Financial Assistance for Senior Care

Lidia Staron   OpenLoans Marketing Manager
Personal Finance
I enjoy navigating people through important financial decisions.

This comprehensive guide will help you find financial assistance for senior care. Find federal, state, and local government resources for caregivers that can help lighten your load.

Senior assistance loan.

As one gets older, many things in life become more of a financial concern. This becomes especially difficult when you're living on a fixed income. If you don't have a sufficient amount of money tucked away or have not prepared in any way for senior living, paying for medication, assisted living, and other forms of senior care can become quite a struggle. The stress of it all can be quite taxing for an aging individual. The same goes for any family member tasked with taking care of a senior relative. Fortunately, there are several sources of financial assistance for senior care. This comprehensive guide should be able to assist you in finding the financial support you need.

Types of Senior Care

The financial options available to help you pay for eldercare will largely depend on what type of care you will be getting. For example, in-home care is not included in the types of senior care that are paid for by government programs. Paying for a skilled nursing facility, on the other hand, can be covered by the same programs.

Skilled Care vs. Custodial Care

Skilled care is provided by a skilled or licensed health care professional while custodial care is provided by a non-skilled caregiver, assisting the elderly with daily living activities such as dressing, eating, and bathing. Custodial care is typically provided for seniors with dementia. Both types of care can be provided at home or a facility such as an adult day care or nursing home.

Assisted Living vs. Memory Care

Both types of cares are provided by facilities that offer 24-hour personal care assistance, meals, social activities, and other amenities. However, memory care is specifically for seniors with dementia caused by Alzheimer's Disease, Huntington's, Parkinson's, etc. Other differences are that residences for memory care typically have a lower staff-to-resident ratio, higher security, and limited external access. Also, memory care is usually more expensive than assisted living care by approximately 25 percent.

Adult Day Social Care vs. Adult Day Health Care

Adult day care, also known as adult day social care and adult day medical care, provides seniors with supervised care during the daytime in a structured setting. This enables the seniors' caregivers to go to work during the day without worrying about their loved ones getting hurt while they are away. Adult day health care provides the same services as an adult day social care facility. However, the latter also includes medical services that you'll typically find provided in nursing homes.

Virtual Companion Care

Because of the advancement of technology, elderly persons can now live home alone without hands-on care. Instead, they are provided with a tablet computer or a similar device where the elderly person's safety and mood are monitored. The device can also remind them of when to take their medication and help them interact with others.

Palliative Care vs. Hospice Care

Loan for palliative care.

Palliative care is when patients are relieved of their pain or suffering instead of medical care where patients are treated with the objective of curing the condition. Hospice care is when terminally ill patients are provided with care during the last weeks or months of their lives. Take note that hospice care often includes palliative care. However, not all recipients of palliative care are in hospice.

Costs of Senior Care

Before you even consider where to get financial assistance, you need first to determine the cost for senior care. Unfortunately, the cost of eldercare will vary depending on the type of care as well as where the care will be provided (geographical location).

Non-Medical Home Care

Home care aids can provide seniors with non-medical assistance such as cooking, transportation, personal hygiene, and laundry. Take note that this type of care is not limited to seniors living at home; seniors in assisted living can also avail of this type of care. The national average for non-medical, in-home care in 2017 was $21 an hour. In general, the home care aide will perform several visits to the home during the week; each visit may last anywhere from two to eight hours.

Home Health Care

Unlike non-medical home care aides, home health aides can provide skilled care such as assisting seniors with medical equipment (i.e., ventilators) and checking their blood pressure, temperature, and pulse. Visits are typically shorter, but they will visit whenever it is medically necessary. The national average for home health aides in 2017 was $21 an hour.

Adult Day Care

As we've already mentioned, adult day care centers provide supervision and social activities to seniors during the daytime. The national average for this type of care in 2017 was $72 per day. For seniors who have severe medical problems and require intensive health services, an adult medical care facility is more suitable. The cost of this type of care is typically five percent to 15 percent more than a regular adult day care center.

Assisted Living & Memory Care

Assisted living residences provide seniors with help for daily living activities, social activities, and basic health services. The cost of this type of care is usually paid monthly; the national average is $3,750 per month. Additional fees may be added, depending on the level of attention that a senior requires. For patients with dementia, memory care homes are more suitable. The cost of a memory care home is typically $1,200 per month more (on average) than assisted living residences.

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes typically cost $227 per day on average, based on 2017 rates. These are skilled nursing residences that can provide the elderly with 24/7 care by licensed health professionals.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

CCRCs are residences that provide a range of care to seniors, transitioning from one type of care to another as it becomes needed – from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing. This allows elderly persons to stay in one residential location even as their health declines. It also enables couples of mixed health to stay in one residence together. Because this type of facility offers a wide variety of services to seniors, it is often the most expensive provider of long-term care. Typically, you'll need to pay a one-time entrance fee (ranging from $60,000 to $120,000) plus monthly maintenance fees that cost from $500 to $3,000. The cost will depend on the location of the facility, its size, and the current health of the senior.

Free Resources for Caregivers

Free resources for caregivers.

  • Federal Government Programs

There are several federal government programs that you can take part in to help pay for senior care. These are Medicaid, Veteran's Benefits, and Social Security. There are several Medicaid programs that provide help paying for the cost of assisted living such as the State Plan Personal Care or Personal Assistance Services, Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Waivers, and 1915 Waivers. For veterans who require help paying for assisted living, they can avail of a pension called the Aid and Attendance Benefit or the Veterans’ Directed Care. You can also pay for long-term, aging care using Social Security though it is typically not enough to cover the entire cost. If this is the case with you, then you may also try using the Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

  • Care Resources for Long-Term Senior Care

Taking care of an elderly person can take quite a toll on family members physically, emotionally, and financially. It can be quite a struggle to understand the health concerns of a loved one and how to move forward in getting the right senior care. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources for family caregivers online where they can find support, guidance, and information. These resources include Eldercare Locator, Next Step in Care, Lotsa Helping Hands, and other similar websites. You can also visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) website which lists a host of resources that you can check.

  • Federal Resources for Caregivers

Administration for Community Living (ACL)

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

HHS Office on Women’s Health (OWH)

HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (HUD)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT (OPM)

SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (SSA)

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (VA)

State Health Insurance Assistance Programs

Resources for caregivers and elderly persons will differ between states. Because of this, you'll need to make sure that you check what's available in your area. If you need to find what resources are available in your state, you can visit the list of State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) posted on the HHS website.

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