The bottom line is: Care, in general, is costly whether it’s in-home care, skilled nursing, or a Continuing Care Retirement Community. The best thing to do is to be proactive and prepare for the inevitable requirement for help in your home.
What do you mean "prepare?
1. Recognize that you may require in-home care at some point in your life. To have funds set aside you have two choices:
a. Secure a long term care policy for you and your spouse or:
b. Save wisely. Recognize that you may be wise to put away $500K to solely go towards care.
2. When it comes time for care, seek out trusted and vetted resources to help you create your circle of support (i.e. your care team). A trusted or vetted resource could be a great in-home care agency and/or a geriatric care manager/advocate. Your goal is to determine your needs with the help of professionals, have them come meet you and/or your loved one in the home, discuss various care options with cost in mind and then form a care plan.
You are not going to avoid the cost of home care but you can play some defense around spending too much or carelessly. What are some of the things you can do?
1. Use only what you need. Try to schedule in-home care when it’s vital. Try not to have dead time. The more you can work toward a consistent schedule the better. Two benefits:
a. With a consistent schedule comes consistent caregivers. One of the no-no’s in home care is to be parading different caregivers in every week. Every family benefits by consistent caregivers.
b. You can save money by not overscheduling care.
2. Family member caregiving (with caution) – it maybe that siblings like to visit and be the caregivers some time. We’ve found when done right, we can build a home care plan which integrates agency caregivers with family. We caution families not to go too far. Caregiving is not for everybody and speaking from experience, you want to minimize family caregiving so you can remain the son/daughter.
3. Adult Day Care – if your loved one has cognitive challenges and needs daily 7 to 5 PM monitoring, adult day care can be a godsend. I also know this from personal experience with my Mother Emily. A daily cost for adult day care ranges from $50 to $85 a day. That’s a bargain when considering personal care can cost $24/hr.
4. Veteran aid and attendance – if you or your loved one served during a war time period you may qualify for an aid and attendance stipend from the VA on a monthly basis. The A&A Pension can provide up to $1,794 per month to a veteran, $1,153 per month to a surviving spouse, or $2,127 per month to a couple. A veteran filing with a sick spouse is eligible for up to $1,410 per month.
5. Leverage your local senior centers – some senior centers offer exercise, educational and social programs. Using local transportation options which include Uber, your love one can spend time at the senior center to break up the day.
6. Care from volunteer’s. Many times Churches have people who can volunteer time as caregivers. In Cary, we have a great not for profit called The Center for Volunteer Caregiving that can help families that don’t have a lot of funds get some help through volunteers.
In summary, the best way to manage escalating elder care is to be proactive and make a plan. Seek out experts to help answer your questions and help you build a plan. Good home care agencies like ours regularly help our clients with this. Our ultimate goal is to help our clients with the best care whether we provide it, work with other’s in our circle of support or simply refer people to the right resources.