It’s not unusual to think about what your living situation will be as you age. In a 2015 survey by AARP, the majority of adults indicated that they would like to live at home as they grow older. In the 50-64 age group, 71% agreed that they would like to age at home, and in the 65 and over demographic, over 87% felt the same. Wichita seniors have a number of care options that can facilitate living at home in your golden years, and with the resources available in the area, many cost significantly less than comparable nursing home care.
Wichita is home to over two dozen certified in-home care providers.
In 2014, the nation had over 800,000 individuals working as home health aides and 5,940 of them were in the state of Kansas.
The average annual earnings of home health aides in Kansas in 2014 was $23,130.
The median daily rate for homemaker services in 2015 in Wichita was $114. Calculated over a 44-hour workweek and 52 week year, Genworth estimates the annual median cost of in-home homemaker care to be $41,756.
Included in those fees are assistance at home with any number of tasks that may be difficult as you age. Homemakers can shop for groceries and cook meals, provide transportation to and from appointments with your doctor, and assist with light housekeeping among other things.
Seniors who may have limited mobility and trouble moving around the house, or who simply need a hand with everyday tasks are great candidates for homemaker services.
In some areas, you may pay more for home health aide services, but in Wichita, according to 2015 median figures, the cost is the same, $114 per day. Annual medians for nursing home care in the area total $63,510 for semi-private care, meaning that you could save upwards of $21,700 by choosing to stay at home and have your care provided there.
Seniors who need more than just help around the house should consider home health aide care. While they are also able to do everything that a traditional homemaker service would provide, home health aides are also equipped to handle some medical needs such as wound care, checking your pulse, and screening your blood pressure.
In-home care allows your home to stay a safe environment where you can live comfortably and your loved ones can have peace of mind that you’re well taken care of. Work with your care provider to customize the level of care to your needs. These are some typical options to choose from:
Respite care- Available when your usual caregiver is unable to provide care.
Part-time care- Scheduled for a few hours daily or a few days per week.
Full-time care- 40 hours of weekly care during either the day or overnight depending on your needs.
Live-in care- Around the clock care for seniors with more in-depth care needs.
Hiring a caregiver can be done in one of two ways, either through an agency or through a direct hire. Caregivers hired through an agency will be provided by the agency, and their salary, insurance, and taxes will be managed by the agency.
Caregivers who are directly contracted, whether it’s a family member who is giving you care or someone who you interview and hire, are technically your employee and you will need to manage them as such. This can include business responsibilities like issuing paychecks, filing with the IRS, and withholding applicable taxes.
Before making your decision, ask for recommendations from people you trust for providers. It’s also worthwhile to do online research on sites where you can read customer reviews and experiences like the Better Business Bureau of Nebraska.
While in-home care is less expensive than nursing home care, it isn’t necessarily cheap. Long-term care insurance policy benefits may be available to cover the cost of your care if you have a doctor verified condition that requires assistance in-home. Outside of that, low-income seniors have the option to apply for assistance from programs like Medicaid, or for wartime vets and their widows, the VA Aid & Attendance pension.
Seniors with a life insurance policy, or who own their own home, have a few additional resources to get access to funds. You can consider cashing in the life insurance policy, or taking out the equity in your home in a reverse mortgage. In these cases, it’s important to speak with a professional that you trust who has expertise in either the tax, financial, or the estate realm, as these options will have ramifications that need to be understood.
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