The two most essential elements of the decision to care for a senior in a nursing home or to hire a caregiver are the level of care needed and cost. In Colorado, the average cost per hour to hire a non-medical caregiver is $21, and the cost to hire a medical caregiver is $25. This ranks Colorado 34th in the nation in home care affordability, adjusted for median per capita income by state.
In-Home Care Programs: State-Sponsored
Colorado does not directly subsidize in-home care for seniors, but it does offer the Old Age Pension (OAP) and the Home Care Allowance (HCA). The OAP is an income supplement for low-income seniors and the HCA is a part of that program. HCA funds go directly to pay for in-home “unskilled” (non-medical) care for seniors. In order to qualify for either of these programs, seniors must meet some severe restrictions: they cannot have assets worth over $2,000 in total, nor may they have a monthly income of over $700. Furthermore, they must be under 65 years of age. Very few seniors, therefore, will qualify for either OAP or HCA.
Federal Medicaid Program Options
One possibility to help pay for in-home senior care is to apply for the diversion of Medicaid funds. Medicaid is not intended to pay for non-medical care, but many states have programs to help use Medicaid funds to keep seniors out of nursing homes when in-home care is a viable and lower-cost option. These are federally funded, state-administered programs and thus, potential recipients must meet federal Medicaid guidelines such as income limits.
Colorado does offer the Home and Community-Based Services waiver (HCBS). Its function is to divert Medicaid funds that would normally be used to pay for nursing home services to pay for in-home caregivers instead. Single applicants are subject to the federal countable asset limit of $2,000 and the monthly income limit of $2,094.
Learn More About Home Care
Many seniors wind up in nursing homes not so much because they need constant care, but because insurance and/or federal and state aid programs don’t pay for non-medical care. Yet, for many seniors, in-home care is by far the superior option, both from the standpoint of the psychological well-being of the senior (who may understandably be reluctant to leave a familiar home), and from that of cost. Therefore, all options should be carefully explored and compared before making a senior care decision. Information regarding the benefits and challenges of in-home senior care is available on our website. Please investigate our website to learn about our free service and read the informative articles you will find there. The articles may provide you with the information you need to make the proper decision.