Atlanta is one of the few places where long-term care is relatively affordable and the city also has many different kinds of care. For those people who want to be able to stay in the comfort of their own home, in-home care is the best choice. 87% of seniors 65 and older who want to stay in their home as long as possible have a choice in Atlanta. The city offers a lot of different home health agencies to choose from.
The majority of people who use in-home care need it for some kind of memory impairment or for multiple medical conditions.
Georgia employs around 2,880 - 7,040 home health aides.
Atlanta has around 80 home health care agencies, and at least two are SeniorAdvisor.com Best of 2016 winners.
More than 34 million adults provide some type of home care for a family member or loved one.
If you are relatively healthy but have a hard time getting around, or your daily chores wear you out more than they used too, homemaker services are going to be a good solution. They tend to be a little less expensive than other care options and in 2015, the daily rate was about $157. That translates into an annual cost of $41,174 based on a 52-week year and 44-hour work week.
So what services are included? Homemakers can take care of chores and errands both inside the house and around town. That might involve things like:
Buying groceries and preparing meals
Picking up dry cleaning or prescriptions
Cleaning the house and doing the laundry
Providing companionship by playing games, reading, or socializing
Communicating the mood and needs of the client to family and other caregivers
Homemaker services will not include things that require a skilled nurse, so if you do need those services, make sure to find an agency that offers home health aides.
Usually, home health aides tend to cost a little more than homemaker services because they can provide specialized care but in Atlanta, the daily cost is exactly the same at $157 per day. This is fairly affordable and much less expensive than a nursing home in the area which can cost around $221 per day.
With a home health aide, you can get things like medication reminders, checks on your pulse and blood pressure, help moving from your bed into a wheelchair, and even wound care. The state of Georgia requires all health aides to complete an approved training program. Additionally, all the agencies that want to be properly licensed have to go through training on things like emergencies, infection control, and seniors’ rights.
The great thing about in-home care is that it works with both your schedule and your needs. An agency should be able to create a custom plan that fits into your day and can include any one of these options:
Respite: This is offered when your primary caregiver needs rest for a few hours or a few days. It can also serve as a trial run for a new caregiver. You don’t have to commit to the agency to use their respite care services.
Part-Time: This is a good compromise for seniors that don’t want to have someone in their house all the time, and children who want to make sure their parents are taken care of. Part-time help is great if you can do most things on your own, but need someone to help with things like cleaning the house or grocery shopping.
Full-Time: When you need to make sure you have someone on hand for most of the day, you might want to consider a full-time caregiver. They generally operate on a 40-hour work week and can provide service during the day or overnight to prevent falls or accidents.
Live-In: If you need 24/7 supervision then live-in care might be the best choice. Caregivers will rotate shifts and make sure that no matter what someone is always with you. If you don’t want to go to a nursing home but need constant care, this is your best bet.
First, you need to decide whether you want to use an agency or hire someone yourself. An agency is a nice option because they will handle everything and make sure the right caregiver comes to provide you with the service you need. Hiring your own caregiver lets you have total control, but keep in mind that you will have to handle everything when it comes to payment, taxes, and insurance.
To find the best agency, you will want to read user reviews, talk with your friends, and family, and check ratings on the Better Business Bureau website. Make sure you pick someone who you feel comfortable with and who has a reputable business.
Low-income seniors have the option of applying for Medicaid and if you qualify, in-home care could be covered. Medicare recipients that meet all of the requirements for in-home care and use a Medicare-certified agency can use these benefits to pay. If you have previously purchased a long-term care insurance policy, you might have coverage for these costs, so talk to your agent.
Veterans can contact their local VA office to find out if their benefits can be used for in-home care. If none of those options work, reverse mortgages and cashing in a life insurance policy are two ways to free up some funds. Both of these can have negative implications on taxes and inheritance though, so make sure you talk to a financial advisor first.
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