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What Is Home Care? Services, Cost, and Options

Find home care options

What is home care?

Home care is a professional service for seniors who want to receive supportive care in the comfort of their own home. This care may include companionship, help with activities of daily living (ADLs), home health care for medical needs, or a combination of these. Sometimes also known as in-home care or domestic care, home care may help seniors safely age in place and give family members peace of mind.

Personal care, or assistance with ADLs, is the most commonly used in-home care service. However, services are customized to meet a senior’s unique needs. Here are examples of other popular nonmedical home care services:

  • Help with errands, cooking, and housekeeping
  • Incontinence care
  • Mobility assistance
  • Specialized care and supervision for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia

 

Nonmedical in-home care services are usually provided by personal care aides. The role of a personal care aide is to provide companionship, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and help with household chores. Home health care services are provided by or under the direct supervision of licensed nurses and therapists. The role of home health care providers is to monitor a senior’s health and deliver skilled medical and rehabilitative care.

A Place for Mom offers advice on caring for a parent at home, information on the different types of in-home care, tips on hiring a caregiver, and more. Our guidance can help you make informed decisions about your loved one’s care.

CARE OPTIONS

What Is Nonmedical Home Care? Services, Costs, and Payment Options

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CARE OPTIONS

Assisted Living vs. Home Care: What’s the Difference?

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Let our care assessment guide you

Our free tool provides options, advice, and next steps based on your unique situation.

Caring for a loved one at home

Many older adults prefer to age at home and can often do so with the support of family and professional caregivers. Recognizing changes in your loved one’s health and behavior will help you understand when it’s time to offer more assistance, hire in-home care, make home modifications, or consider senior living options. To avoid caregiver burnout, it’s also important to consider your own limits when caring for a loved one at home. The following articles address red flags to look for, ways to improve home safety for seniors, and how to navigate important care decisions.

AGING PARENTS

10 Signs Your Elderly Parent Needs Help

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6 Benefits of Home Care and Home Health Care Services

Learn about the six primary benefits that home-based care provides for both seniors and their families.

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Aging at Home: Essential Tips for Safe Home Care

Use these tips and a home safety checklist to help your loved one age in place successfully.

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How to Deal With Irrational Elderly Parents Who Refuse Help: 10 Useful Tips and Strategies

Explore helpful strategies to keep the conversation productive and free of judgment on both sides.

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Moving Senior Parents Into Your Home? 8 Helpful Questions to Ask

Ask yourself these important questions to determine if this arrangement is right for you and your family.

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Types of in-home care

There are many different home care services that can help seniors preserve or improve their quality of life at home. These services are split into two main categories: nonmedical and medical.

Nonmedical home care may consist of companion care, homemaking assistance, personal care, or some combination of these. Older adults who live alone may benefit from companion care, which offers emotional support and socialization. For seniors who just need a little extra support around the house, homemaker services can provide help with laundry, chores, and cooking. Personal care provides nonmedical support with daily activities like dressing and bathing.

Home health care is medical in nature. It’s usually prescribed for homebound seniors who require skilled care at home for a health condition or after a hospital stay. Services can include skilled nursing care, like wound care and medication administration, and skilled rehabilitation services, like physical therapy. Home health care services are provided or at least overseen by licensed medical professionals.

CARE OPTIONS

Home Care vs. Home Health Care: What’s the Difference?

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AGING PARENTS

In-Home Care for Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias: What You Need to Know

Caring for a parent with dementia can be rewarding, but family caregivers may need additional help. Explore helpful resources and learn signs that you might need assistance.

Read the full article

A Complete Guide to Home Companion Care

Learn how a home care companion can support seniors living independently by providing socialization and help around the ...

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What Type of Home Care Worker Can Help My Loved One?

In-home caregivers like home health nurses, companions, and personal care aides provide a range of essential services fo...

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In-home care services for seniors

Hub - help with personal care icon

Personal care

Personal care consists of assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs): dressing, bathing, feeding, toileting, continence care, mobility, and transfers. This is often the type of care seniors need to continue living at home rather than moving to a senior living facility.

Home care costs

The median cost of nonmedical home care is $30 per hour, according to proprietary data gathered by A Place for Mom. Where your loved one lives and the level of assistance they need are the primary factors that affect overall costs. The following articles offer a more in-depth look at home care costs and how they compare to the cost of other senior care types.

COST

How Much Does Home Care Cost? A State-by-State Guide

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COST

How Much Does 24/7 Home Care Cost? An In-Depth Guide

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Payment options

Assistance for seniors living at home can be expensive, but there are several payment sources that can help cover home care costs. The way a family pays for home care will often depend on the type of care their loved one needs.

Most families pay for nonmedical home care out of pocket. Private pay methods may include funds from a personal savings account and retirement or pension payments. Some seniors may also use benefits from a long-term care insurance policy or funds in a health savings account.

