Can All Elderly Receive In-Home Care?

Author: Tiffany Stockton

Reviewed by: Brindusa Vanta

Not all elderly can receive in-home care, which consists of nonmedical support with daily activities. Accessing these services depends on financial resources, health needs and eligibility for financial assistance programs. For example, Medicaid’s Home and Community-Based Services waivers provide funding for in-home care services based on specific criteria. Those who require extensive medical attention, specialized equipment or around-the-clock monitoring should consider other options.

Understanding In-Home Care

In-home care has become popular, enhancing seniors’ quality of life while allowing them to maintain independence in their own homes. Often, friends or family members provide this care, influenced by cultural norms and family traditions that shape preferences for in-home versus institutional care. It’s important to respect the individual’s values when considering care options provided by someone other than family. 

In-home care differs from home health care, which also occurs at home but involves medical services and care. In-home care includes:

  • Assistance with bathing, dressing or grooming
  • Medication reminders
  • Companionship
  • Meal prep or delivery
  • General household chores
  • Money management, paperwork or bill paying
  • Transportation to appointments

In-home care doesn’t include:

  • Physical, occupational or speech therapy by licensed professionals
  • Services provided by a registered nurse
  • IV therapy or wound care
  • Pain management
  • Lab tests
  • Treatment of an illness
  • Pharmaceutical services

Determining the Qualifications for In-Home Care

Health status and care needs determine an elderly individual’s suitability for in-home care. Seniors with complex medical conditions, severe cognitive impairment or high dependency levels require more intensive care that exceeds the capabilities of in-home caregivers. For example, individuals with advanced dementia or those needing specialized medical treatments often require around-the-clock supervision. This type of skilled nursing care requires institutional settings, such as nursing homes, memory care or assisted living facilities. If individuals can’t easily converse with a caregiver and need more than basic assistance, they should look into leveling up their care.

Financing Elderly In-Home Care

Financial resources also impact the level or type of care available to elderly individuals and their families. Paying for services provided by in-home care gets expensive, especially if insurance, Medicare or Medicaid doesn’t cover all or part of the costs. While some seniors have sufficient financial resources to afford private-pay home-care services, others struggle to cover the expenses, particularly those with limited retirement savings or who live on fixed incomes. In these cases, accessing government-funded programs or community-based resources help ensure affordability and access to in-home care services.