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How Do I Afford Home Care for My Loved One?

homecare systemEllen knows that her father needs some additional help around the house, and while she’s happy to help however she can, but with a family of her own and full-time career as a school teacher time is often tight. In considering care options, Ellen and her father are both open to working with a home care agency to provide care, but are unsure of the cost and how they can afford in-home care on a limited budget.

The situation that Ellen and her father are in is not uncommon for family caregivers and senior loved ones who recognize a need for help, but fear an inability to afford it. When considering estimated cost of care, there are several factors that affect the price of elder care:

1. Level of Care: Does your loved one simply need companion services a few days each week, or more advanced care like hygiene assistance and help moving around the home? Different types of services may be priced differently within a home care agency. Typically, when you choose to work with an agency they can track the types of required care within their home care software or home care system and give you a set hourly or per-visit rate at the start of care so that you can plan accordingly.

2. Frequency of Care: How often a senior needs can greatly impact the price of home care. Live-in shifts, for example, will add up to more than care that is scheduled for short hourly blocks as needed. With a home care software or home care system, such as ClearCare Online, agencies can help you schedule care as needed and view caregiver availability at a glance within their home care system. Note that using home care as needed, and filling in with help from other loved ones can help reduce overall home care costs.

3. Planning Ahead: Some home care agencies may charge more for on-call, holiday or short notice services. Thus, planning ahead for home care can produce some cost savings. However, in emergency situations a home care agency using a home care software or home care system to manage scheduling can often be a life saver for time-strapped family caregivers.

Paying for Care:
Figuring out how the cost of home care factors into an elder care budget can be difficult. It’s important when interviewing home care agencies to talk about cost up front, and ask for rates based on hourly, per-visit and live-in services so that you have a clear picture of options and pricing.

The best agencies will also be able to explain to you exactly how their billing process works. With technology like a home care software or home care system through ClearCare Online, agencies can also help you bill to third party payers like long term care insurance or an outside payer.

When it comes down to actual dollars and cents, while the vast majority of home care is “private pay,” or “out-of-pocket,” there are also options in paying through Long Term Care Insurance, Medicaid for low-income seniors and other assistance programs that vary by region. While home care can seem unaffordable at first glance, by looking into payment options such as those outlined here, scheduling care in coordination with help from family and friends and working with an agency using a home care software or home care system to provide high value services, aging in place can be safe and affordable on a variety of budgets.

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