Depending on their financial situation and medical needs, some seniors may qualify for home care coverage through public insurance programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. Eligible veterans and their spouses may also tap into a variety of benefit programs offered through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Explore the following resources to learn more about the different ways to pay for home care.

PAYMENT

How to Pay for Home Care

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PAYMENT

Is Home Care Tax Deductible? What You Need to Know

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Choosing a home care provider

Families can hire a caregiver through a home care agency or choose to hire an independent caregiver directly.

Home care agencies can often reduce the stress of finding and managing an in-home caregiver for a loved one. They typically screen employees by interviewing them and doing background checks. Agencies match caregivers to a senior’s needs and personality and will provide a substitute if their regular caregiver is out sick. Agencies also handle payroll and taxes.

Hiring an independent caregiver usually provides more flexibility and offers the family more control over the interviewing and selection process. Independent caregivers may be less expensive than those hired through an agency, but this arrangement requires the family to take on the responsibility being the caregiver’s employer. This may include doing background checks, interviewing, scheduling, and administrative tasks.

Each type of home care provider has its own benefits. It’s important to find a caregiver who will get along well with your loved one and provide a high quality of care. The following guides cover everything you need to know about choosing a home care provider.

CHOOSING CARE

Hiring an In-Home Caregiver: A Step-by-Step Guide

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CHOOSING CARE

Top 10 Questions to Ask a Home Care Agency

Use these questions to interview and compare multiple home care agencies before hiring.

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How to Choose a Home Care Agency

Learn about the specific steps you can take to help you and your family choose the right home care agency.

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Is It Better to Hire a Private In-Home Caregiver or Use an Agency?

Learn the differences between a private in-home caregiver and an agency caregiver. Compare costs, benefits, and drawback...

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Explore more home care topics

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CARE OPTIONS

6 Benefits of Home Care and Home Health Care Services

CARE OPTIONS

Home Care vs. Home Health Care: What’s the Difference?

PAYMENT

Does Social Security Pay for In-Home Care?

CHOOSING CARE

Home Care vs. Nursing Homes

CARE OPTIONS

Senior Respite Care: Time Off From Caregiving

COST

How Much Does In-Home Dementia Care Cost?

Have more questions?

Ask an A Place for Mom local advisor at no cost.

Home Care

Home care relies on trained aides to provide companionship and non-medical care for seniors living at home.

Top states for Home Care

6.8
Alabama, AL
197 facilities
8.5
Alaska, AK
14 facilities
7.7
Arizona, AZ
340 facilities
7.6
Arkansas, AR
121 facilities
7.8
California, CA
1862 facilities
7.6
Colorado, CO
292 facilities
7.9
Connecticut, CT
314 facilities
8.5
Delaware, DE
36 facilities
8.5
8.0
Florida, FL
1321 facilities
7.7
Georgia, GA
739 facilities
5.7
Hawaii, HI
24 facilities
8.7
Idaho, ID
99 facilities
8.0
Illinois, IL
641 facilities
7.5
Indiana, IN
364 facilities
5.0
Iowa, IA
98 facilities
6.9
Kansas, KS
107 facilities
8.2
Kentucky, KY
108 facilities
7.9
Louisiana, LA
155 facilities
8.6
Maine, ME
25 facilities
8.0
Maryland, MD
467 facilities
8.1
Massachusetts, MA
418 facilities
7.3
Michigan, MI
379 facilities
7.8
Minnesota, MN
193 facilities
7.2
Mississippi, MS
62 facilities
6.6
Missouri, MO
192 facilities
8.5
Montana, MT
19 facilities
8.1
Nebraska, NE
54 facilities
7.5
Nevada, NV
57 facilities
7.6
New Hampshire, NH
43 facilities
8.0
New Jersey, NJ
473 facilities
5.0
New Mexico, NM
47 facilities
8.3
New York, NY
370 facilities
7.5
North Carolina, NC
481 facilities
8.5
North Dakota, ND
11 facilities
7.8
Ohio, OH
420 facilities
7.5
Oklahoma, OK
75 facilities
6.7
Oregon, OR
109 facilities
7.1
Pennsylvania, PA
722 facilities
6.5
Rhode Island, RI
21 facilities
8.0
South Carolina, SC
233 facilities
8.5
South Dakota, SD
11 facilities
7.6
Tennessee, TN
273 facilities
7.6
Texas, TX
916 facilities
7.4
Utah, UT
86 facilities
6.8
Vermont, VT
14 facilities
7.5
Virginia, VA
507 facilities
7.8
Washington, WA
242 facilities
8.0
West Virginia, WV
28 facilities
7.0
Wisconsin, WI
175 facilities
3.0
Wyoming, WY
7 facilities

The information contained on this page is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal, or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney, or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.