It’s a win-win situation for everyone.

If you are unsure of how to best help an aging loved one, the trained and compassionate staff at the Institute on Aging is here to help you make that decision and gain the best in at-home senior care. Contact us to find out more.

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