Trying to find the best affordable senior care for an aging parent or friend can be stressful. Not only do you have to find a great caretaker with a flexible schedule, you have to figure out how to pay for it. And while In-Home Care Nearby might seem less expensive overall than the exorbitant month-to-month costs of some nursing homes and assisted living facilities, it can easily add up. In most states, the hourly cost of an experienced in-home caretaker ranges from about $16- $28. If you’re looking for a licensed nurse to help with in-home services, you could be looking at an even higher cost. Whether you’ve been planning ahead or are just starting to strategize now, here are a few ways to make the cost of in-home care a bit more manageable.
Check Medicaid and Medicare Benefits
In many cases, Medicare and Medicaid will cover in-home care. Often enough, they’ll only cover short-term care, which will limit the amount of time you can have services covered, or they’ll cover only very specific health-related services. Other types of aid deemed ‘personal care,’ such as help with washing, dressing, and cooking, are not covered. Medicare won’t cover a full-time live-in aide for senior care, but it’s worth looking into what is covered before you decide on an arrangement with your in-home caretaker. It’s also a good idea to look into PACE, or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. If your loved one qualifies, they could be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid-covered full-time at-home care. If you can get a certification from a doctor that they need care and you’re living in a PACE service area, you’ll more than likely be able to get coverage. Even if long-term in-home care isn’t in the cards, Medicare and Medicaid (as well as Medigap, for original Medicare enrollees) cover a range of services through Home and Community-Based Services, or HCBS. Through this waiver program, your senior can access day services, meal programs, and specialized medical care outside the home, as well as home aids and nursing.
Buy Insurance Early
For those who have been planning ahead, purchasing life insurance or long-term care insurance can be a huge help with in-home care costs later on. The catch is buying this type of insurance is best if a senior is in their mid-to-late- 50s. That means that it’s not the best option for those who are looking for help now. Still, if you’re looking into long-term care options for your parent, it’s worth it to compare long-term care insurance plans to see if it will help with the immediate costs. There are also a number of State Health Assurance Assistance programs that can help subsidize your monthly payments.
Look into Veteran Benefits
If your senior has veteran status or disability benefits, there are a number of government-funded assistance programs that they could qualify for. Many vets receive aid for in-home care whether or not it’s related to health concerns. If you’re in a qualifying state, your senior could be eligible for round the clock in-home care at a vastly reduced price. Contact the Department of Veterans Affairs to learn about qualifying programs.
Reverse Mortgages and Bridge Loans
If you’re not having any luck with government-funded programs or support, there are a few options that can help you shoulder the cost of in-home care much more easily. Much in the same way homeowners can apply for loans or take out a second mortgage, a reverse mortgage gives you the freedom to borrow cash based on the current for-sale value of your home. Instead of a normal loan, however, the length of a reverse mortgage is based on the number of years your loved one is likely to live out. After that time, you’ll need to repay the loan with interest. If you don’t have a ton of debt, and if your senior is over 62 years old, you could qualify for a reverse mortgage to cover all costs related to their long-term care needs. Another option is to take out a bridge loan in order to cover the cost until you find a more stable solution.
Sign a Sibling Agreement
For adult caretakers who have siblings, asking your brothers and sisters to help out with the cost can feel like an imposition, no matter how close you are. However, by signing a sibling agreement, you’re creating a legal commitment to shoulder the cost of ongoing in-home care for your parent. The agreement can be negotiated completely on your own terms, and you can figure out a payback plan for the future in your contract as well.