There’s no place like home, and many seniors say this as they begin to age. AARP conducted a survey in 2014 and discovered that 71 percent of older adults between 50 and 64 wanted to age at home versus other senior living options. This number grew to 87 percent for those over 65. In Oakland, you have choices for in-home care along with several resources to help you or your loved one age safely and comfortably at home. These services range from medical care to housekeeping for handling daily life tasks. Best part, these services can cost less than nursing home care.
You can search Medicare home health agencies by searching on Medicare’s site. There are 77 home health agencies in Oakland.
The state of California provides the licenses for these agencies.
Low-income seniors and those with risks of going into a nursing home can get assistance through the state.
More than 820,000 Americans were home health aides in 2015, with about 31,700 in California.
The average salary for home health aides in California was $27,580.
In 2016, the median cost for homemaking services was $188 daily in the Oakland/Bay area. According to Genworth’s survey, this adds up to $68,650 annually when you account for five days a week for 52 weeks in a year.
These services aid with household tasks to help make living at home more comfortable, and these services include grocery shopping, transportation to appointments, meal planning and preparation, and light cleaning.
Additional homemaking services help with:
Social activities including games, writing letters, and friendly discussions.
Safety checks to eliminate any hazards.
Reminders to take prescriptions.
Pet and houseplant care.
Communication with family on senior’s condition and mental state.
Homemaking services are a viable solution for seniors who can manage health but need assistance with household chores. This service also provides companionship, so seniors don’t get lonely.
In Oakland, home health aide rates average to be the same rate as homemaker rates, with a median daily rate of $188. If you compare to the average daily costs for nursing home rooms in San Francisco of $412 for a semi-private room or $500 for a private room, you could save an astounding $81,000-$114,000 a year depending on the type of nursing home care you choose.
Home health aides handle nonmedical chores similar to homemakers, but can also assist with some health care including taking blood pressure, checking and dressing wounds, and assistance with mobility medical devices.
Home health aides employed through home care agencies are required to meet training and experience standards determined by the state of California. Aides must have both classroom and hands-on clinical experience supervised by a registered nurse. Home health aides are qualified to handle tasks such as checking temperature and blood pressure, distributing medicine and prescriptions, walking assistance, and some aides can help with medical devices like a ventilator.
Every person’s situation is different and requires various levels of care to assist with living at home. Agencies can help you build a package and schedule to meet your needs and can update when you need to change. Here are some of the options of in-home care.
Respite care is temporary care when your caregiver is unavailable, which can be hours or even days. These are great trial periods to determine if other caregivers and agencies are a good fit for the future.
Part-time care can be a few hours a day or a few days a week. If you need help grocery shopping, preparing meals, doing laundry, cleaning, or just wanting some companionship, this is an option for seniors who don’t need a large amount of care. This extra assistance will make living at home easier and ease family worries.
Full-time care provides care 40 hours a week and is suitable for seniors that need all-day supervision while the family is at work or even overnight to assist with bathroom trips to avoid falls in the nighttime.
Live-in care provides constant care 24/7. There are typically multiple caregivers that split day and night shifts. This care is best for seniors with the most health needs that still want to be home.
When deciding on a home health aide, you can either hire through an agency or directly. Agencies provide the convenience of handling all the taxes, payroll, insurance, and licensing. Plus, an agency has backup contacts should your aide need to cancel a visit for a personal emergency or illness.
You can hire a family member directly to be a caregiver. Also, if you want to hire someone directly, you are the boss and have the final pick of the aide. Remember that you have to manage all the taxes, accounting, and insurance reporting.
It’s always a good idea to ask around and get a referral from either the agency or the home health aide. Online reviews also provide great feedback. The Better Business Bureau is also a great resource to find out information on an agency. You can also search California’s home health aide registry to process criminal background checks.
You will need a doctor recommendation for home care that notes your medical condition requires this assistance for long-term care insurance to cover this care. If you are a low-income senior and qualify for Medicaid, you may be eligible for care through California Care Network. Wartime veterans and widows may be eligible for VA Aid & Attendance pension to cover home care costs.
If you own your home, you can consider a reverse mortgage to use the equity in your home to pay expenses. You can also get money by cashing out a life insurance policy early. Both of these options carry tax and inheritance penalties. You should discuss these options with your financial planner, attorney, or accountant.
Find assisted living in Oakland near you.