Aware Senior Care Blog

 Eight Experts' Advice on How to Make Home Care More Affordable

Eight Experts' Advice on How to Make Home Care More Affordable

Making home care affordable can be a challenge. By keeping a loved one involved in decisions about their care and maintaining one's health, they will feel more comfortable about accepting assistance.

How to Make Home Care More Affordable

When an older adult needs extra help around the house, home care is often the first service one receives and it usually involves a few hours a week. Consumers believe it's the least expensive type of care since it's received at home.

Home care is commonly presented as a service to assist aging seniors, but it's a valuable resource when a person at any age has an injury, accident or surgery or is suffering from a chronic illness. Besides that, home care serves as a useful respite service for families when they need to take a break.

But home care agencies and professional caregivers continue to face competition from assisted living and residential care homes. If given the choice, people want to remain at home for as long as possible. That's why they hire home care workers to help them with laundry, meal preparation, cleaning and running errands. At some point, the client may need help with bathing, grooming and getting dressed. The healthier the older adult stays, the less need for added services which keeps the costs down. When the care recipient slides the downhill spiral of ill-health, the expense of in-home care will grow and become the reason to avoid as long as possible.

Resistance to care costs is a challenge. By keeping a loved one involved in decisions about their care and maintaining one's health, they will feel more comfortable about accepting assistance. Addressing the costs resistance is key for home care agencies to successfully grow business.

But what can home care owners do to mitigate it?

How could home care agencies adapt their current services to meet the demand of low-cost care?

To me, it's one issue that must be tackled head on for seniors to receive the proper and best care possible. Here are tips and advice from aging professionals who deal with resistance every day:

  1. "Home care agencies should partner with non-hands on services like handyman, cleaning, shopping services, transportation and others who don't charge an hourly rate and don't need to be hired for a minimum number of hours. The model is being done successfully by restaurants and a few doctors." Caryn Isaacs, GetHealthHelp.com
  2. "It is important for agency owners to educate families about the associated costs of home care. The cost of home care is much more than just the wage of the direct care worker. All caregivers need to be thoroughly screened and vetted, insured, under supervision and trained. Back up caregivers need to be in place. Very "low-cost" home care should be a concern and a red flag." Laurie Miller, AppleCareandCompanion.com
  3. "To keep care costs down, family members will need to get involved in the health care plan of the care receiver especially if chronic illnesses are involved. Then learn the skills of transferring if you have someone who uses a wheelchair or needs help getting out of a chair or bed. Keep all family members in the loop about medical tests results. And always take care of yourself and take breaks from caregiving." Donna Schempp, At Home with Growing Older
  4. "Be an extra set of eyes and ears for the customers you serve who are aging home alone, especially when their needs escalate in areas outside of the need for in-home care. Does the customer have a pet that needs walking outdoors? Does the lawn need mowing? Offer referrals for local resources. Become an invaluable resource and partner to the people you serve." Joy Loverde, ElderIndustry.com
  5. "When home care services are introduced to the elderly loved one, it is usually met with heavy resistance. So rather than having a caregiver come into the home immediately; home care companies are doing wellness phone calls scheduled a few times a week. Once there is an established relationship or signs of service needs then home care hours are increased accordingly." Admond Fong, SeniorProviders.com
  6. "Family caregivers desiring home help don't utilize it because of the 4 hour minimum. Paying for more time than wanted stops caregivers who want to run errands alone or complete self care. Getting trained home care for a short time is almost impossible due to time minimums. The result is leaving a caree home alone in often unsafe conditions. More flexible fee structure would be beneficial." Kathy Birkett, SeniorCareCorner.com
  7. "We will try to accommodate requests for short visits by assigning a caregiver who has another visit in close proximity. When clients are flexible, we are able to do this. We also hire caregivers who want to work short hours- and try to fit the client's request into their availability." Gina Murray, AwareSeniorCare.com
  8. "Many services that seniors need grocery, pharmacy and other errands can now be accomplished through online delivery systems. Unfortunately they often lack the computer skills necessary to access these conveniences. A low-cost, but tech savvy helper could do a weekly online ordering for the care recipient." Margo Rose, BodyAwareGrieving.com
Quick suggestions that help mitigate resistance are: suggest a trial run, describe care in a positive way, explain the needs of the family, and address the cost head on.

Originally published at HomeHealthCareAgencies.com with permission of the author.

After seven years of helping her aging parents, Carol Marak has become a dedicated senior care writer. Since 2007, she has been doing the research to find answers to common concerns: housing, aging and health, staying safe and independent, and planning long-term.
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