It’s no secret that in-home care can be expensive. In fact, according to the National Council on Aging Care, the average cost of 24 hour in-home care is about $4,000 per month. Yet, considering everything going on, with the pandemic, and other health factors, Nursing Home and Assisted Care options seem to be much more risky options.
Plus, the reality is, in most cases, seniors would prefer to stay in their own home as they get older. Below are seven different and, in some cases, creative ways that you may be able to use to ensure that your aging loved ones can remain safe and sound in their own homes through their Golden Years.
- Out of Pocket: This may be the most straightforward and best option for those who have the savings or income to pay outright for senior care. Many seniors who still live in their home, or living in independent living, continue to work and use their income to pay for housing. Others have saved throughout their life for this, and are able to use savings to pay for housing through retirement. This could also include support from family members and others who want to see their loved one happy, healthy, and safe.
- Veteran’s Benefits: Eligible United States military veterans may be able to use their benefits to pay for long-term care. Veterans may be eligible through standard medical benefits for a health evaluation, adult day health care, respite care, and skilled in-home health care. Veterans may also be able to use disability pay and their veterans pension to fund long-term care. A quick two-minute questionnaire from https://www.veteranaid.org/ can help determine eligibility for the Aid & Attendance Allowance that may also pay for additional assistance.
- Medicare/Medicaid: Medicare can help pay for medical care for people over the age of 65, people with specific needs under the age of 65, and care for people of all ages who have end-stage renal disease. While Medicare does not typically cover long-term care costs, they may pay a percentage of costs for a shorter stay in a skilled nursing facility and hospice care if certain conditions are met.
Medicaid is a federal and state-run program that helps people with low income afford medical care. Once your state determines your eligibility, Medicaid can determine your eligibility for long-term care coverage. Medicaid may cover in-home health care as well personal care services and even long-term stays in senior communities. Eligibility and coverage varies depending on location and needs.
- Reverse Mortgage: Reverse mortgages were developed by the government specifically for the purpose of helping seniors (originally widows) stay in their homes until the end of their lives. With a reverse mortgage, seniors can use the value of the equity in their home to get cash now, either all at once or in monthly payments. But instead of borrowing a set sum, the loan balance increases over time. A reverse mortgage allows your loved one to stay in the home until they pass away, even if the loan balance exceeds the home’s value at that time, with the condition that the home must be sold to repay the loan balance.
Reverse mortgages do have limitations: Your loved one has to be 62 or older, and she has to own her home, either outright or with little debt left on the original loan. (The bank that holds the original loan must be paid back before payments are made on the reverse mortgage.) The bank decides on a value based on the home’s worth and also based on your loved one’s age, since that affects the length of time the payouts must cover.While a reverse mortgage may be the perfect solution to your in-home care dilemma, it also comes with strict rules regarding homeowners’ insurance, mortgage insurance, and home maintenance, making it easy to default. Choose a reputable mortgage broker or bank and read the entire contract carefully. (According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, reverse mortgage scams and foreclosures are on the rise, often because of high fees or clauses that make it easy to lose the home.)
- Life Insurance: There are a variety of ways that life insurance can help pay for long-term care. If your life insurance policy has a cash value, policy owners can access cash through withdrawals to pay for long-term care. The policy could also be sold to pay for care in what is called a “life settlement option”. A life settlement option can produce up to three times the amount of money as accessing cash through withdrawals. If the policy owner is terminally ill, the policy can be sold through what is known as a viatical settlement. In this option, proceeds from the sale of the policy are usually income tax-free.
- Limit the Schedule: While certain circumstances require 24/7 coverage, there are many scenarios where that coverage is not necessary. It may be possible that home care is less costly than relocating a loved one to a senior living facility. When a 10 hour caregiver shift or less can accommodate the needs of a loved one, home care may be more affordable than assisted living and nursing homes. Not to mention, a great benefit of in-home caregivers is their ability to give more individualized attention to seniors who are weak or recovering from an illness. Also, as another cost-saving option, are there friends and/or family members who can work together to provide coverage for part of the day, in order to limit the need for an in-home care provider? You may be able to limit in-home provider care to 4 or 5 days per week, several hours per day, which will limit the costs.
- Choose the Right Caregiver: Much like limiting the schedule, choosing the right caregiver can provide significant benefits to both your loved one and your wallet. For example, if your loved one needs help primarily with daily activities, like cooking, grocery shopping, banking, etc., during the day, paying for a provider whose specialty is that level of service, it will be less expensive than paying an RN to handle those types of chores, when medical care is their specialty. Simply put, make sure you match the caregiver skills with the needs of your loved one, at given times during the day/night.
It’s important to know what to look for when it comes to In-Home Care Services. Since Americans spend $4,000 per month, on average, on in-home care services, it is essential to find the right kind of service. One that meets your specific needs and has the best interests of you and your loved ones at heart.
Here are some of the things to consider when choosing in-home care service:
- How long they have been in service and what is their track record? This is one way to judge just how well they treat their clients and the reputation they have where care is concerned.
- What kind of qualifications and experience does the staff have? For the most part, in-home care service providers include trained and certified nurses and professionals who are specialized in care for the elderly. The credentials of every staff member will give you an indication of the level of care that the home care provides for their clients.
- Is the staff insured and bonded? This is purely for your own protection. Ensure that every member of the staff is both insured and bonded.
- Do they work with your loved-one’s doctor to develop a care plan for you? This is not always relevant, depending on the kind of care you need, but it is important to know they are willing to work your loved-ones doctor, to help the care workers to come up with a well-structured care plan, specific to their needs. This is especially true if rehabilitative and medical care is required.
- Can they give you references? The best care providers are proud of what they do and are more than happy to share that information with you. By talking to an actual client, you will get a personal feel of how the home care agency treat’s its clients. This personal testimony is quite reassuring in most cases.
We at Silver Companions are committed to helping you care for your aging family members, and helping you better balance your life between care and your other obligations and responsibilities. Contact us today for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, so we can help you objectively assess your needs, along with your budget, and help you find the solution that works best for you and your loved ones. Contact us today using this form, and put “No Cost Consultation” in the Subject line, so we can align you with one of our specialists to set up your call.