In a 2014 survey conducted by AARP, seniors reported that they wanted to stay in their current home as they continue aging. The study found the older the person got, the more likely they wanted to continue living in their present home. Around 71 percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 wanted to stay, and that number increased to 87 percent for seniors over 65. New Orleans offers residents programs and services to stay home and to live safely and comfortably.
There are 200 home health care agencies in Louisiana, with about 11 agencies in New Orleans. You can find a directory on Louisiana’s Department of Health website.
Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals regulates the home health agency licensing through the Health Standards Section.
Low-income seniors may be eligible to receive home health services through Louisiana’s Medicaid program.
In 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nearly 820,000 people were health aides in the United States, with about 9,870 in Louisiana.
The average salary for home health aides in Louisiana was $20,160.
In 2016, the average rate for homemaker services in New Orleans was around $103 a day. This service averages $37,752 annually, based on a five-day week for the 52 weeks.
Homemaking services help with household chores including cleaning, errand running, grocery shopping, meal preparation, laundry, and washing dishes. You can also find additional homemaking services that help with:
Personal hygiene and getting dressed.
Social activities like games, letter writing, and scrapbooking.
Reminders to take medicine.
Pet care, including walking the dog.
Safety checks to minimize fall hazards.
Updating the family on the senior’s health and mental condition.
Homemaking services can be a practical solution for seniors who can manage their health but just need a little assistance with household chores. This service also provides companionship, which is beneficial to prevent loneliness.
For those who need some medical care, health aide services in New Orleans average the same as homemaker services, which is around $103 a day. If you compare these rates to nursing home rates, you will see the possible savings. The average cost for a semi-private nursing home room in New Orleans was $170 a day, and a private room averaged $187 a day. Using these averages, you could possibly save $24,000 - $30,500 a year depending on what type of room and nursing home you select.
Home health aides will also assist with nonmedical chores like homemakers. However, they can also provide some medical care like checking and monitoring blood pressure, redressing wounds, and help with mobility devices.
Home health aides are normally employed with home care agencies. They are required to keep licenses by meeting both training and experience requirements set by the state. Aides must complete both classroom and hands-on clinical experience, which is supervised by a registered nurse. With this training, home health aides are qualified to check blood pressure, provide walking assistance, and dispense medications. Some aides are also able to manage medical devices like a ventilator.
All seniors are different, and so there are a variety of options available. Home Health Agencies can help you create a custom plan to meet your needs and update when your demands change. Here are the different levels of care:
Respite care is temporary care when your normal caregiver is not free, whether it’s care for a few hours or days. Since this care is for a short period of time, you can try out caregivers and agencies to see if they would be a good fit in the future.
Part-time is care for just a few hours a day or a few days a week. It is regularly scheduled care that assists with household chores including shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes and dishes. This is the best option for seniors who do not have medical needs but need help around the house.
Full-time care provides care 40 hours a week, typically when family members are working. You can also hire care overnight to help with bathroom breaks and medications.
Live-in care is for seniors who need constant care but want to still live in their current home. Multiple caregivers will split the hours because there are day and night shifts.
Your first option with home health services is whether you want to choose your aide directly or want to work with an agency to hire help. Agencies provide the benefit of handling all the taxes, payroll, licenses, and insurance. An agency can also find a replacement aide quickly should your current aide become unavailable.
If you want to hire directly, you will be able to be the boss and choose the person you want. You can even choose to hire and pay a family member. Remember as the boss you must manage taxes, reporting earnings, and insurance.
To begin your search, ask for referrals and check for online reviews. The Better Business Bureau is another source for information on an agency, and you can see if there are any reported complaints.
If you have a long-term care insurance policy, your policy may cover home health care expenses if your doctor provides verification that these services are necessary for your medical condition. If you are a low-income senior, you may be eligible to apply for Louisiana’s Medicaid program. Wartime veterans along with their widows might be eligible for a VA Aid & Attendance pension to pay for home care costs.
There are other options if you don’t have insurance or benefits. If you own your home, you can look into a reverse mortgage, which pays you the equity in your home. Another option is cashing out a life insurance policy. Both of these options can have considerable tax and inheritance penalties, so it is best to discuss options with your financial planner, an attorney, or tax advisor before making a decision.
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