Paying for Home Care: Financial Assistance for Senior Care
Each day in the United States, about 10,000 people turn 65 years old. And while there is availability of senior care facilities, most seniors prefer to live in their own homes, creating a huge demand for home health workers, including nurses, aides and caregivers. In fact, only 5% the aging population occupy nursing homes.
According to the United States of Aging Survey, 90 percent of seniors want to stay at their homes for the next 5 to 10 years. However, two out of 10 Americans aged 70 and above say they can’t live independently and would need help from caregivers to accomplish their daily tasks.
Unfortunately, the same survey revealed that 15 percent of seniors are less confident that their finances are going to last through their retirement. Even more, 8 percent don’t have any retirement plan. One-third of those who were surveyed reported that they are financially unprepared about the costs of long-term care.
To make things worse, 72 percent of low-income seniors have a chronic health condition and nearly half of them are not confident that their finances will suffice for the next 5 to 10 years.
Financial Assistance for Senior Care
As people get older, there are a number of concerns they need to deal with and most of these things require finances. Thus, it is more important than ever to be prepared especially that most seniors will be unable to work and earn a living, accomplish things on their own, and are at a higher risk of developing chronic health problems that would require continuous medical care. While loans for seniors are available – from cash advance loans, home equity to reverse mortgages, and payday loans – there are plenty of financial support options for seniors that don’t require repayments.
Retirement Plans & Benefits
The first place for seniors looking for financial support is their retirement savings account. The most common types of retirement accounts in the US are the 401k, 403b, 457b, Thrift Savings Plan, and IRA. The most common is the 401k as it is provided to employees at their workplace. The 403b, also called TSA or tax-sheltered annuity, is afforded to nonprofit organization employees, select ministers, and public-school employees while the 457b plan is for government employees.
Insurance is another important source of financial assistance among seniors, which should cover majority of their healthcare expenses. However, it is important for people to purchase these policies when they are still young and older so as to maximize their benefits. In addition to private health insurance, there is Medicare – a government-backed health care plan. For people over the age of 50 but not yet 65, the Affordable Care Act gives them access to low-cost health services.
One less known option is the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), a Medicaid and Medicare program that is designed to keep frail seniors out of nursing homes. The program covers home care, hospital and nursing home stays, dental and doctor care, prescriptions, and sometimes, even transportation.
Low-income seniors can also take advantage of a wide variety of grants for their nutrition, education, and even housing needs. Individuals will have to go through agencies and organizations to take advantage of these. Federal grants are also available and there are plenty of them. They include grants that cover the transportation needs of elderly persons, quality rental housing, access to purchase foods and commodities from the United States Department of Agriculture as well as home delivered-meals, and to volunteer for community service.
Furthermore, many foundations offer a host of programs and services for seniors who need financial assistance with home care. The Foundation Center provides a database of organizations and institutions that support senior care.
Home care is a much better option for many seniors than staying in assisted living facilities. It is less expensive, and seniors who stay at home have a lesser risk of depression, anxiety and other mental health concerns associated with moving to nursing homes. However, senior home care does have a considerable cost too, which depends largely on the region they reside, the kind of services they need, and the duration of care that will be sufficient for that person. It could cost anywhere between $120 and $240 daily, according to the National Council for Aging Care.
While most caregivers are able to provide flexible and affordable range of care services, it still is going to hurt the pocket of many seniors especially those who don’t have enough savings or lack retirement plans. Thankfully, there are various forms of financial assistance available to qualified seniors. These include health insurance, government healthcare programs, and grants offered by both private and public institutions, and foundations. All these are geared towards making the life of seniors more comfortable amidst the struggles of their aging years.
Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.