Budgeting for In-Home Care

Mom isn't ready for assisted living. She wants to stay in her own home. Yet, the need for help with the activities of daily living, such as housekeeping, meal preparation and shopping, is becoming more clear by the week. It may be time to consider in-home care to preserve her independence and physical health.

Here are some of the benefits that in-home care, such as here at Right at Home Southern Maryland, can offer:

  • Senior home care services preserve seniors' self-sufficiency, social connections, and the activities in the community that have sustained them emotionally as well as physically. It can be more cost effective to use in-home care than to move and pay monthly assisted living fees.
  • Staying in the home by using senior home care services promotes the highest level of functioning and health among familiar and comforting surroundings.

For family caregivers, senior home care services help with several common challenges:

  • Caregivers experience "burnout" when trying to keep up two households, transport parents to medical appointments, help with cooking and gardening and other chores. This stress may impact caregivers' own health and well-being.
  • Family caregivers dread being in the position of "putting" a parent in a nursing home or other care setting when the parent doesn't want to go
  • In-home care may be a great alternative in many cases. In-home care can prevent a negative impact to working caregivers' career advancement, and help to avoid the accompanying financial toll.

The first step is to determine what tasks need to be done and the hours the tasks will take. The question most seniors and family caregivers ask first is how to pay for in-home care. If you have been following the current discussion of healthcare reform, you've seen that there is a great movement towards providing more community-based services, including in-home care. There is hope that funding for home care will be increased as more and more seniors strongly express the wish to stay home, even as their healthcare needs increase. But at present, Medicare and Medicaid only pay for limited health services at home. So, most seniors and family caregivers pay for in-home care themselves. As you budget for in-home care, don't overlook these possible resources:

  • Check your insurance and long-term care insurance policies. Although most policies cover only limited services, it's also true that long-term care insurance policies have evolved over time. Some even provide a cash benefit that can be used for any type of care the covered person wishes—including senior home care services.
  • The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits may provide in-home care for eligible veterans and survivors through the Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit.
  • Community organizations and volunteer programs provide home services in some states. Contact your local Area on Aging to find out if government-provided services are available in your area. Check online at www.eldercare.gov or call (800) 677-1116.
  • Reverse mortgages allow a person to tap the equity in the home if it's paid off or if there is only a small mortgage left. The money received is tax-free and will not affect Social Security payments or Medicare benefits.

Next, it's time to look at income and expenses in the way that you would when the need for any new expenditure arises. Here are some possibilities that you might not have considered:

  • For one month, track all expenses so that you can see how money is actually being spent. Usually there are one or two expenditures that are a big surprise. Maybe the television is almost never on, yet money is flying out the window for cable? What about memberships or subscriptions that your loved one may no longer be enjoying?
  • Do you already pay for housecleaning or laundry? An in-home caregiver can provide light housekeeping and laundry services.

Many seniors eat a lot of prepared convenience food, because it's easy and quick. But convenience food can be expensive. It helps to use coupons, and check the grocery store ads ahead of time when making the grocery list. But even better, a home health aide can plan meals, shop for foods and prepare nourishing dishes from scratch. Extra portions can be cooked and frozen.

As you can see, there are many ways that in-home care can save money. What might at first seem like an added expense may well be the very puzzle piece that helps the family budget remain sound. There are only so many hours in a day. In-home care like Right at Home Southern Maryland allows family to concentrate fully on work obligations with peace of mind, knowing that their parent is safe at home with their needs met. The cost of in-home care is money well spent.

Right at Home St Charles MD
Share this resource

Need help right now? Call us anytime at

(301) 645-0040