Paying for home care for your parent may present a challenge, and the cost will depend on the type and length of care needed.
Cost for Home Health Aides
You can hire a home health aide or homemaking service by the hour. The national average hourly rate for home health aides in 2012 was $21, while the homemaker average hourly rate was $20, according to a survey by MetLife. Costs vary by state, so costs in your location may be higher or lower. The National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information maintains a Costs in Your State page that provides state averages for home health care and other types of long-term care (nursing homes, adult day care, and so forth).
Other Home Care Costs
The hourly rate for nurses, therapists, and other trained medical professionals will typically be at least triple the rate of a home health aide. Live-in 24-hour care could cost anywhere from $150 to $350 a day. There may also be costs associated with medical equipment and medications.
Paying for Home Care
For home care expenses not covered by Medicare, you have a number of possible options:
Medicaid: If you parent is low-income and has few assets, your state’s Medicaid program may be an option. Contact your state’s program for more information.
Private Health Insurance: If your parent has private health insurance, it may provide some benefits, primarily for acute in-home skilled care.
Long-Term Care Insurance: This insurance covers many of the costs of home health care, including personal care services. Your parent already needs to have a policy in place to take advantage of it. For more information, see the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.
Veterans’ Administration: If your parent is a veteran of the armed forces and eligible for healthcare benefits through the Veterans’ Administration (VA), the VA’s home health care benefits include both skilled care services and personal/homemaker services. For more information, see the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
Community-Based Resources: Your community may provide programs such as Meals on Wheels or volunteer senior companions. Contact local and state social welfare or aging agencies to learn what’s available. The Older Americans Act authorized grants to states to support community programs that provide home care and long-term care services to seniors in their homes and in the community. For more information, see the Administration on Aging.
Your Parent’s Assets: If your parent owns property or other valuable assets, selling these assets can provide financing for home care costs. This area may be quite sensitive, so broach this possibility delicately with your parent.
Financing: Some home health agencies may offer financing options for paying for care. This can help you spread out the payments, but do be cautious in accumulating any debt to pay for care.
Most likely, you’ll draw from several resources, and perhaps your own money, to pay for care. Do contact local social service or aging resources to help you explore all the options.