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8 Creative Ways to Pay for In-Home Care

8 Creative Ways to Pay for In-Home Care

By , Caring.com senior editor
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It's no fun to lie awake worrying all the time. But if you have elderly parents or other family members living alone, that's what you do, especially as time goes on and you know they aren't fully able to take care of themselves anymore. Your first thought may be of a nursing home or assisted living, but many seniors feel strongly about staying in their homes and aging in place. If that's the case, your next call is to an in-home care agency -- but first you probably want to figure out how to pay for it.

How Much Does In-Home Care Cost?

That depends on where you live. In general, pay rates in urban areas are higher than in rural communities, and still higher on the east and west coasts than in the central United States. Costs also depend on whether you're looking for homemaker services -- defined as "hands-off" care, such as cooking, cleaning, running errands, and general companionship -- or home health aide services, which include personal care, such as bathing and dressing.

A comprehensive 50-state survey of care costs by MetLife found that as of 2011, average hourly rates for home health aides ranged from $16 to $29 across the country, while rates for homemaker aides without medical training ranged from $13 to $24. These rates do not seem to be changing much over time. According to Genworth's 2012 data analysis, the median rate for in-home care of $18 to $19 an hour nationwide is rising by only 1.15 percent every five years.

But either way, the costs add up, particularly as most people eventually need care and companionship at least a few days a week, if not full-time. Before you panic, consider that many, many families across the country are finding a way to do this. And they're not just rich families, but also those who are struggling to make ends meet.