If you are looking into senior home care for yourself or a loved one, cost is typically a primary consideration. While home care can be more affordable than assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and other types of care options, the exact costs will depend on a variety of factors, including the health needs of the individual receiving care.
Another primary factor is the individual (or individuals) hired to provide this formal in-home care, with two primary types of professional in-home care — housekeeping and health.
Types of In-Home Care for Seniors
The broad area of home care refers to two specific types of services — home care and home healthcare.
Home care aides provide help with certain daily living tasks, such as housekeeping, shopping, cleaning, and preparing meals. They also can provide companionship for seniors, which is an important aspect of ensuring older adults not only can remain in their homes but that they can remain emotionally well while they age.
Home health aides, on the other hand, typically handle more personal duties, such as bathing and grooming, and they may provide certain health-related services like assisting with medications, wound care, and vital sign monitoring.
Average Cost of Home Health Care Nationally
Most home healthcare workers charge hourly rates, usually through a home health agency, though they may also be hired on a private, family-by-family basis. Agencies typically charge 20 percent to 30 percent more than individual caregivers, but reputable agencies conduct background checks of caregivers and may be better equipped to provide all types of care an individual requires.
Both types of in-home care have gotten more expensive over the years, with each of them averaging just under $1,000 for eight hours of work, or about $27-$28 per hour. As with any other type of senior care, costs vary not only by the services being provided but the needs of the person receiving care.
For example, it would be more affordable to hire someone to help with minor household chores three to five hours a week than to hire a caregiver to provide extensive medical services eight for several hours each day.
|Caregiver Role||National Hourly Average||National Daily Average / 8 hours||National Monthly Average / 22 days||National Annual Average / 250 days per year|
|Home Care Aide||$27||$214||$4,713||$53,560|
|Home Health Aide||$28||$222||$4,895||$55,650|
Home Care Costs By State
In-home care costs depend not only on the care being provided but on where the person lives. Because these costs are based on the wages of caregivers, they vary quite a bit from state to state. Costs are highest in Minnesota at just over $5,800 per month and lowest in Louisiana at about $3,100 per month.
|State||Home Care Median Hourly Rate||Home Care Daily Rate / 8 hours||Home Care Monthly Rate / 22 days|
|District of Columbia||$26||$208||$4,576|
How to Pay for Home Care for Seniors
There are a number of ways to pay for home care for seniors including private payment and governmental and/or local assistance options. Here are some common questions concerning paying for senior home care.
Does Medicare Cover Home Care Costs?
Medicare does not cover any type of non-medical care that is not ordered by a physician or care practitioner. This means that there is no Medicare coverage for those receiving care for ADL’s, but any care related to medical needs are covered. Home health aides, CNA’s, nurses and therapists are covered under Medicare. However, recipients must be declared homebound and have a doctor prescribe this type of care, which is typically limited compared to time spent by a home care aide.
Does Medicaid Cover Home Care Costs?
Medicaid is a state and government sponsored program designed to serve low income persons. Coverage differs drastically from Medicare, as Medicaid does cover non-medical in-home care in addition to medical services. When provided as in-home care, this Medicaid program is referred to as Home and Community Based Services, but there are often state specific waivers that beneficiaries must apply for and receive for maximum coverage.
Do Veteran’s Benefits Cover Home Health Care?
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) does provide certain coverages for home health care. In certain cases, the entire cost may be covered, while in other situations this organization helps recompense veterans in order to reduce their expenditures for home health care. These benefits will vary depending on which type of policies are in force: Improved Pension, Aid and Attendance and Homebound.
Self Payment Options
Of course, self payment is always an option for families in need of senior health care. Some options include:
- Life Insurance Policy Conversions
- Reverse Mortgages & HELOCs
- Long Term Care Insurance
- Home Care Loans
Is Home Heath Care Tax Deductible?
Expenses for home care aides and even home health aides is limited. Non-medical related expenses such as assistance with ADL’s is not generally tax deductible. However, those seeking nursing and medical related expenses might qualify for a tax deduction for declaring an additional independent (similar to declaring a child on taxes) or even dependency status. If the primary purpose of the in-home heath care is medically related, then there are tax claim options to accommodate those needs as well. Do note, that only medical expenses are deductible under the medical claim and are limited by law.