For seniors, there is little argument that there is no place like home for aging. In 2014, AARP conducted a survey that found 71 percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 want to stay in their present home as they age. In the next age category of 65 and older, 87 percent wanted to remain in their current home. Saint Paul has several resources available to help seniors age safely and comfortably at home. You can find assistance with both household chores and medical aid.
There are seven home health care agencies in Saint Paul. You search all licensed Minnesota home health care agencies on Minnesota’s Department of Health’s website.
Minnesota’s Health Regulation Division licenses and manages regulations for most health care agencies.
Low-income seniors may be eligible to apply for home health services through Minnesota’s Medicaid program.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that there were approximately 820,000 health aides employed in the United States in 2015, with about 27,550 in Minnesota.
The average annual income for Minnesota home health aides was $25,420 in 2015.
In 2016, the median cost of homemaker services in the Saint Paul/Minneapolis area was $157 a day. If we use this daily average and multiply it by a five-day week for 52 weeks, this equals $57,200 a year.
Homemaking services help seniors with typical household chores including some cleaning, running errands, shopping, cooking meals, laundry, organization, and washing dishes. There are more homemaking services to aid seniors with:
Getting dressed and personal hygiene. Socialization with activities like games, letter writing, and scrapbooking. Taking prescription medications. Pet care. Plant care. Safety checks. Contact with family regarding the senior’s physical and mental health.
Homemaking services are an optimal solution for individuals that can handle their health but may need help with household chores to live at home. This service also provides regular companionship.
If you need some medical care or monitoring, you may want to consider hiring a home health aide. The services for a home health aide are more expensive, averaging $182 a day. If you compare this average rate to the average Minneapolis-area nursing home rates, you will notice a potential for significant savings. The average cost for a semi-private nursing home room was $224 a day, and a private room averaged $245 a day. If you use these costs, you could save $15,000 - $23,000 a year contingent on which the type of room and style of nursing home.
Home health aides also perform non-medical chores like the homemaker service. However, they can monitor some medical conditions such as checking blood pressure, dressing wounds, and aid with mobility tools.
State home care agencies typically employ home health aides. They are required to complete training requirements set by the state. Aides must complete both classroom and clinical experience, supervised by a registered nurse. With this training, home health aides can check blood pressure, assist seniors with walking, and give medicine. Some aides are equipped to oversee medical devices like a ventilator.
Every person’s situation is different, and you may need various types of care at various times. Home Health Care Agencies can help you create a plan and schedule that helps you stay at home. You can also update this plan and care as needed. Here are the different levels of care:
Respite care is for when your regular caregiver is unavailable or needs a break. This care can be for just a few hours or could be days. Since this is a short period with little commitment, you can audition other caregivers or agencies to see if you would like to hire them in the future. Part-time care is regularly scheduled care that is either a few hours daily or just a few days a week. With this care, you can get assistance with light cleaning, laundry, meal preparation, grocery shopping, and companionship. This is the best option for seniors who don’t require medical care but just need some help around the house. Full-time care is similar to part-time care but is 40 hours a week. This is a great option for care while family members work. This care can also be used overnight to prevent falls. Live-in care is best for seniors who need continuous care but still want to live at home. More than one caregiver will typically split the day and night shifts.
First, you will need to decide if you want to hire your aide directly or work with an agency. One benefit of hiring an agency is that they will manage taxes, paychecks, insurance, and all licensing requirements. Plus, an agency has several aides, so you can find a replacement quickly in case of an emergency.
If you want to hire directly, you will have final say in whom you hire. You can even choose to hire a family member. However, you will need to manage taxes, payroll, and insurance with a direct hire.
It’s always a good idea get a referral to see if there is a good match. You should also check for online reviews. The Better Business Bureau is another great source to check for an agency. You can read if there are any complaints.
Your long-term care insurance policy should cover some or most home health care expenses if your doctor provides confirmation that these services are vital to your health. Low-income seniors may also be eligible to receive home health services through Medical Assistance, which is Minnesota’s Medicaid program. If you were a wartime veteran or a widow of a wartime veteran, you may be eligible for a VA Aid & Attendance pension, which would cover your home health expenses.
If you don’t have any insurance or benefits but you own your home, a reverse mortgage will give you the equity you have in your home. You can also cash out a life insurance policy early. However, both of these options have implications for taxes and inheritance. We recommend you discuss these choices in detail with your financial planner, attorney, or accountant.
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