Our homes are often where we feel most comfortable, and as we age the desire to receive care at home grows. In fact, 87% of adults 85 and older would prefer to stay at home as long as possible. Luckily, in-home care is a great solution to the need for care in your home and San Diego has plenty of options to choose from.
In San Diego, 22% of seniors have minor difficulty walking and 27% live at home alone.
60.4% have five or more chronic medical conditions that they live with.
Over 115,000 jobs were created in the home health industry in California last year.
California is in the top five states that pay the highest wages to home health care workers.
Homemaker services and home health aides tend to be the two most common types of in-home care. Homemaker services tend to be a little less expensive. In San Diego, the daily rate for these services in 2015 was around $197. This rate was based on Genworth’s survey of a 52-week year and a 44-hour work week.
Homemaker services focus primarily on helping you around the house and with your daily tasks. They don’t take care of specialized medical needs, but can handle things like:
Taking care of your pets and watering plants
Light housekeeping or gardening
Grocery shopping and meal preparation
Socialization opportunities and companionship
Communication between the family, patient, and other caregivers
These services work best for seniors who aren’t ill or have a chronic disease that leaves them bedridden, but just have trouble getting around and need a helping hand with their chores.
A home health aide is going to be able to help you with more skilled nursing services and because of this, their rates tend to be a little bit higher. In San Diego, the daily rate for a home health aide is $198. That isn’t much more than homemaker services, but much less expensive than the $350 daily cost of a private room in a nursing home.
What makes home health aides a little different is that the state of California requires them to go through a training course as well as a competency exam to be able to provide services. These training courses teach aides how to help transfer patients from a mobility device into bed, check pulse, monitor blood pressure, and change bandages on wounds. It also allows them to be registered on the state health aide registry. Agencies also have to be up-to-date on licensing and train their staff on how to handle senior nutrition, seniors’ rights, infection control, and emergency situations.
You don’t have to get the same amount of care as other patients because in-home care agencies will cater to your needs and create a plan that is specific to you.
Respite Care: If you only need a caregiver for a few hours or a few days while your primary caregiver is away, you can use respite services. This allows you to get care without committing to a long-term contract, and it’s also a good way to test out new agencies if you’re looking for different care.
Part-Time Care: Suppose you can get around just fine but your house is too big to clean on your own and you would like to have someone around a few hours each day, part-time care could be a great option. This also allows seniors who don’t want to have someone constantly watching them, but still need someone to check in every once in awhile.
Full-Time Care: This is good if you need someone there all day or all night to prevent falls or accidents. Full-time care generally means a typical 40-hour work week and you can have someone there to help when you need it.
Live-In Care: If you just had surgery and are recuperating at home or you have a chronic debilitating disease, you might want to consider live-in care. That way someone is with you 24/7 to help with whatever you need.
Most people choose to use an agency when they are looking for a caregiver. An agency can handle all of the details that go into hiring a caregiver, and you don’t have to worry about taxes or background checks. Agencies can also handle emergency care a little better and always have someone on hand to help you out.
You don’t have to use an agency though, and can hire your own caregiver. This is actually a good choice if you have a relative that is going to provide care and you want to make sure they are compensated for their time. Just remember that you have to take care of all the “behind the scenes” work like insurance, payment, and taxes.
No matter how you decide to choose a caregiver, make sure you do your homework. Ask for references from friends or family and check out sites like SeniorAdvisor.com where you can read client reviews. Check out the San Diego Better Business Bureau to make sure the agency you choose has good ratings.
If you have already met the requirements for Medicare, make sure you choose a Medicare-certified agency, which will help cover your care costs. Medi-Cal is also another option. Depending on if you qualify and your situation, you could get a reimbursement for care products and help with covering your care costs. Veterans should check their VA benefits as long-term care is often included in their coverage.
A long-term care insurance policy is often very helpful and if you already have one, you can talk to your agent to see if in-home care is covered. A few other options you have to free up some funds are cashing in a life insurance policy or getting a reverse mortgage. Both options have certain ramifications, so make sure you talk with a financial advisor before you make your decision.
Find assisted living in San Diego near you.