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About Caring For A Senior

CaringForASenior.com is committed to making in-home care accessible to all care seekers. We do this by providing informative articles and resources that can help you understand the options available to you in a time of need. And once you're ready to seek care assistance, we offer a directory of nearby care providers.

Cost of Home Care

The cost of senior home care varies from state to state.  The specific type of adult care will influence the cost of the home care, but on average the cost, in the United States, of home medical assistance is $21 per hour and $19 per hour for assisted living.

Medicare and Medicaid

After the age of 65 all U.S. citizens qualify for Medicare insurance. However, medicare does not cover the costs of long-term adult care, only short term care of 100 days.  And only after a patient has become ill or injured.  Even then, medicare will only subsidize programs such as meals on wheels programs, home healthcare, and companion/homemaker services (i.e. maids, sitters, housekeeping, home nursing etc etc etc...).  Seniors who make less than $16,335 (in the 48 Contiguous States, D.C., and Outlying Jurisdictions, $20,400 for Alaska and $18,810 for Hawaii) qualify for Medicaid due to low-income status.  Medicaid covers a much broader range of services than medicare, however Medicaid is a state program and coverage will vary by state.  Figuring out what adult care services will be covered by medicaid will need the involvement of a case coordinator, a doctor’s notes, and consent of the senior/main care giver. 

There are two categories of home care when it comes to medicaid:

  • The first being consumer-directed services, in which home healthcare services are requested and adult care givers are trained by the medicaid recipient(s). 
  • The second category covered by medicaid pertains to people who are disabled, but are still capable of independent living. 

Medicaid will generally cover both consumer-directed services and in home disabled care, but the medicaid recipients must meet with a medicaid caseworker in order to see if the requirements for medicaid eligability are met.  The rules for medicaid eligibility vary by state.

Comparison of Senior Care Costs

According to a 2011 cost of care survey by John Hancock the cost of senior in home care is less expensive than other health care options for seniors:

  • The 2011 average cost of a private nursing home room ($235 a day/$85,775 annually) has risen an average 3.5 percent per year
  • The 2011 average cost of a semi-private nursing home room ($207 a day/$75,555 annually) has risen 3.2 percent per year
  • The 2011 average cost for a month in an assisted living facility ($3,270 a month/$32,240 annually) has risen an average 3.4 percent per year
  • The 2011 average cost for a home health aide ($20 hourly/$37,440 annually) has risen an average 1.3 percent per year

Alternative Forms of Payment

For seniors or main care givers who have to pay for the rest of the senior home care not covered by medicare or medicaid or all care there are still alternative options of payment:

  • Long-term care insurance - A type of insurance that covers the costs of long-term adult care services
  • Reverse Mortgage - Allow senior homeowners with low mortgage balances to tap into their equity in order to pay for medical expenses.  The money from a reverse mortgage can be applied to a long-term adult care insurance plan.
  • VA Aid Attendance Pension Benefit - The Veterans Administration offers aid and attendance to wartime veterans with limited or no income who are over the age of 65.

Actual Cost of Home Care

The actual cost of long term adult care differentiates by the area, but, in general, in home adult care is less expensive than nursing home care.  However, in home medical adult care can still be expensive.  The average cost of in home medical adult care, when pertaining to a five-hour visit by a home health aide, is $95, and the average cost of adult care for fives hours a day, five days a week, for an entire year is $24,700. According to a study done by John Hancock Financial, the national average annual cost of adult care in the U.S. is $85,775 for a private nursing home room and $75,555 for a semi-private room in a nursing home. The average cost of home caregivers is $20 per hour.  To find out more specific costs, get in contact with an agency near you.