Aging at Home: Navigating the Costs of In-Home Senior Care

[Updated: February 8, 2024 | Published: February 8, 2024]

Are you or a loved one planning to keep living at home as you age – what’s often called aging in place? If so, you should make a plan to arrange care in case your health and abilities change in the future. In this blog post, we review the types of care available and outline strategies for navigating the costs of in-home senior care.

Senior receiving in-home careThe difference between remaining in your home and moving to a retirement or long-term-care community often depends on the quality of in-home care you receive. That’s why it’s vital to carefully consider your needs and create a plan for arranging future care.

With over 40 years of experience as central Ohio’s premier senior living community, Friendship Village of Dublin offers trusted local expertise in all aspects of senior living. An increasing number of Columbus seniors who desire to age at home are choosing our Friendship At Home membership plan, which offers the protection of LifeCare and coverage for in-home services. Many independent-living residents at Friendship Village of Dublin also take advantage of our Home Care Services. So you can trust that we know home care!

This blog post will help you begin planning for the in-home care that you or a loved one might need in the future, with options for covering the cost.

Types of In-home Care Services for Seniors

In-home companion care for seniorsThere are two basic categories of in-home care for seniors. Non-medical care typically includes companion care, personal care and homemaker services. Medical care involves home health care or physical therapy under a physician’s orders.

Companion Care

This popular in-home service provides emotional support and companionship. It includes help with household tasks, transportation and offering company to alleviate loneliness.

Personal Care

Personal care involves assistance with activities of daily living. These include bathing, dressing and meal preparation. Personal care can allow you to maintain your daily routines while ensuring your safety and well-being.

Homemaker Services

Homemaker services extend beyond personal care by including tasks like light housekeeping, laundry, grocery shopping and meal preparation.

Home Health Care

Home health care covers a wide range of health care services that can be given in your home for an illness or injury. Examples are wound care, injections, intravenous therapies and monitoring serious or chronic health conditions.

Physical and Occupational Therapies

In-home physical therapy helps seniors recover from injuries, manage chronic conditions, and improve mobility. Occupational therapy can help manage chronic conditions and improve activities of daily living.

As we discuss below, each type of care incurs different costs and insurance coverage requirements.

How Much Does In-Home Care Cost?

Senior woman reviewing bills.In-home care could end up being one of the biggest line items in your retirement budget. The Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2023 found that the median cost for in-home personal care services was $4,957 per month, while for home health aide services, it was $5,148 per month. By contrast, monthly costs for nursing home care ranged from $7,908 to $9,034.

Keep in mind that these are just averages. Costs can vary based on individual circumstances and where you live. For instance, in-home care costs in urban areas like Columbus and Dublin tend to be higher due to increased living expenses and higher rates of caregiver pay.

Long-term care costs are increasing faster than inflation or the annual returns on most investments. For example, in Columbus, the annual cost of round-the-clock home care was $67,496 in 2021, reflecting a nearly 23 percent rise from the previous year. Assisted living communities charged an average of $49,020 per year, and a private room in a nursing facility cost $102,565.

In addition to caregiver costs, you may need to budget for personal safety equipment, medical equipment, specialized supplies, and any specific care needs, such as dementia care, into the overall budget for in-home care.

If you’re planning to depend on family members and friends to provide care,  you’re not alone. Care provided by millions of these unpaid family caregivers across the U.S. was valued at $600 billion in 2021. Yet research shows that caring for older family members strains caregivers financially and emotionally.

Paying for Home Care

Senior couple calculating the cost of in-home care.Navigating home-care costs can be challenging, but you can use a combination of strategies and resources to navigate costs. For example, you might use personal savings, retirement funds, annuities and other assets.

A 2019 study funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that about two-thirds of all adults ages 65 and older not on Medicaid could fund at least two years of paid home care using only their income and easily liquated financial assets.

Two years of funding might not cover your needs, however. According to the Administration on Aging, women need long-term care services for an average of 3.7 years. Men require care for an average of 2.2 years.

Long-term care insurance is another option that can help offset the cost of in-home care, although policies and coverage can vary widely. Many policies have waiting periods, coverage caps and burdensome paperwork. Premium costs have also risen in recent years.

Medicare, the federal health insurance program primarily for adults 65 and over, pays doctor and hospital bills for many older Americans. However, it doesn’t cover everything. You might be surprised to learn that regular Medicare does not cover help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and eating unless you are also receiving medical care. However, you may receive coverage for this type of care under certain Medicare Advantage plans. Check with your insurer.

Government programs like Medicaid may also offer assistance, depending on your financial situation and level of care required. Veterans benefits, if applicable, can provide additional financial support.

You can visit Benefits.gov to find government programs for which you may qualify. Your local Area Agency on Aging can also recommend services.

Programs vary by state and may change after this article is published. We recommend that you consult with your financial services advisor, an elder care attorney and a senior living expert as you plan for services.

Another option is our Friendship At Home membership plan, which combines many of the best aspects of comprehensive long-term care insurance and a premier LifeCare retirement community. We’ve outlined more details of the plan below.

The Importance of Home Care Coordination

Effective coordination of home care is crucial to ensure that you receive comprehensive and personalized care while aging at home. The process of coordinating home care services begins with a care plan that aligns your needs with suitable in-home care options to help you maintain your independence while accessing necessary support.

Retire at Home on Your Terms

Friendship At Home Combines Planning, Care Coordination and Home Care Coverage

Cheerful senior woman who's aging in place.Through our Friendship At Home membership plan, we’ll help you plan an independent retirement lifestyle at home. Then, you can keep living in your familiar surroundings, free from worries about changing health needs and the cost of long-term care.

This plan is available to central Ohio residents 62 and older who live in their own homes or in our new Bailey at Bridge Park 55-plus active adult community.

Here’s a quick overview of how it works:

  • Join after age 62 while you’re relatively healthy, active and independent.
  • Meet with a personal care coordinator who will help you plan to live independently at home, with contingency options for future health needs.
  • Available 24/7 and just a quick call away, your coordinator will arrange care if needed.
  • You’ll pay a one-time membership fee and predictable monthly payments.
  • Unlike Medicare, we pay for in-home care – up to assisted living, memory care and skilled nursing care – in the comfort of your home.
  • Unlike typical long-term care insurance, we start paying as soon as you need care – with no waiting periods or coverage caps.

Start Planning a Worry-free Future at Home Today

Chat with a Friendship At Home Membership Counselor today about pricing and eligibility for this one-of-a-kind program. Call 614-881-4468 or click on the link below to schedule a consultation.

Remember, the sooner you join, the sooner you can relax and enjoy your retirement at home, knowing you have a solid plan in place to handle the “what-ifs” of life and cover the costs of in-home care.

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