Is Home Care Right For You?
AARP data shows that 90% of adults 65 and older want to remain in their homes for the long term. Home care is often a popular choice because it allows older adults to age in a place they feel comfortable and safe, while receiving the support they need.Our experts are here to answer your questions about home care.
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With more than 25 years of experience, Home Instead is on a mission to expand the world’s capacity to care. Living by the mantra of “To us, it’s personal,” they are dedicated to providing high-quality, person-centered services – starting with a complimentary care consultation where they’ll work together to identify the areas of support needed to help you and/or your loved one thrive in your home.
The Home Instead network consists of more than 600 offices spanning across the United States.
HCN is a group of independent agencies that help older adults live well at home with companionship and expert care, including 24/7 support if an urgent situation arises. You’ll receive notes after every visit so your family stays up to date. Every prospective client receives a free consult to build their personalized care plan.
Available in: AZ, CA, FL, IL, MI, MO, NM, TX
* The Honor Care Network is a network of independently owned and operated home care businesses powered by Honor Technology, Inc. Honor Technology, Inc. is the parent company of Home Instead, Inc., which is the franchisor of independently owned and operated franchised businesses
We can help you choose the best solution for you.
What is Home Care?
Home Care—also called private duty senior care and in-home caregiving—is a service that regularly sends a professional caregiver to your home or care community to help you accomplish activities of daily living (ADLs). Services include:
- Medication reminders
- Meal prep & grocery shopping
- Personal care—dressing, grooming, bathing, toileting
- Light housekeeping
Home Care might be ideal for an older adult who’s recovering from an illness or surgery, such as a knee replacement, and doesn’t need medical assistance but requires help around the home with ADLs. Professional caregivers can also help an older adult start their day with assistance showering, preparing breakfast, and taking their medications. Help before bedtime, or even overnight, can provide an important safety net for those who are apprehensive at nighttime, or who have Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Beyond physical assistance, caregiving professionals also provide companionship and social support to help aging adults thrive at home.
Professional caregivers can generally be grouped into three different categories:
1. Agency employees:
Most agencies hire caregivers who are screened, trained, bonded, and insured. They are employees of the individual company for whom they work. As the agency pays these caregivers, it also typically handles all payroll-related taxes and other employment obligations such as obtaining workers’ compensation and liability coverage, and addressing performance issues. If a caregiver cannot make a previously scheduled visit, the agency can send another vetted caregiver to help cover the visit.
2. Independent contractors with a registry:
Most registries usually recruit and screen caregivers, but families are responsible for hiring, scheduling, handling performance issues, training, and paying/reporting applicable taxes. Families may assume risk if the independent contractor is not covered by workers’ compensation, liability, and bond insurance.
3. Independent caregivers:
These caregivers are usually responsible for marketing themselves and finding their own clients. They might provide a criminal background check and reference checks, but families are responsible for hiring, scheduling, handling performance issues, training, and paying/reporting applicable taxes. Families may assume risk if the independent contractor is not covered by workers’ compensation, liability and bond insurance.
The majority of Home Care clients pay for their care out-of-pocket, but there are additional funding options available:
Traditional Medicare does not cover Home Care, but private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans may have additional coverage for individuals with disabilities and/or medical conditions that require them to need assistance performing personal care and housekeeping services. Check the individual MA plan for coverage.
Medicaid coverage varies by state, but generally provides some assistance for Home Care. Eligibility typically is based on two metrics. The first is the need for care, and the second is an income threshold. Click here for a compiled list of state-specific requirements for home care.
Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI)
Long-term care insurance policies can be written in a variety of ways to provide a wide range of benefits. Depending on your preference, these policies can be deluxe or frugal, covering all caregiver expenses for an unlimited amount of time or partial expenses for a limited period. Consult a trusted insurance broker prior to investing in a long-term care policy. It’s imperative to understand all aspects of a policy to best ensure it will be beneficial for you. Be sure to thoroughly understand the coverage provided by your specific LTCI policy before making a claim for home care services.
Many states participate in the Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership Program. Designed to encourage planning for long-term care, the Partnership Program allows individuals to retain more assets than would otherwise be allowed under state Medicaid eligibility requirements. As a result, policyholders are able to retain assets they would otherwise have to spend down prior to qualifying for Medicaid benefits.
Generally, individuals can participate in their state’s Partnership Program by owning a long-term care insurance policy that meets the requirements for the Partnership Program. Policies qualifying under the Partnership Program generally do not cost more than non-qualified policies with similar benefits.
Veterans Assistance (VA)
Veterans and surviving spouses may be eligible for a VA benefit called “Aid and Attendance” if you meet at least one of these requirements:
- You need another person to help you perform ADLs
- You have to stay in bed—or spend a large portion of the day in bed—because of illness
- You are a patient in a nursing home due to the loss of mental or physical abilities related to a disability
- Your eyesight is limited (even with glasses or contact lenses you have only 5/200 vision or less in both eyes; or concentric contraction of the visual field to 5 degrees or less)
Alternatively, you may be eligible for the VA “Housebound Benefit” if you get a VA pension and you spend most of your time in your home because of a permanent disability (a disability that doesn’t go away). Note that you can’t receive Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound benefits at the same time. To learn more, visit the VA website.
Home Equity / Reverse Mortgages
Another source of income that adults over 62 increasingly rely on is the reverse mortgage. A reverse mortgage is essentially a loan against your home that you typically do not have to pay back as long as you live in your home. With a reverse mortgage, you can turn the value of your home into cash without having to move or to repay a loan each month. These funds can then be used to pay for home care. It’s important to fully understand the terms of the reverse mortgage before initiating one.
If you have a life insurance policy, there are companies that offer insurance owners the option to sell their policies in exchange for a lump sum payment that’s greater than the cash surrender value. In the event that you’re looking for care and have a life insurance policy, life settlements may be an alternate option to fund your care. The policy is treated as an asset in the same way that a home, mutual fund, or other personal assets are treated. The life insurance policy is sold to an investor while you’re still alive. The selling price is typically considerably more than the cash surrender value of the policy, but far less than the policy’s face value. Depending on age, health, and other factors at the time of sale, you may receive a lump sum payment for the policy at half or less of the face value.
Life settlements provide quick access to assets, however be mindful that the investors buying the insurance policy stand to profit considerably on the policy’s proceeds. Due to the many complexities of life insurance settlements, consulting with a financial planner is imperative before making any decisions.
There are a lot of important considerations when looking into home care. It can be a difficult decision to invite a professional caregiver into your home. Talk to one of our experts if you have any questions.