The Real Costs of In-Home Care

Your 1+1 Team
July 2, 2020

We Look at the Various Cost Of In Home Care and Share Available Financial Assistance Options

At 1+1 Cares, we know that aging is a difficult and complicated transition for families. This is why we exist; since 2007, our mission has been to make quality care accessible and provide meaningful impact for both the people who need assistance and the families who love them.

In-home care for the elderly is an ever-increasing need. According to the Institute on Aging, 65% of older adults with long-term care needs to rely on friends and family to provide assistance; another third supplement this family care with paid assistance. This need is only expected to grow. In ten years, older adults are expected to reach 20 percent of the population.

In short, you’re not alone. 1+1 Cares is here to help you navigate all aspects of home care for your loved ones, including some of the more sensitive and stressful discussions around cost. In this post, we highlight some of the costs associated with in-home care, share a forecast of how these costs may change over time, and provide a few resources for available financial assistance.

What does in-home care cost?

For many families, the goal is to find qualified and caring help so that your loved ones can safely age at home. Connecting with the right caregiver is one thing, understanding and planning for how to pay for it can be an additional stressor at an already stressful moment. First, let’s identify some of the actual and perceived costs you may incur.

Actual Costs Of In Home Care

Please know that there is no single, one-size-fits-all answer to this question. If you’ve been struggling to identify a dollar figure, this is expected and normal. However, there are tools and comparisons to help you estimate the costs and formulate a general budget and plan.

The specific cost of senior in-home care will depend on where you live as well as the type and level of care you need. Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey is a helpful starting place. You can search for your geographic area to get a sense of current and future costs for in-home care, community and assisted living, and nursing home facilities. Genworth’s tool is based on a survey of more than 50,000 providers. Let’s use California as an example (though you can get more granular and search by city or zip code).

In 2019, the hourly median cost in California for a “homemaker” (who can help older people with basic household tasks) is $27.98; this is projected to grow to nearly $30 in 2021. While almost all home caregivers charge an hourly rate or, to a lesser extent, a daily rate, it can be eye-opening to think about how this adds up over the course of a year. Looking at the median yearly costs in California for a homemaker, this equates to over $64,000 in 2019. And that’s a lot of money.

in home care pricing

One thing to know is that metro areas or areas with a higher cost of living will have even higher rates. For example, according to the Genworth tool, the hourly median rate in Chico, California is about $24 compared to $33 in San Francisco. When you arrange for in-home care with one of the caregivers referred by 1 Plus 1 Cares, our costs are typically 30% less than competitors, many of whom charge $32 per hour for similar senior care services, even in lower-cost areas.

Also keep in mind that full-time, live-in facilities will need to cover their own operational and functional costs, like staffing, meals, and supplies. The higher costs of these facilities are often passed on to you in the form of higher rates and more money out of pocket.

Perceived Costs of In-home Care for Elderly Adults

Another important consideration are the costs that fall outside of facility or home-health fees. You will undoubtedly make sacrifices, giving up your own time to care for your loved ones. This could mean working less or not at all, which affects your own household income. You’ll also sacrifice personal time to arrange things like appointments and doctor visits and to run errands like grocery shopping or picking up prescriptions.

For many, the best — and most economical — solution is to arrange for in-home care with a caregiver referred by 1+1 Cares. Many of the perceived costs can be handled by caring, qualified experts leaving you more time to retain normalcy in your personal life and spend more time simply enjoying the company of your aging loved one.

Available Financial Assistance for your Family

You might depend on additional funding or aid to make quality in-home care a reality. A helpful way to think about your options is to consider if you want financial assistance or self-service options  (which may include reverse mortgages, life insurance policies, home care loans, and long-term care insurance). Here, we outline some of the most popular financial assistance options for each category (more information is available here)

  • Medicare: The key difference is between “Original Medicare” and Medicare Advantage. Original (or “traditional”) Medicare will not cover non-medical, home care aides. New last year, however, Medicare Advantage may offer supplemental benefits including prevention or care of an injury, and some in-home services, including personal care and meal delivery. Medicare Advantage is expected to roll out greater flexibility for these supplemental benefits in 2020, however, there remain many unknowns on its implementation.
  • Medicaid: May pay for non-medical home care but the rules are state-specific and eligibility differs geographically.  Generally, we have not seen a family make this work.
  • Veteran’s programs: May provide financial assistance for in-home care services for veterans, including pension benefits that can be applied toward such care.
  • State non-Medicaid programs: Many states offer “nursing home diversion programs” to help low-income seniors who are not eligible for Medicaid with in-home assistance.

Keep in mind that connecting with a qualified caregiver is not the best time to shop for unqualified bargains. While private individuals may offer lower rates, you may sacrifice protections such as background checks or caregivers who are unable to provide a replacement in the event they can’t help, on short notice.

We all know Craigslist can be a great source for purchasing niche items or connecting with service providers. So, too, can “friend-of-a-friend” connections. But these directories and referrals have low or no standards for verification and vetting or caregivers. Cost is one thing; finding qualified people to assist your loved one is equally if not more important.

To learn more or get started with our premier and personalized homecare referral services (even amidst the pandemic), please connect with us today.

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