The terms “home care” and “home health care” sound similar, but they provide distinctly different services. Home care offers non-clinical help, such as meal prep and companionship, while home health care — sometimes shortened to “home health” — provides professional medical assistance.
Both types of care are available to your loved one in the comfort of their home and can help them age safely in place. Learn more about the costs, features, and benefits of home health and home care to determine which is the best fit for you or your aging relative.
Home health care is clinical, medical supervision provided by a licensed professional. Registered and licensed practical nurses, occupational therapists, and physical therapists can all provide home health care, often through home health agencies or, in some cases, hospice agencies. This type of care is usually prescribed by a doctor as part of a senior health care regimen following hospitalization or injury. It can include the following:
Home health care may not be necessary for seniors aging in place without significant medical concerns. It more often benefits elderly adults who require assistance with recent injuries, who are prone to falls, or who have been diagnosed with a chronic condition, like diabetes or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The median cost of full-time in-home health care for seniors is $4,481 a month, according to Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey. This is based on 44 hours of care a week. Home health care costs vary greatly by location, services offered, and the level of care a senior requires. Since home health aides are often licensed nurses and medical professionals, their rates are higher than those of home care aides who don’t offer medical assistance.
Home care provides compassion and help for seniors who need assistance with daily activities. Levels of care vary by need and can span from weekly meal prep to incontinence help. Home care aides can be hired privately or contracted through agencies. They’re trained to understand the nuances of senior care, but are generally not licensed to provide medical services. Senior home care services include help with many daily needs:
Home care can benefit a wide variety of seniors aging in place. Whether your aging loved one needs more social interaction to reduce loneliness and isolation or requires more specialized assistance, a home care aide can provide much-needed help.
Most home care aides and agencies charge by the hour. Since home care hours are often determined by need, your family’s bill can vary greatly based on the assistance your loved one requires.
The average hourly cost of home care in 2020 was $24 an hour, according to Genworth. However, location, state wage laws, and agency requirements often affect home care costs, so you may pay more or less, depending on where your aging relative lives.
Often, families find that a combination of home health and home care is beneficial for their loved one. Health professionals are able to provide medical services, while care aids assist with everyday activities. This holistic approach ensures that seniors’ emotional and medical needs are both met. Review the chart below to better understand how your loved one could benefit from home care vs. home health care and how to combine services.
Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.
Home health care generally falls under the umbrella of medical services, while home care involves daily personal assistance. Insurance tends to cover these types of care accordingly: