It’s not surprising that aging at home is the preference for most Americans. In fact, in a 2015 survey by AARP, the majority of seniors surveyed indicated they wanted to stay in the comfort of their homes rather than move to a facility as they get older. 71% in the 50-64 age group and over 87% over the age of 65 stated they want to remain at home. In the Portland area, seniors are fortunate to have dozens of in-home care resources and options, many of which are at a lower cost than nursing home care.
Seniors in the Portland area have access to over two dozen in-home care agencies.
Seniors at a risk of being admitted into a facility may have access to state-funded help at home if they meet low-income qualifications.
Across the country, close to 800,000 people were home health aides in 2014 and over 5,500 of them worked in the state of Oregon.
The 2014 median salary for home health aides in Oregon was $23,560 per year.
Homemaking services in the Portland area had a median cost in 2015 of $146 per day. According to Genworth’s annual calculations of a 44-hour work week over a 52 week year, the care totals $53,196 on average annually.
Homemaker services can include a variety of services, most commonly assistance with tasks around the home that might be challenging due to mobility like grocery shopping, light housekeeping, cooking meals, or driving to and from an appointment with your doctor. Homemakers can also assist with things like:
Personal care and grooming
Activities and socialization
Preparing healthy meals, reminding you to stay hydrated or take medications
Caring for plants around the home or pets
Updating family members on your progress and mood
Seniors who are the best candidates for homemaking services are able to handle their own health needs, but need help around the house with normal tasks of daily life.
In some parts of the country, seniors may find themselves paying for more home health aid care than homemaker services, but in Portland, the daily average is the same, $146. Compared to the cost of semi-private care in a nursing home at $269 on average daily, the annual savings could be over $43,500 on average by choosing in-home care.
Home health aides are able to provide the same types of services and assistance we listed above with care from homemakers with the addition of certain types of medical care like blood pressure and pulse checks, wound, care, and assistance with medical mobility equipment like walkers or wheelchairs.
Planning the care that allows you access to help at the right times is critical to living at home safely. Agencies will have options and plans available to customize. Here are a few of the common ones to choose from:
Respite care is designed to fill in when a normal caregiver needs a break. This could be for a few hours during a day, or for a period of several days.
Part-time care provides services for a few hours a day or a couple of days per week where someone is available for homemaking or health aide services.
Full-time care is a 40-hour per week job and is typically used for seniors who need access to assistance during the day when their family is at work.
Live-in care provides a 24-hour safe environment for seniors looking for an alternative to nursing home care. Typically staffed by more than one caregiver to cover day and night-time hours, live-in care can give seniors and their families peace of mind.
There are a few steps to finding the right in-home care for you. First, decide if you want to work with an agency or in-home care provider, or if you would prefer to hire someone to provide care directly. Agencies are a good option if you don’t want to have to manage the business end of things like taxes, insurance, and payroll for the caregiver.
Hiring directly is a good option for seniors who have a family member or friend who is able to provide care as you can then compensate them for their services. Keep in mind, if you hire directly you will be responsible for the paperwork that comes with having an employee like IRS reporting, payroll, and withholdings for Social Security.
Before making your decision, do some research on your caregiving options. Word of mouth is a great resource, as are online reviews from trusted sites like the Better Business Bureau of Oregon.
Long-term care insurance policy benefits can be used to pay for in-home care if they have a doctor-verified condition that requires assistance in their home. Seniors with a low-income may also qualify for help from Medicaid or the VA Aid & Attendance pension if they are wartime veterans or the widows of a vet.
Two alternate options to access liquid funds are cashing in a life insurance policy, or if you own your home, taking out a reverse mortgage. In each of these scenarios, there are tax considerations, so be sure to do your research and consult with a trusted tax, financial, or estate professional before going this route.
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