In-Home Care for Your Parents: What You Need to Know Financially

long term care insuranceWhatever age your parents are, it’s a good idea to think about the possibility of them needing some level of care now or sometime in the future. One type of care is in-home care, and it’s a great option for many older adults because it allows them to remain in their own home and receive the help they need. This way they feel comfortable and get to maintain their independence — two things no one wants to lose.

If you’d like to know more about home care so you can make the right decisions for your parents, this article should answer many of the questions you may have. Deciding on care for your aging parents is an important issue, and you want to make sure that a lot of research and thought go into it.

What Is In-Home Care?

In-home care — also known as home care or aging in place — is when seniors receive non-medical support services delivered at their home. It is an alternative to nursing homes or assisted living communities. This type of senior care may be good for your parents if they only need minor assistance with daily activities. Home care solutions may include having a live-in companion or a nurse who checks in daily.

Types of services generally offered:

  • Monitoring diet
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Grocery shopping
  • Performing errands and transportation
  • Walking assistance
  • Help with bills and mail
  • Light housekeeping
  • Closet and pantry organization
  • Picking up prescriptions
  • Companionship and conversation

Talking to Your Parents About In-Home Care

Discussing the need for help with your parents can be quite difficult, but remember this is ultimately about what is best for them, and you want to have this conversation before something happens. The time to broach the topic with your parents is now, even if they are doing well on their own. The best thing you can do is to try to understand what your parents are thinking and feeling. Allowing a stranger to come into your house and admitting that you need help are not easy things to do. Think about how they feel before you approach your mother and father.

After doing your research, try to get your parents to understand what home care is and how valuable it could be to them. Focus on the ability to stay at home — a huge advantage that usually costs less money than other types of care. You may also want to emphasize to your dad, for example, how much a little extra care would benefit your mom. Another option is to focus more on you. Let your parents know that you are overwhelmed and unable to provide them with adequate help. This way you are the one needing assistance, and they might want to help lighten your load.

Understanding When In-Home Care Is Needed

Home care may be needed if you notice things are out of the ordinary for your parents. Maybe they are usually quite neat, but when you come over to their house, you notice things are out of order. Or, maybe they stop getting dressed they way they used to. Other signs may be missing appointments, difficulty walking, forgetfulness, poor diet and forgetting to take medications.

Paying for In-Home Care

How you and/or your parents will pay for care is certainly one of the most important things to consider. Most home care companies will bill on an hourly basis, and rates vary widely depending on where you live. Medicare and Medicaid do not pay for home care in most instances. Here are some other ways to pay for in-home service:

  • Health insurance. Some insurance plans provide for home health care, so check your parents’ benefit statements and policies.
  • Long-term care insurance. These policies are intended to cover the costs of care at home or in a nursing facility.
  • Veterans Administration. If either of your parents served in the U.S. military, financial assistance may be available.
  • State and local programs. Your local department of aging or area agency on aging or other local and state-funded programs may offer limited care for seniors who meet certain criteria.
  • Viatical life settlements. If your parents have life insurance policies, some companies offer insurance owners the option to sell their policies in exchange for a lump sum payment greater than the cash surrender value.

About the Author: Joe Houston is a former nurse who provided home-care services. He believes long-term care insurance is a valuable investment and recommends checking out for more information.

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