How Much Does Home Health Care Cost?
An elderly Indian man at the retirement house

How Much Does Home Health Care Cost?

The overwhelming majority of seniors would rather live at home. This arrangement gives them a level of freedom and independence to which they have grown accustomed. An added advantage is keeping them within familiar surroundings, which is excellent for those seniors who are slowly losing their sight or might be suffering from degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. With all these advantages, many aging adults just cannot live all alone in their own homes. At least, not without help. That is why so many families choose to hire in-home care for their beloved seniors.

The Cost of In-Home Care

The cost of health care and in-home care will depend on the number of hours the designated care worker spends at the home. It also depended on the services needed as well as the supplies necessary to maintain an acceptable standard of living.

Every state has its own median cost of care and charges associated with in-home health care. A recent study showed the national average to around $4,000 per month. It also showed that the median monthly rate across the country stands at around $20 an hour.  There are some states that are more expensive than average while there are those states that charge well below the median hourly rate.

Calculating In-Home Care Cost

Regardless of the level of home care service you choose, you will receive an estimate based on the results of a comprehensive assessment of your individual needs by a licensed care worker or home care agency. Depending on the home care agency you choose, you may or may not be charged a non-refundable assessment fee.

Ways to Determine The Cost of In-Home Care

Hourly Rates: This is the most traditional method of determining just how much this will cost. Seniors who demonstrate a measure of independence in their activities of daily living may not need attention around the clock. It is common to find seniors who only need care workers for about a couple of hours each day. The cost will not be as high depending on the home care agency you select. Different home care agencies have an established minimum number of hours per day that one of their licensed caregivers can spend with a client. Generally, it is either 2 to 4 hours minimum. This is mostly for staffing purposes.

Daily Rates: This arrangement is given for seniors who need help, care, or monitoring around the clock. The rates are often calculated on a per day basis with allowances given for the time the caregiver takes off for their breaks and rests. The typical day rate for most home care agencies can range between $200 to $350 per day. This varies with the cost of living in your area as well as the amount of specialized care that each senior requires.

Overnight Rates: Overnight rates are different than daily rates in that you could choose to hire overnight help without necessarily choosing a daily option. Although not routinely calculated by the hour, overnight rates are less expensive as daily rates because of the fixed number of hours and activities associated with the service provided by each caregiver. Overnight clients are seniors who need assistance from a professional at night because they either get up too frequently to use the bathroom and need assistance with that or have degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s or dementia and could wander off. The care worker is primarily there to offer assistance and to ensure the senior’s safety through the night. This option is often chosen by seniors who have family members acting as the primary caregiver during the day. Since the family members need to sleep as well, there is always a care worker who takes over at night. The rates are fairly affordable with some home care agencies charging between $120 and $200 for every 10–12-hour block of care.

What to Look for In An In-Home Care Service

Americans spend an average of $4,000 a month on home care services. It is imperative to find the right kind of service – one that addresses your specific needs and has your best interests at heart. Here are some of the things you should consider when you choose an in-home care service:

How long they have been in business and what is their history.  This will allow you to judge just how well they treat their clients and the kind of track record they have as far as care is concerned.

What qualifications and experience the staff has: In-home care service providers include trained and certified nurses and professionals who are specialized in care for the elderly. The credentials for each staff member will give you an indication of the overall level of care that this provides for their clients.

Whether or not the staff is insured and bonded: This is purely for your own protection. Ensure that every member of the staff is insured and bonded.

Whether or not they work with your doctor to develop a specific care plan: Depending on the level of care needed, it is important to have a doctor to help the care workers to establish and stick with a well-structured care plan. This is especially true if you need rehabilitative and medical care.

Do they give you references to check? The best care providers are proud of what they do and are more than happy to share these with you. By talking to an actual client, you will get a personal sense of how the home care agency treat’s its clients. This personal testimony is quite reassuring in most cases.

Of course, as mentioned earlier, you might need to do a little your research before you settle on a specific home care service provider. The problem is that the choices are often limited by the availability of agencies in their area. So take your time to find the best fit —at least one that comes to meeting as many of your particular needs if not all of them.