Can Home Care for $5000/Year Be Better Than an ALF for $5000/Month?
Who wouldn’t prefer to pay $5000 for a year’s worth of care vs. $60,000 ($5000/month)? And, over 90% of seniors wish to stay home, so it’s not just a matter of cost savings. But, the question is whether that care can be as good or better? What will $5000/year get you? And, how can you make a little bit of home care go a long way?
What is $5000 of home care vs. $5000 of facility care?
According to the “Cost of Care Survey — 2018” by Genworth, home care costs less than other options like adult day care, assisted living and skilled nursing. The national average cost of home care per hour is $21.50 per hour. That varies by state and we charge $23/hour in the Tampa Bay area. So, that means $5000 would buy you about 250+ hours, or 4–5 hours/week of home care.
And, imagine if you doubled that budget to $10,000/year, still saving over $40,000/year over the facility cost. For that, you could get almost 10 hours/week of personalized home care services.
For a care facility, $5000 would be an average cost for just one month. This ranges from an average of $3700 for a small Assisted Living apartment (and up, depending on the level of care, room size and amenities) to $7000+ for a nursing facility. Basically, if you need less than 40 hours/week of home care, it is typically less expensive than facility-based care.
Beyond Cost: Comparing Quality of Care and Other Factors
Routine and Familiarity
Home means a familiar, comfortable environment. For many elders, especially those with memory/cognitive issues, change causes difficulties and stress. A care facility operates on a group schedule. Residents generally have to conform to the established routine. This means waking up and going to bed and eating meals at specified times. Facilities offer activities and services during limited hours. This set schedule is beneficial for some elders, who gain socialization and organization. However, for others, this routine does not fit their preferences or lifestyle. Some elders may have a hard time adjusting and may even decline.
Space and Environment
ALFs in Florida are required to have a minimum of 60 square feet per resident for shared rooms, or 80 for private rooms. Along with this, they need an additional 35 feet of living and dining space per resident. Meanwhile, the average home in the U.S. is 2392 square feet, based on the 2010 census.
Personalized Care and Continuity
Home care is one-on-one, or one-on-two for couples care. It can be personalized to very specific needs and preferences. Additionally, all levels of care can be provided in the home with the right resources. A person or couple can be cared for from needing a little household help through being bedridden and under hospice care.
How to Make a Little Bit of Home Care Go a Long Way
You may be thinking four-eight hours per week doesn’t seem like a lot. While it may not cover all an elder’s needs, a caregiver can accomplish a lot in a short time. For example, in four hours, a caregiver can do some laundry, light housekeeping, prepare a meal and clean out old food from the refrigerator and help the client with a bath. And, there are a lot of services and technologies that can be used to make that bit of help go further.
Wondering if home care is right for your loved one? Not sure how much is enough or how to make the best use of a few hours/week? Get a professional assessment.
To help a few hours of personalized home care go further, and ensure the elder’s safety, here are some action steps and resources.
- Evaluate the home environment’s safety. A care manager can provide a comprehensive assessment with detailed action steps and recommendations. You can also begin to take a look at key safety issues in the environment with our room-by-room home safety checklist.
- Set up easy resources to address nutrition. With good nutrition, a senior stays stronger and maintains a healthy immune system. This is essential as we all age, but especially vital for those with chronic health conditions or who need special diets. Some resources we recommend: Shipt for grocery delivery and meal services like Dinner Done, Blue Apron or Meals on Wheels.
- Check on medication safety. Make sure your loved one has had a recent medication review with their doctor or pharmacist. Our patient advocates recommend a regular review to check interactions, but also to find out if any medications can be eliminated or simplified. The more complex the medication regime, the more chance of dangerous errors. Beyond that, we recommend using a service like Medicine Shoppe, which will manage refills, provide multi-dose packaging and even deliver. Depending on your loved one’s needs, you can also consider personalized medication assistance or set up one of the many technological and app-based medication reminder solutions.
There are so many resources and services (some even free or discounted) to help support elders at home. We wrote about some of those listed above and more in a blog post (these are actually not just for seniors!).
To learn about what’s available to help and evaluate if affordable, personalized home care is right for your loved one, give us a call (727–447–5845 or 813–333–5020) or reach out online. An ounce of prevention now can save you from a crisis and a heavy bill later.