08 Apr 10 Ways to Save Money on Home Care for Seniors
Tips on providing affordable in home care for older adults while meeting the needs of your loved one.
April 8, 2020
When a senior loved one needs help with daily activities and lives at home, you may want to consider hiring a dedicated at-home caregiver.
For family caregivers, the additional support can let you take occasional breaks to rest and recharge and minimize the associated stress and burnout that comes with juggling the needs of caregiving and managing your own set of daily tasks.
However, the addition of a paid caregiver can be a major expense. There are ways to add formal care support for a loved one while still keeping costs reasonable. Plus, home care support is often much less expensive than more intensive care options like nursing homes or assisted living.
Below, we outline 10 helpful ways to save money on home care support without sacrificing quality.
Use Pennsylvania’s Medicaid waiver program
The state’s Medicaid waiver program provides assistance with skill development, respite, transportation, and other services to help support the individual and their caregiver.
The waiver can help elders and disabled individuals to receive a variety of services (including home care) that will foster one’s independence at home and limit institutional care needs (such as nursing homes, for example). Not only can the waiver provide home care services, but it allows family members to take care of the individuals in need while receiving compensation to do so.
To be eligible for waiver services, one must be 21 years of age or older and a Pennsylvania resident. Additionally, one needs to be both clinically eligible (that is, determined eligible through evaluation of one’s needs from a medical perspective) and financially eligible (have very limited income and resources). Read our full Medicaid waiver guide for Pennsylvania.
In summary, the Medicaid waiver is an excellent program for low income seniors and their loved ones to help pay for home care services. It will even pay family members that provide care to their loved one. However, one needs to have both a low income and asset requirement along with meeting a clinical eligibility that demonstrates a need that meets the level of a nursing home.
Implement monitoring technology
Innovative technologies have come a long way in providing caregiver support through smart monitoring and companionship offerings. There will never be a full substitute for providing in-person care. However, the right technology can be implemented to reduce the number of hours that a care recipient needs. This will reduce overall care costs.
Examples include a variety of systems that ensure safety in older adults, tools for effectively managing medications, recording devices to evaluate safety, and the use of inventive online solutions and shopping to minimize errands.
Enroll in long term care insurance
Long-term care insurance is a form of insurance coverage that helps pay for assisted living, nursing home care, or home health care needs. It initiates in the event you are unable to care for yourself because of a chronic condition or disability.The policy is purchased at an age where you are healthy and in which you can afford the premiums (and that also makes financial sense).
This can be an excellent way to reduce home care related costs. The downside to long term care is that it needs some planning and foresight before buying and implementing a plan. For example, if you are in your 70s and you are in immediate or near-term need for home care services, a plan will most likely deny you coverage. Alternatively, it will be so expensive that it will not make financial sense. However, if you initiate coverage in your 50s or 60s, an insurance plan can make a lot of financial sense and dramatically reduce your out of pocket expenses.
Consider hiring a caregiver on your own independently. By doing so, you can save 20 percent or more through hiring from an agency.
However, those hiring privately need to weigh the pros and cons of doing so.
Home care agencies will manage things like background checks, training, worker’s compensation, taxes, and regulations as it relates to caregivers. Other benefits of hiring through an agency include ease of scheduling. It can be challenging to fit staffing needs for your loved ones particular schedule. Agencies have the benefit of filling schedules over multiple clients. Plus, this bench of caregivers is available should your caregiver call out sick or be unavailable.
Hiring privately can save a significant amount of money, but the peace of mind that you get from an agency handling all components of your home care may serve you better.
Know what tax credits or deductions may be available
For those providing direct care or hiring a caregiver, you may be able to get tax credits or deductions that lower your tax bill. This is even more the case when you can claim your senior loved one as a dependent.
On top of credits for home care or caregiving, don’t forget to consider the ability to deduct overall medical expenses across a broad range of healthcare costs and expenditures.
Be sure to consult your tax advisor for current and up-to-date information. Different tax credits or deductions may be relevant to your situation and the circumstances of your loved one.
Look into local adult day care programs
Adult day care is used to relieve a caregiver of their daily duties for the day. They are locations in which seniors can go during the day for care, activities, and meals.
The daily costs of adult day care are lower than those from home care. Plus, seniors get the added benefits of social interaction and other forms of engagement. Often, transportation services through the program provide pick up and drop off services to the program to and from home.
One popular approach is to combine several days of an adult day care program with alternating days of one-on-one home care. This can provide a good balance between keeping costs in check while offering sufficient care support. Some adults even attend adult day care programs five days a week.
Research caregiver support programs that can substitute home care needs
Pennsylvania state offers a caregiver support program for those that meet the qualifications. This program plus others may be available through non-profit organizations as well. They can provide reimbursement or coverage for costs related to caregiving, including respite services and other caregiver related costs including supplies.
If you qualify for these programs, they can directly reimburse care for a limited number of hours, thereby reducing your out-of-pocket costs associated with care.
Sign up for programs that provide free or low cost meals
The responsibility of having to grocery shop and cook makes it challenging for older adults to eat healthy and nutritious meals. Not only is the work required difficult for seniors, but the costs involved can be a concern as well.
For seniors that are eligible for these meal plans, it will reduce the needs associated with eating, including errands and meal preparation. Therefore, it can lessen the needs required of a caregiver, whether paid or provided by a member of the family.
Consider implementing low cost home modifications
Look into creating a safer home setting as part of an overall care plan for your senior loved one. It can simplify the care needs your loved one requires, whether done by a family caregiver or professional home care providers. It can also reduce stress and provide peace of mind for family caregivers.
The state of Pennsylvania may provide financial assistance for low income seniors to make appropriate home modifications through the state’s waiver program. Another alternative to look into includes local non-profit organizations. These provide financial help for a more accessible and safer home setting.
Lower your utility bills
A home’s heating and cooling costs can be a major expense in Pennsylvania, especially with our local weather extremes. There are several ways that these costs can be reduced. Pennsylvania and other states have energy assistance plans. The state’s LIHEAP program can help subsidize or pay for utility expenses. Pennsylvania also has a state weatherization program as well that can be of assistance. This subsidized program can provide home modifications that lower energy usage resulting in lower expenses.
Providing care for a senior loved one or friend can be expensive. When you know that someone requires assistance for daily activities, you understand the importance of offering support. Whether you are a family caregiver or hiring a paid private caregiver, the costs and time commitment can be substantial.
Consider Chosen Family Home Care as a care partner for you and your loved one. Through our comprehensive needs assessment and our mission-driven approach, we will determine the best course of action for your loved one, while considering your budget and the individual requirements that your loved one needs.