Navigating the endless options of Homecare agencies and aides can be tedious. In order to make sure that you're looking for the right solution, you first need to know what you're looking for! That's why we put together this simple and concise guide that will help answer some basic and frequent questions, like:
The difference between Medical and Personal Home Healthcare
The costs of Home Healthcare
Inexpensive alternative and supplemental solutions
1. Medical vs. Personal Care
The most basic thing to understand about Homecare is that the term actually refers to two very distinct services - Medical Homecare and Personal Care. Medical Homecare companies will send a licensed Nurse to your home who can actually perform medical tasks like dispensing medication and administering tests such as blood pressure, heart rate etc. This type of care is always more expensive than Personal Care since you're paying for a licensed medical practitioner to come to your home. Luckily, in many cases, Medicaid will pay for some or all costs associated with this level of care if they find there's a need for it.
In many cases, however, Medical care is too heavy handed for the customer. For older adults that may need some simple help around the house like bathing, moving around and light housekeeping, Personal Care is a great option. In this case, the professional coming to your house doesn't need a full medical or nursing degree, so the cost is significantly lower than Medical care. There are tons of options in almost every US city for Personal Care agencies so make sure you fully understand how to choose the right one before making any decisions.
2. How much Does Homecare Cost?
Minimum hour requirements used to discourage many seniors from hiring a Home Health aide. Luckily, nowadays you can usually secure an aide for even just a few hours per week. This is a great way to dip your toes in the water and will get you used to having somebody to help around the house without the perceived invasion of privacy some people worry about. It'll also help put worried family members at ease knowing that somebody is around to check in on you, even if it's only once in a while. On average, the hourly cost for a personal care aide is $20/hour, but this can vary widely depending on location and needs. Additionally, usually agencies will require a minimum of 4 hours/week, but there are companies out there that have waived this requirement and will even send help for 1 or 2 hours/week.
3. Inexpensive Alternatives
Ok, we get it. Even $20/hour for 4 hours per week adds up to $320/month....no small fee. Luckily, there's a great alternative that can supplement or replace personal care and can cost less than a couple of hours of homecare for an entire month of service. Medical Alert Systems have proven time and time again that they help save lives and give seniors and their families the peace of mind that help is always a button push away. That's why many seniors choose to use help buttons in lieu of a full time home health aide. Ultimately, though, no one solution fits every senior's needs or lifestyle.