In home care for the elderly is what many families and seniors prefer, allowing the elderly to age at home. However due to the expense involved in paying visiting nurses, nurses aides, and other home health services, at home healthcare can be too expensive for a senior’s family to afford out of pocket. With the average live span of an elderly person being well into the 80’s it is not surprising that the majority of the elderly would require some sort of in home care or visiting nurse services in their lifetime. Planning is essential to ensure that seniors have saved enough during working years to provide for these elder care expenses when they are living on a fixed income. However many of the elderly simply cannot afford to pay the total costs of in home care out of pocket, so what other options are there.
Medicare in Home Care
Medicare is the most common way the elderly can pay for home health services while recovering from short term illness or injury. Medicare will cover the following senior care services as long as they are medically necessary:
- Visiting nurse service
- Nursing aid services
- Physical therapy, speech-language therapy, and occupational therapy
Medicaid in Home Care
Medicaid is a the state run insurance program for elderly with low incomes and/ or have used up all their savings and assets in paying for home health services. Medicaid will cover for in home care for the elderly that qualify for the Medicaid program, but the requirements for qualification vary by state.
There is also a Medicare covered program called PACE that may be able to assist in paying for all necessary home care for the elderly that normally would be living in a nursing home.
Long Term Care Insurance for In Home Care
Long term care insurance will cover almost all in home care services. It is an optional insurance purchased by a senior. The costs of long term care insurance will increase if the senior purchased the policy closer to retirement. Long term care insurance covers the in home care services not covered by Medicare or other medical insurance policies. This insurance protects the senior’s assets from being “spent down” until they are poor enough to qualify for Medicaid.
Veterans Affairs Coverage for Home Health Services
The Department of Veterans Affairs will cover home health services for veterans of active military service. This benefit is available to all veterans not just those injured in combat. They can provide necessary home health services to members such as visiting nurses, respite care and even some non medical in home services directly through the VA or contracted out to other providers.
Eldercare- Community Programs and Organizations
Community programs and non-profit organizations are able to provide eldercare assistance and services with a variety of in home care assistance. From volunteer organizations like Meals on Wheels to the National Alzheimer’s Foundation who maybe able to provide grants to family care givers to provide respite care, many community resources can assist families in providing eldercare. Read some more of our Alzheimer's resources to learn more about available grants and other services and resources they can provide for family caretakers of Alzheimer’s patients.
Most communities have resource offices for the elderly and their families to help locate Eldercare resources. To find an office in your community please visit the Department of Health and Human Services Eldercare website, or look in the blue pages of a local phone book for telephone numbers of local offices that deal with the aging community and services.