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Demystifying the cost of elderly home care–why does it cost what it does?

Most seniors want to age in place—to remain in their own homes as long as possible so that they can remain connected to the people, places and activities that they love. Aging, however, presents several challenges for people who want to remain independent and at home. That’s where home care is often useful, having caregivers come into the home to provide assistance with everyday tasks can help you, as a family member, or your loved one remain independent for the long term.

If you’re looking at getting the help of a home care company like Pillar—or even if you’ve already decided you need to hire a caregiver, you may be wondering how much that care is likely to cost you and your family (families often share the cost of care). We’ll go over some of the factors that go into the cost of home care, and help you prepare to talk about costs with home care companies. Ultimately, you should make sure you get the care that is appropriate for your loved one’s needs. However, if you start the process with a budget range in mind, and knowing something about what companies charge for home care, getting the right care will go much more smoothly.

There are four key factors that go into the price of home care.

  • the type of care that is required
  • the loved one’s health
  • the amount of care that is needed, and
  • where you or the loved one lives (which may be to separate places).

Where you live is a big factor over home care costs for the same reason that where you live impacts the cost of everything too. If you live in an area with a relatively high cost of living such as a big city, you can expect to pay above the national average for home care. The reverse is also true: if you live in an area with a lower cost of living, you can generally expect to pay less. However, it’s important to point out that in less urban areas it may be much harder to find caregivers and they may need to be transported to your location, which would involve some additional cost.

The client’s current health status will also be a factor in the fees charged. Many companies, like Pillar, can provide caregivers specially trained to address chronic health conditions like congestive heart failure, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, and other illnesses. Many companies also train caregivers in the specific needs of those suffering from Alzheimer’s or other memory diseases. Because dealing with such issues usually requires more experience and special training, a client with such issues may have to pay a higher hourly, daily or monthly fee for care.

The type of care needed is also a major consideration. At Pillar, we usually assess the “dependency level” of the loved one by assessing their health conditions, their ability to move about and other factors. Therefore, on a scale ranging from roughly “independent” to “very dependent,” it’s important to assess how much time and effort–and if specialized care is needed–goes into caring for a loved one. A client may need help with “Activities” of Daily Living” such as bathing, dressing, etc. Other clients may need more significant help such as with getting out of bed, into a car, etc. Still other clients may be bed-bound. These issues will be factors in assessing the cost of care.

Another factor to consider in the cost of care is the amount of care a client is expected to need. While someone needing longer care visits can naturally expect to pay for every additional hour, your home care company may consider other issues as well.

Most home care companies require each visit by a caregiver to last a minimum number of hours in order to make sure that the time they spend will cover overhead expenses, the caregiver’s pay, and the caregiver’s transportation costs. Some other home care companies may not require a minimum visit—but will instead increase their hourly rate if care is needed below a certain number of hours per day, per week or per month.

However, for those who need more hours of care—and especially for those requiring live-in or 24-hour care—many home care companies will lower their hourly rate to reflect this need, and oftentimes propose a weekly or monthly fee. Obviously, most people cannot afford a higher hourly rate for 24 hours of service and home care companies adjust their fees accordingly. In addition, companies may offer a discount in the amount they charge, for example if the client commits to several weeks or months of care.

The biggest cost factor, representing 80% or more of the cost of care, is the caregiver’s salary. To attract qualified and experienced caregivers, companies must pay them a fair and reasonable wage so as to retain them over time and to keep them satisfied with the results of their efforts. The fact is, for caregiving companies, it is not a high margin business. They cannot reduce caregiver costs significantly or else they won’t have any qualified caregivers to work for them. Even after the 80% cost for caregivers, there remains overhead costs including having an office, administrative staff, marketing costs, and so on.

We can help you find a qualified, professional and compassionate caregiver. Fill in this quick form and we’ll get right back to you: https://www.pillarcare.com/hire-a-caregiver or text/WhatsApp/call at: +601548400160