As the saying goes, “there’s no place like home,” and a 2015 AARP survey found that older Americans really agree with that. Of adults ages 50-64 surveyed, 71% of them indicated they would like to live in their homes as they age. Adults over the age of 65 agreed, with 87% of them saying they too want to stay at home. Seniors in the San Antonio region are fortunate to have a number of options and resources to make this desire a reality. Not only is there a plethora of in-home care options, but the average cost is less than that of nursing home care.
San Antonio has nearly two-dozen in-home care agencies in the area.
Seniors with a low income may be eligible for state-supported help in their home, if they are at risk of being admitted into a nursing home facility.
There were close to 800,000 home health aide workers in the US in 2014, and nearly 46,000 were employed in the state of Texas.
In 2014, Texas home health aides made an average of $20,530 per year.
The 2015 average cost for homemaking services in the San Antonio area was $125 per day. That daily cost totals $45,760 per year according to Genworth’s survey on a 44-hour work week over 52 weeks in the year.
What types of services are included at that rate? In general, you can expect homemakers to assist with chores around the house that you might find difficult, like shopping for groceries, preparing meals, driving to medical appointments, and housekeeping. Other provided services may include:
Assistance with personal care.
Companionship and socialization.
Reminders to drink water, eat healthy meals, and take medications.
Help caring for pets or houseplants.
Talking with family members about client’s mood and state of mind.
Seniors who are able to manage their health needs, but who need assistance around the home due to mobility issues or who want companionship during the day, are great candidates for homemaker services.
In some areas, seniors can expect to pay a higher rate for home health aides than for homemaker care. However, in San Antonio, the daily average is the same at $125. In comparison to semi-private nursing home care at $142 per day, seniors can save over $6,000 annually by hiring in-home help.
Home health aides can provide the same type of assistance that you will see from a homemaker with the addition of medical services like wound care, blood pressure checks, and assistance with a walker or wheelchair.
An important factor that allows you to live safely at home is having the right level of care. Work with an agency to determine what is the best schedule for your needs. Here are some common choices:
Respite care is available for times when primary caregivers are away and can range from a couple of hours to several days.
Part-time care is an option that can be used for a few hours daily or just a few days a week where a caregiver will stop by to do things like prepare meals, light housekeeping, and check to see how you’re doing.
Full-time care involves a caregiver available during a traditional 40-hour work week and is perfect for seniors who need help during the day while a family member is at work.
Live-in care is provided around the clock, typically by more than one caregiver dividing daytime and night-time shifts. This is a great option for seniors who need continual access to care but want to continue to live in their home rather than a facility.
There are several decisions you’ll need to make to help you find the right in-home care provider for your needs. First, you’ll want to determine whether you want to work with an in-home care agency or hire someone directly to provide care. Working with an agency means that the payroll, taxes and insurance will all be managed by them,which means you won’t have as much control over the actual caregiver.
Hiring someone directly is a great option if you have a loved one or family member who you want to compensate for providing care. It also gives you the option to directly get involved with deciding who will be the caregiver. When you hire directly, you will be responsible for the business side of things like Social Security withholdings, IRS reporting, payroll, and insurance.
Researching your caregiver choices is also helpful. Read online reviews, ask for recommendations from trusted friends, and visit sites like the Better Business Bureau of Southwest Texas for information on providers in your area.
Seniors with a condition verified by a doctor that requires daily assistance may be able to use benefits from a long-term care insurance policy to fund their care. Alternately, qualifying seniors can apply for assistance for Medicaid. The VA Aid & Attendance pension may be applied for by wartime veterans and their widows, and the benefits can be used to fund in-home care.
An additional option available to senior homeowners is a reverse mortgage, or those with a life insurance policy could consider cashing it out for access to funds. In each scenario, there are tax and estate ramifications, so be sure to speak with an experienced tax, estate, or financial professional before making a decision.
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