In the past couple of years, finding affordable home health care for seniors has become increasingly more challenging. One reason is that the cost of health care, in general, has gone up considerably, mainly as there is now a large aging population. According to some estimates, we have more seniors living in the US today than we ever did in the past, putting a strain on a home health care system that was already fragile. So, demand is generally higher than supply in most cities across the US.
However, when caring for a loved one becomes too complex for family members, that’s when assisted living is usually the next step. Even though the goal is safety and comfort for seniors, sometimes the price and costs involved with sending a senior to a retirement home or nursing home care may not always be practical. That’s where finding options for affordable home health care comes in.
Fortunately, there are ways to find affordable home health care for seniors. It is important to take some time out to shortlist what is available and then figure out the best option based on your budget, resources, and the senior’s needs.
Hire a Private Home Healthcare Provider
One of the things that most people do is to contact a company for long-term care. Sure, agencies are the easiest place to find a home healthcare provider with experience. Plus, you always have someone to call when there is trouble or when you want the current health care provider replaced. However, agencies are understandably expensive with higher per-hour rates.
When you hire a caregiver on your own, it might be a little risky, but it also costs up to 30% percent less than hiring one through an agency. That said, this method isn’t going to be for everyone. If you don’t have the time to do a background check and check the home health care provider’s credentials, then an agency is usually the best bet.
The credits for agencies: they handle things like bonding, background checks, training, taxes, insurance, and having a backup caregiver if the one you’re assigned does not turn up one day. When you hire a person privately, it’s your job to do everything an agency would otherwise be responsible for handling.
Use Technology for Companionship and Active Monitoring
It is essential to start by making it very clear that nothing can take the place of having someone in person or a caregiver in person. However, technology can significantly reduce the number of hours that the professional home caregiver has to be present. Since home caregivers are paid hourly rates, reducing the number of hours of their service will help to reduce costs.
Technology like a medical alert system and monitoring system can help make sure that seniors are safe and that they are taking their medications on time. Video chats and follow-ups by family members can ensure that seniors are comfortable and safe at their own homes. Also, the use of online shopping can significantly reduce a senior’s reliance on having to drive down the local grocery store each day or every week.
Shop Around for A Home Care Agency You Can Afford
When you are shopping for a home caregiver, either an agency or an individual provider, it pays to shop around instead of going for the first option available. To find an affordable service, you’ll need to look beyond just what’s being advertised. Many services don’t advertise as much, and that saving is passed on to you in the form of a cheaper service. However, you’ll need to find them, and that can often also mean asking friends and family for a recommendation.
If it’s an agency, start by scouring through the yellow pages to get hourly quotes for home caregivers. Usually, the agency should give you a pretty good ballpark figure, which helps you shortlist your city’s cheapest services. You can then get more specific and ask the agency what they will charge for ‘X’ number of hours a week and then compare that to other agencies to find the lowest priced one.
Leverage the Life Insurance Policy
Now, if your parents or the senior in question has a life insurance policy for which they have been paying for over ten years with their insurance company, then maybe borrow from the policy. Borrowing from the policy can be tricky, and it depends on what type of life insurance policy was purchased, to begin with, and when. Also, you need to understand that there will be less money when the senior passes away, so heirs will get less. In a way, depending on the family structure, everyone will have to agree on the outcome.
The money borrowed from the life insurance policy can help put the senior in an assisted living facility or hire round-the-clock home care. Either way, it’s an excellent way to lower the costs associated with getting professional home care.
Substitute with Low Cost or Free Respite Care
We already established that home caregivers charge by the hour and can be expensive. Respite care, on the other hand, is often free or relatively cheaper because it is provided by a non-profit organization. However, the senior in question needs to qualify for it.
By reducing the number of hours of professional home caregiving, it is possible to save quite a bit of money. However, the remainder of the hours can be substituted with, let’s say, 10 hours of respite care, which translates to saving on 10 hours of professional caregiving. That said, this approach can be slightly risky since respite caregivers aren’t the most well trained or have lots of experience. What respite care offers is a watchful pair of eyes and provides a condition of companionship for the senior.
Final Thoughts on Home Health Care Options
Affordable home healthcare is a relative term and so finding what’s affordable for you might take a bit of work. However, the most important thing to start with is understanding your budget. Ensure you know exactly how much you can afford to pay for a home caregiver, which will help you find the best service accordingly.
While the tips above will help you reduce what you pay for home caregiving, it is crucial never to overlook quality or enrolling in a quality program. Depending on what their condition of health might be, seniors will often require the watchful eye and the skillful hands of a professional healthcare provider. If the senior in question is recovering from a crippling illness or is living with Alzheimer’s, then professional care is going to be imperative. Also, family members can combine resources and pitch in to reduce the number of hours a professional will need to stick around, which also reduces the cost of hiring a professional.
We can help with guidance through this difficult process. Call us to chat with one of our team members for a free consultation.