Many older adults prefer to age at home without assistance, but sometimes this isn’t possible due to declining health or dementia. One option to help seniors remain in their homes longer is in-home care, a type of nonmedical help with day-to-day life provided by trained aides. But how much does home care cost, and is it the right next step for your loved one?
The national median cost of home care is $30 an hour, according to A Place for Mom’s proprietary data.
Costs for in-home care may vary based on several factors, including your loved one’s location and their care needs. For example, if they live somewhere with a high cost of living, you should expect to pay higher rates. The opposite is true for seniors who live in areas with a lower cost of living. State regulations affect the cost of care as well — several states require that agencies and/or their caregivers are certified, while others have capped costs for elder home care.
The following table provides the median hourly rates for in-home care in each state in 2023, based on data collected from A Place for Mom’s home care partners.
* A Place for Mom does not have home care cost data in these states.
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How much your family will pay for home care ultimately depends on a few factors, including what home care services your relative needs and how often they need this support.
Before beginning your search for in-home care, consider how much help your loved one requires. Do they live independently but want assistance with a few chores? Or do they require full-time help due to changes in physical or cognitive abilities?
Agencies will help you with this step if you’re unsure. They’ll perform a needs assessment and work with you and your loved one to develop a personalized plan of care. This plan might include companionship, homemaker services, hands-on help with activities of daily living (ADLs), like dressing and bathing, or some combination of these. Services that require a higher level of training, such as dementia care, or that are provided more frequently, such as live-in care, may cost more.
Most home care aides and agencies charge by the hour. They often have a minimum number of contracted hours — generally two to four hours per day or seven hours per week — to cover transportation and staffing costs.
Some home care agencies will offer contracts for weekly or monthly care if a family determines their elderly loved one needs significant assistance on a regular basis.
By starting home care early, seniors may be able to age in place longer without worrying about isolation, nutrition, or household responsibilities. Some common schedules and costs are listed below. These price estimates are based on A Place for Mom’s median in-home care cost of $30 an hour.
7 hours a week: $910 a month. Healthy, independent seniors may be able to get all the care they need from a few short visits a week. Housework, companionship, meal preparation, and cleaning can be accomplished in this time frame for less than $1,000 a month. Seven hours a week is generally the minimum requirement for home care agencies, though some have higher or lower thresholds.
15 hours a week: $1,950 a month. A two-to-three-hour daily check-in can benefit seniors who need more care but are independently mobile and cognitively sound. Several hours in the morning could provide necessary assistance with bathing, dressing, and preparing meals for the day.
30 hours a week: $3,900 a month. A 30-hour week may be ideal for seniors living with family caregivers who work. It’s also ideal for seniors who prefer companionship and social stimulation. Thirty hours a week equates to six hours a day for five days, time a senior would otherwise be alone while their family caregiver is at work.
44 hours a week: $5,720 a month. Forty-four hours of care would provide coverage for a family caregiver who works full-time and doesn’t want their senior loved one to be alone. An aide could assist with all ADLs, including toileting, dining, and bathing. For an aging loved one who requires help with a chronic condition that prevents them from being alone safely, this may be an ideal schedule.
Live-in home care: $21,840 a month. Agencies and private caregivers have different price structures for more intensive schedules like round-the-clock care and live-in home care. For example, the price of live-in care depends on the number of care aides needed, sleeping arrangements, and room and board. The costs of this this type of care can vary greatly on a case-by-case basis.
Families looking for in-home caregivers have two options: hiring a private—or independent—caregiver or using a licensed home care agency. There are benefits of and drawbacks to each, but both options are usually paid for privately.
Private in-home caregivers will generally cost less than an agency because they don’t have the same overhead costs. However, it’s worth considering more than hourly rates when deciding whom to hire. Costs that are usually covered by an agency become the client’s responsibility.
Additional costs for the family may include conducting background checks or having an attorney review contracts. Also, private caregivers may not have worker’s compensation insurance, making any accidents on the job potentially costly to families.
There’s no specific payment structure for hiring a private caregiver. A caregiver and a client must work together when developing a care plan and drawing up a contract, which may offer both parties more flexibility when it comes to rates, hourly minimums, and other terms.
Families typically pay more for agency caregivers than for private caregivers. This is because agencies cover overhead costs such as background checks, workers’ compensation, and liability insurance. Plus, agencies often provide continued training and certification for their employees.
Though agency care is generally more expensive, it removes scheduling and paperwork burdens from families. Agencies take care of hiring and administrative tasks like contracts and taxes. Using an agency may also provide peace of mind to families. For example, if a caregiver is sick or unable to work, the agency will provide another aide, preventing gaps in care.
Our advisors help 300,000 families each year find the right senior care for their loved ones.
The cost of home health care after a surgery or illness depends on the amount of care a senior needs and their insurance coverage. Because short-term home health care services are typically prescribed by a doctor, Medicare, Medicaid, and private health insurance plans will usually cover at least some of the costs if a senior meets certain criteria.
Medically necessary services such as injections, wound care, and physical and occupational therapy are usually covered in addition to prescribed durable medical equipment.
Nonmedical services such as assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and other homemaking tasks may be covered if these services are part of a patient’s post-surgery care plan.
Read related article:After-Surgery Home Care: Tips for Seniors and Caregivers
The national median cost for assisted living is $4,807 per month, according to data collected from A Place for Mom’s partner communities.  The cost of nursing home care is considerably higher with the median cost of a private room totaling $9,034 each month. But it’s important to keep in mind that, beside the differing costs, there are several characteristics that set these care types apart.
At $4,807 per month, the cost of assisted living is slightly lower than the cost of a 40 hour per week in-home caregiver, which totals $5,280 per month.
Caregivers at assisted living facilities offer similar services as home caregivers, from help with ADLs to housekeeping and transportation. These types of care are not designed for seniors in need of extensive medical care.
Here we compare assisted living and home care by looking at what’s included in the price:
Nursing homes provide comprehensive medical care in addition to personal care services. That’s why, at about $9,034 a month for a private room, nursing home costs are the most expensive among senior care facilities.
The following list illustrates some other important differences between in-home care and nursing home costs:
Caring for an aging parent can be challenging, especially when they prefer to age in place. But families who need assistance often turn to in-home care for help providing care for their loved one and respite for themselves. If you think home care may be the right choice for your family, A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors can help simplify your search by connecting you with local agencies that fit both your loved one’s needs and budget.
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