When your older adult lives at home, but needs help with daily activities, it may be time to hire an in home caregiver. And if you’re their primary caregiver, getting help allows you to take regular breaks so you won’t get burned out or harm your health. But hiring a caregiver is expensive.
Daily Caring highlights the 8 most helpful ways to save money on in home care.
1. Hire an in home caregiver privately instead of through a home care agency
Hiring a caregiver on your own typically costs 20-30% less than hiring one through an agency.
However, this method won’t work for everyone. Agencies usually take care of things like background checks, bonding, insurance, training, worker’s comp, taxes, and backup care if the caregiver isn’t available.
When you hire privately, you’ll be responsible for everything.
2. Use technology for monitoring and companionship
Nothing can take the place of in-person help and companionship, but technology can be used to reduce the number of hours an in home caregiver needs to be present.
For example, monitoring or medical alert systems make sure older adults are safe, medication systems make sure prescriptions are taken on time, video chats allow family to check in frequently, and online shopping cuts down on errands.
3. Take advantage of tax credits and deductions
You may be able to get state or federal tax credits or take deductions for caregiving expenses, especially if you claim your older adult as a dependent.
Tax preparation software or advisors can help you with these. Or, consider getting free tax help from an IRS-certified volunteer.
4. Get low cost home modifications to reduce fall risk
Making their environment safer goes a long way to simplifying caring for an older adult and giving you peace of mind.
Many states and non-profit organizations give financial help to low income seniors for home modifications that will make their homes safer and more accessible.
5. Use free or low cost respite care to reduce in home caregiver hours
State and non-profit organizations offer respite programs – essentially, free or low cost caregiving for seniors that qualify.
For example, if you got 10 hours of respite care from one of these programs, that means you’d have 10 less caregiver hours to pay for.
Organizations with respite programs include: Alzheimer’s Association, Veteran’s Administration and National Family Caregiver Support Respite.
6. Sign up for free or low cost meal services
The need to shop and cook makes it tough for many seniors to eat regular, healthy meals – both because of the cost and the physical labor involved.
Meal services like Meals on Wheels provide healthy subsidized meals, including delivery.
Signing up for a meal service means not needing an in home caregiver to shop, cook, or prepare food – reducing the number of hours you’ll need to hire them for.
7. Reduce home heating and cooling costs
Utility bills are expensive, especially with the weather becoming more and more extreme. There are two ways to reduce these costs.
1) Public energy assistance programs called LIHEAPs that help pay for utilities.
2) State weatherization assistance programs that help pay for home modifications that reduce energy usage.
8. Enroll in an adult day program
Adult day programs are places where seniors go during the day for care, meals, and activities.
The cost per day is much lower than in home care and seniors get added benefit from the social interaction. Many day programs even offer transportation services to shuttle seniors to and from home.
To get full-time care, but keep costs low, you could combine a few days at an adult day program with a couple of days of in home care. Or, have your older adult attend an adult day program full-time for even more cost savings.
This article was featured at Daily Caring