Choosing a home care assistant for yourself or your loved one is a major consideration. The decision impacts the overall quality of life and therefore requires research and detailed conversations.
Medicare covers some home health care services for seniors but not all. Understanding what senior in-home care services your Medicare and/or private insurance pays for helps you make informed logical decisions.
The ability to care for the elderly in their own homes requires specialized education and training. Resources are available through organizations such as the American Association for Retired Persons (AARP) and local hospitals to help find the best care available for your needs.
Whether the choice is for you or a loved one, the best information possible is needed before hiring any home healthcare worker. Read ahead for valuable tips and guidance on how to choose a home care worker for yourself or your loved one today.
Understanding Home Care Services for Elderly People Today
The job of a home care assistant is challenging on multiple levels. Most elderly people neither ask nor want to ask for much assistance. Many need it, however, and one of the challenges involves navigating between discernment and presumption.
Seniors feel what most humans of any adult age feel – a desire to live as they did during their best days. Seniors also want to receive the type and quality of care they deserve without sacrificing their rights to contribute to decisions in their own homes.
Experienced senior career caregivers are trained to recognize various stages of caregiving needs and handle them with professional integrity. Some seniors require assistance getting dressed or bathing. Some maintain more independence but still need assistance carrying groceries and going up/down steps. Others need help taking the right medicines and eating proper diets. Many seniors need a combination of these caregiving services to varying degrees.
The best home healthcare providers allow seniors to maintain their dignity, while also helping them whenever needed. An understanding is developed between a caregiver and senior, as well as the caregiver and applicable family members. This understanding includes trust between all parties as well. Trust and communication are essential in all healthy relationships. Trust is absolutely vital to relationships established between a senior health care provider and the elderly for whom they are responsible. Finally, despite their presence in your home or the home of your loved one(s), a senior caretaker must find a way to respect all needs for privacy and allow a sense of normalcy to pervade.
Comparing Senior Home Care with Assisted Living Services
Many different types of care services for the elderly are available today. Senior citizens and their family members sometimes confuse one with the other or misunderstand the nature of each service. Moments also exist where a choice between one type of care or another must be made. Assisted living and home-based senior health care are comparable.
The primary difference between the two is home healthcare allows seniors to continue living in their own homes, whereas assisted living services do not. Another difference between assisted living and home care for seniors is the way they are covered (or not) by most insurance plans. Long-term care services for the elderly only receive limited coverage under basic private insurance plans and Medicare.
Certain aspects of home healthcare and assisted living services are viewed differently by insurance providers and your exact coverage limitations must be reviewed thoroughly before you make care-based decisions.
Assisted living facilities provide services 24/7, while home healthcare services are only available when the caregiver is on duty. Live-in healthcare providers are available for certain services, however. Hospice care is dedicated to seniors with terminal illnesses or irrecoverable disabilities. Home hospice care is available as well, depending on the severity of the situation, insurance coverage and family preferences.
Senior Home Care Assistance and COVID-19
Circumstances in 2021 demand the highest safety precautions to be taken to protect seniors from COVID-19 and other serious illnesses. The assistance home care workers provide is invaluable to the quality of life the elderly have during their later years.
If a home care worker contracts COVID-19, however, the life of their elderly patient is put at risk. It is vital to request any service you hire to provide proof of negative COVID-19 test results for any caregiver entering your home. This requires the service to commit to ongoing testing.
Restrictions began lifting in the spring of 2021 and some organizations stopped their testing mandates. Then the delta variant started taking its toll worldwide again during early summer. Therefore, it is important to ask about the COVID-19 and other health/safety-related policies prior to committing to any service for the foreseeable future.
Does Medicare Cover Senior Health Care Services at Home?
Medicare is the government-supplemented health insurance plan for people ages sixty-five and older. People of this age are automatically qualified for this plan but only certain types of home care assistance services are covered under its policies.
Medicare Part A covers limited qualifying home health care services. An applicable physician or specialist is required to create a plan, which details the medical necessity for home healthcare. The plan must then be approved according to strict Medicare underwriting guidelines. If approved, however, all relevant expenses pursuant to the plan are paid for by Medicare.
Medicare Part C, also referred to as Medicare Advantage), covers home-based services for seniors in exchange for an additional paid premium. Medicaid also covers some home care services for elderly people. Medicaid policies are different around the U.S., therefore research into specific coverage terms in your state is necessary.
Home Care for Elderly Persons – Average Costs
The price to care for the elderly in their own homes varies with each service and U.S. state. The average cost is approximately $9,034/mo (according to the 2021 Cost of Care Survey by Genworth) but expenses range lower or higher based on a wide variety of needs and service types.
Multiple options to help pay for senior home healthcare are available in addition to Medicare/Medicaid. LongTermCare.gov provides resources to various insurance providers and options for financial assistance/grants. Purchasing a private long-term-care health plan or hybrid life insurance policy is also a viable option today.
Find Senior In-Home Care Services Near You
Once you know the type of care you or your loved one needs you must locate the best quality of assistance home care services make available near you. Your local Social Security office has information on what your Medicare plan covers. Utilize online resources to find senior in-home care services in your area, such as:
- Health Insurance Marketplace.