No one imagines living in a nursing home when they get older. While most assisted living operations are comfortable and staffed with competent professionals, it’s still depressing to imagine moving out of your home and into a facility.
But as we age, the likelihood of needing some form of daily medical care increases exponentially. If you want to stay in your home, or live with an elderly relative who does, you need to consider some home healthcare options.
Here are some of the best ways to age in place while still receiving the care you need.
A senior who’s not ready for institutionalized living might still get lonely being at home all day. That’s where adult day care centers come in, providing socialization and activities for seniors without the restrictions of an assisted living facility. Seniors can drive to these places on their own free will.
They’re usually open during traditional business hours, costing $70 a day on average. Day care is an affordable option for seniors who want to keep themselves active without doing too much legwork.
Some adult day care centers also provide medical assistance, but each place varies on how much care the person receives. They can be a good in-between option for elderly folks who need some care, but can manage transportation on their own.
A senior who only needs occasional assistance can benefit from a home health aide (HHA) or home care aid. Both are trained professionals who specialize in making house visits, but they provide different levels of care.
A home health aide has some medical training and can perform basic functions like administering medications, checking temperature and removing bandages. Visits can be scheduled for as little as one hour per day.
A home care aid doesn’t provide medical care, but can assist with feeding, bathing, using the toilet and more. Working adults living with elderly relatives often choose this service so their parent receives basic care and isn’t completely alone all day. A qualified home care aid can also transport the senior to doctors appointments, provide companionship, and assist in light housework.
Live-in Nurses or Caregivers
If your parent or relative needs constant supervision and wants to stay at home, their best option is a live-in nurse or caregiver. A live-in professional like a nurse or home health aide can provide most of the basic services available at an assisted living facility, while still allowing the senior to remain in their home.
The annual cost of a 20-hour a week home health aide is $21,840, which is about half the cost of assisted living.
How to Pay for It
Paying for in-home healthcare is a huge problem in the United States, especially as the Baby Boomers get older. Medicare doesn’t cover home care unless a doctor certifies that the person is homebound and needs special medical attention at home. Only home health agencies that are certified by Medicare are eligible.
If a senior requires help bathing, feeding or taking a short walk, but otherwise has no debilitating medical issues, Medicare probably won’t cover in-home care. Medicaid will sometimes cover those services, but a senior has to spend down almost all their assets to qualify.
Long-term care insurance will usually cover in-home care for help with medical issues, personal needs and rehab. Check the long-term policy to see when coverage kicks in and how much of it is covered.
Zina Kumok is a freelance writer and owner of www.consciouscoins.com.