Would you rather live at home or another senior living option? If you answered at home, you would join the majority of other seniors. In a 2014 survey conducted by AARP, seniors reported that they wanted to stay in their current home instead of moving to a different senior living option. The study found that the older the person got, the more likely they wanted to continue living in their present home. Around 71 percent of adults between the ages of 50 and 64 wanted to stay, and that number increased to 87 percent for seniors over 65. St. Petersburg has several options to help you live at home with the care you need, and it’s cheaper than living in a nursing home.
Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration regulates the home health agency licensing.
You can search for home health agencies and review surveys on the Agency Health Care Administration’s website.
Low-income seniors may be eligible to receive home health services through state-sponsored programs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that nearly 814,000 people were health aides in the United States in 2016. There were 25,560 aides in Florida.
The 2016 average salary for home health aides in Florida was $23,410.
In 2016, the average rate for homemaker services in the St. Petersburg area was $119 daily. This service averages $43,472 annually, using this daily average for a 5-day work week and 52 weeks a year.
Homemaking services help with regular household chores that may be cumbersome for older adults such as cleaning, transportation, grocery shopping, meal preparation, laundry, and washing dishes. You can also find additional homemaking services that aid with:
Personal hygiene and getting dressed
Engaging the mind with activities like games and letter writing
Reminders to take medicine
Pet care, including walking the dog
Safety checks to minimize hazards
Homemaking services can be a practical solution for seniors who can manage their health but just need a little assistance with household chores. This service also provides regular companionship and can keep the family informed on how their loved one is doing.
For those who need some medical care, health aide services in St. Petersburg cost slightly more than homemaker services with an average daily rate of $125. Staying at home and using these services can save you a significant amount of money when you compare to nursing home costs.
The average cost for a semi-private nursing home room in the St. Petersburg area was $249 a day, and a private room averaged $295. If you considered the annual costs, you could save in upwards of $47,000 - $62,000 a year.
Home health aides will also assist with the same household chores as homemakers. However, they can also provide some medical care like checking and monitoring blood pressure, dispense medication, redressing wounds, listening to the pulse, and aid with walking and mobility devices. Some aides are also able to assist with medical devices such as a ventilator.
Home care agencies typically employ health aides. They are required to keep licenses by meeting both training and experience requirements which are determined by the state. Aides must complete both classroom and hands-on clinical experience, which is supervised by a registered nurse. This training equips aides to handle medical monitoring when visiting a patient. Aides are also trained to treat and recognize infection, move patients safely, and perform emergency procedures.
All seniors are different, and there are different kinds of care to meet these needs. Home Health Agencies can help you create a custom plan to meet your needs and update when your demands change. Here are the different levels of care:
Respite care is temporary care when your normal caregiver is not free. This care can be for a few hours, days, or weeks. Since this care is for a short period of time, you can test new caregivers and agencies as a trial run.
Part-time is regular care for just a few hours a day or a couple days a week. This care assists with household chores including shopping, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, and dishes. This is the best option for seniors who do not have medical needs but need help around the house to live at home comfortably.
Full-time care provides care 40 hours a week, typically when family members are working. You can also hire help overnight to help with medications and bathroom breaks to limit falls.
Live-in care is for seniors who need constant attention and health assistance but want to still live in their current home versus a nursing home. Multiple caregivers will split the day and night hours.
Your first option with home health services is whether you want to hire your caregiver directly or work with an agency. Agencies provide the benefit of handling all the paperwork, taxes, and insurance, which can be daunting. An agency can also find a replacement aide quickly should your current aide become unavailable.
If you want to hire directly, you will be able to choose the person you want, which could be a family member. Remember since you are the employer, you must manage taxes, report earnings, and handle insurance and licensing.
To begin your search, ask for referrals to find agencies to start with or avoid. You can also search for online reviews. Check for Better Business Bureau’s website for ratings and complaints.
If you have a long-term care insurance policy, your policy may cover home health care costs but you may need your doctor to verify your condition requires services. Seniors with limited financial assets can apply for assistance through Florida’s Medicaid program. Wartime veterans along with their widows might be eligible for a VA Aid & Attendance pension for home care costs.
There are other options if you don’t have insurance or benefits. If you own your home, you can look into a reverse mortgage to get the equity in your home without having to sell. Another option is getting the cash from a life insurance policy by cashing out. Both options can have considerable tax and inheritance penalties, so do your research and talk to your attorney or financial planner to weigh the benefits.
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