Are Elderly Diabetics Eligible for Home Health Care?

Author: Lauren Greaves 

Reviewed by: Catherine Braxton

Yes, elderly diabetics are eligible for home health care. Home health agencies prove a valuable resource for seniors with diabetes, helping them manage their condition and improve their overall quality of life. With medical care brought directly into their residences, individuals can comfortably age in place while receiving the support they need to thrive.

Understanding Home Health Care Services for Diabetes

The American Diabetes Association reports that over 38 million people in the United States live with diabetes, and an estimated 30% of seniors aged 65 and older have the condition. Proper management of diabetes in elderly individuals proves essential in mitigating the risk of developing serious health complications, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, eye problems and nerve damage. Home health care promotes continuity of care by bringing diabetes care directly to an individual’s residence, allowing seniors to maintain their independence as they age. It encompasses a range of medical services, often ordered by a doctor as part of a senior’s treatment plan.

Home health care typically involves the combined efforts of an interdisciplinary team of health care professionals, including certified nursing aides, physical and occupational therapists, speech therapists and licensed nurses. Visiting nurses play a crucial role in diabetes management. Some of their tasks include administering insulin, monitoring blood sugar levels and providing education and information on proper self-care techniques. Additionally, certified nursing aides can offer practical assistance with meal preparation, medication management, adherence to dietary guidelines and diabetes meal planning. Physical therapists may also help seniors with diabetes stay active and manage mobility issues.

Medicare Coverage and Eligibility

Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes receive coverage for several items to help manage their symptoms, including screenings, testing equipment, diabetes drugs and certain supplies. Additionally, Medicare often covers home health care services for seniors who meet specific criteria and require skilled nursing services or therapy to manage their condition. Eligibility typically demands a physician’s order stating the medical necessity of home health care, as well as a plan of care established by a health care professional. Talk to your doctor, or use Medicare’s online search tool to find certified home health agencies in your area.

Exploring Additional Support Options

Medicaid enrollees may receive coverage for physician-ordered home health care services through home and community-based services waivers. Consult your state’s profile on the Medicaid Home & Community Based Services page for details about eligibility and the services covered. Long-term care insurance may also cover home health care coverage, though certain limitations may apply. Seniors who prefer privately funded care can utilize several payment options, including personal income, savings, family assistance and reverse mortgages. To explore their options further, individuals and families should reach out to their local Area Agency on Aging for information about other avenues of financial support, low-cost alternatives and volunteer-based services available in their community.