Paying for Care: Comfort Keepers Senior Home Care Services in Charlotte, NC
How to manage the costs of senior home care services for your aging loved one
If your family has already decided that your aging loved one needs professional caregiving services, you may have opted for a nursing home, assisted living facility, senior home care services, or some other care plan. Each of these has a cost, and it can be challenging to navigate all of the financial resources your family might deal with.
In general, there are several resources that can help pay for extended senior home care services. This might include Medicare or Medicaid (if qualified), long term care insurance, Veterans Administration benefits, other employer benefits, or out of pocket expenses.
Any care that you select for your loved one will have associated costs. You can help mediate these costs by looking for ways to reduce the amount of hours worked by a care provider, or selecting a general home care provider instead of a specialized or medical care provider.
Medicare and Medicaid
Both Medicare and Medicaid have restrictions on who qualifies to receive coverage. Even if you or your loved one is eligible to receive coverage, you’ll want to double check exactly what services or care providers are covered. Medicare only covers a narrow range of services, but may cover physician-prescribed home health care as a short-term solution. In certain cases, brief nursing home stays or hospice care may also be covered. Medicaid is the largest public payer for long term care, and generally covers nursing care, which may include home care and other care providers.
Those with limited income or who receive Supplemental Security Income are likely to qualify. In some states, additional programs that help those with low or fixed incomes are available via a local agency for aging.
Long term care insurance
The purpose of long term care insurance is to protect seniors’ savings for extended senior home care services. Like most insurance policies, long term care insurance can be costly, and premiums may increase with age or other complications. This type of policy is generally purchased before retirement, and will continue to be paid after retirement.
If long term care insurance is part of your plan to cover costs for elder care, consider:
- How will your premium change over time? Are there factors that will cause it to increase?
- How long is the elimination period, or, how long must you pay for your own care before the policy will start coverage?
- Does your policy cover a specific kind of care only? Is a nursing home your only option, or are other assisted living or senior home care services covered?
Veterans Administration benefits
If your loved one is a veteran who has served 90 days of active duty enlistment, with one day during a period of war, or is the surviving spouse of a veteran who did, they may be eligible for benefits or direct care through the VA. The VA also offers a disability pension for non-service connected individuals. You can learn more at a local VA office or at www.va.gov.
Out of pocket expenses
If your loved one’s care isn’t covered by any of these resources, you’ll need to make payments out of pocket for their care. Retirement savings and other assets can often help with this. As you consider your care options, bear in mind that live-in facilities like nursing homes will be more expensive than in-home care services. Also, services for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other cognitive needs can be more costly. Ask care providers about the costs and programs that pertain directly to you and your situation up front.
Deciding what’s best for your loved one
The costs and financial impact of paying for long-term care can be challenging for seniors and their families to cope with. While senior home care services may seem like the best alternative, decide beforehand what situations or stressors you’ll want to mediate with professional caregiving. You might decide that overnight care, or care for particular medical problems, should be given over to a professional care provider. Or, you might decide that senior home care services would only be needed to help deal with certain circumstances, like recovering from a surgery. Family caregivers should be mindful that their good intentions alone do not ensure that adequate care is being provided for an elderly loved one.