How Much Does Dallas In-Home Care Cost?

Home is where a lot of us are most comfortable, and our attachment to home seems to grow as we age. AARP’s 2014 survey of senior attitudes found that 71% of adults between ages 50 and 64 want to age in place. The number rose to 87% among adults age 65 and older. Luckily for Dallas-area seniors and their families, the Metroplex has many resources to help older adults enjoy their homes safely for as long as possible, at a cost that’s much lower than nursing home care.

Fast facts on in-home care

There are more than 30 in-home care agencies in Dallas, and more than 15 in Fort Worth.

All in-home care agencies must be licensed and certified by the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services (DADS).

State-supported in-home help is available for some low-income seniors and those at risk for being placed in a nursing home.

Nearly 800,000 Americans worked as home health aides in 2014, and almost 46,000 of them were in Texas.

The 2014 mean annual wage for Texas home health aides was $20,530.

Homemaking rates and services in Dallas

The median cost in 2015 for Dallas-area homemaking services was $119 per day. That’s for a full day’s work; the rate adds up to $3,623 for a month and $43,472 per year (based on Genworth’s 44-hour workweek for 52 weeks).

What do you get for that money? Homemaking service providers tackle the chores you have trouble with, usually grocery shopping, driving to and from doctor appointments, planning and cooking meals, and light cleaning. Other homemaking services may include:

Help with grooming and dressing

Social time together playing cards, writing letters, or scrapbooking old photos and keepsakes

Home safety checks to identify and remove or repair slip and fall hazards

Reminders to take prescribed medication and to stay hydrated

Light care for pets and houseplants

Communication with family members about the patient’s health and mood

Homemaking services are a good fit for seniors who can manage their own health but have mobility impairments, and for seniors who prefer to have company during the day.

Home health aide rates and services in Dallas

In some cities, home health aide rates are slightly higher than homemaker rates, but in Dallas, the median rate is the same, $119 per day. Compare that to the local daily median rates for nursing home care: $156 for semi-private and $125 for private rooms. In a year, using in-home care rather than living in a nursing home could save you between $13,400 and $35,000.

Home health aide services include the types of nonmedical chores and errands that homemaker aides provide, and they can also do blood pressure and pulse checks, bandage and check wounds, and help with mobility devices like walkers and wheelchairs.

Home health aides who work for home care agencies in Texas must meet certain training and experience requirements set by the state. These include classroom and clinical experience under a registered nurse’s or licensed vocational nurse’s supervision, or at least one year of care experience in a hospital or nursing home or with another agency. Home health aides are trained in infection control, safe patient transfer techniques, senior nutrition, safety and emergency procedures, communication, and seniors’ rights.

How much in-home help do you need?

Finding the right level of care is the key to living safely in your own home. Most agencies offer packages or customizable schedules to fit your needs. Here are some typical options:

Respite care can range in length from a few hours to a few days, depending on how much time your regular caregiver needs to be away. If you’re brand new to in-home care, short periods of respite care can serve as an audition for caregivers and agencies you might want to hire if you need more care later on.

Part-time care can be a few hours each day or a couple of days per week to check on your wellbeing, shop for and prepare meals for the days ahead, and catch up on laundry and light cleaning. For seniors who aren’t enthusiastic about having in-home help (but whose adult children are concerned about too much alone time), part-time care can be a good compromise that allows for senior autonomy and family members’ peace of mind.

Full-time care is a traditional 40-hour week, and is the ideal for seniors who need all-day companionship while other household members are at work, or who need overnight assistance to prevent falls and toileting accidents.

Live-in care is provided 24/7 around the clock, usually with more than one caregiver to cover daytime and overnight shifts. This type of care is ideal for seniors who really want to remain at home but need always-available help or supervision.

How to choose in-home care providers

The first choice you must make is whether to work with an in-home care agency or to hire help directly. Agencies handle all the payroll, taxes, insurance, and licensing requirements, and they can handle emergency schedule changes better than the average individual.

Hiring help yourself may be a better option if you have a relative or friend you’d like to pay for their caregiving. Or you may want more control over the hiring process. In either case, when you’re the boss, you’re responsible for withholding Social Security, reporting the payments to the IRS, and other accounting and insurance tasks.

Word-of-mouth and online reviews are helpful whether you’re looking for the right agency or the right direct-hire caregiver. You can also check agency ratings with the Better Business Bureau of Dallas and Northeast Texas.

Paying for in-home care

If you have a doctor-verified condition that requires you to need help with activities of daily living or health care, your long-term care insurance may pay for an in-home health aide. Seniors who qualify for Medicaid may be eligible for in-home services through Texas DADS. Wartime veterans and widows who qualify for the VA Aid & Attendance pension can spend that benefit on in-home care. Depending on your needs and the programs you’re using, you may be able to use your policy or benefits to pay a family member or friend the market rate for care.

Seniors who own a home, don’t have long-term care insurance and are ineligible for state and federal benefit programs may want to consider a getting a reverse mortgage or cashing out a life insurance policy to pay for in-home care. Both options can free up funds–and both carry with tax and inheritance ramifications, so get advice from your tax preparer, estate attorney, and financial planner before committing to a decision.

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