How Can You Arrange 24-Hour Care for the Elderly at Home?

Author: Sarah Williams

Reviewed by: Catherine Braxton

You can arrange 24-hour care for the elderly at home by contacting home care agencies. However, financial assistance programs generally don’t cover around-the-clock nonmedical in-home care, so you’ll likely need to fund such care privately. Alternative care settings might offer more affordable and practical options. If your doctor states that you or your loved one needs medical attention, public funding may cover short-term 24-hour home health care.

Contacting Agencies

Although many in-home care agencies don’t offer 24-hour services, some arrange caregivers at all times. Typically, three aides rotate to each work eight-hour shifts daily. Most agencies use the same staff members for caregiver consistency. Individuals should contact local agencies to learn whether they can accommodate their needs. They should also compare reviews and seek recommendations before signing a contract. Agencies then create personalized service plans in conjunction with physicians, caregivers and other medical professionals.

On the other hand, doctors generally refer individuals to specific agencies for medically necessary 24/7 home health care. However, seniors have no obligation to use such referred providers; they can still independently research and select an agency that suits their needs.     

Costs of 24-Hour Home Care and Paying for Services

Although rates vary between states, the median hourly cost of home care runs $30 in the United States, according to Genworth’s 2024 Cost of Care Survey. For around-the-clock care, this equals about $5,040 per week. Although Medicaid covers some home care costs for eligible seniors in most states — often through Home and Community-Based Services waiver programs — it doesn’t pay for 24/7 care. Medicare doesn’t pay for home care services, such as domestic assistance or help with activities of daily living unless recipients also need medical services. 

Conversely, those who need medical or therapeutic care at home may receive Medicaid funding to cover 24-hour home health care in some states. Unlike in-home care, physicians usually prescribe home health care, and seniors often pay no cost for home health care services. Those who need to self-fund care can expect to pay around $33 per hour or $5,544 per week.

Alternative Care Settings

Older adults who need 24-hour supervision or support services may find alternative care settings more appropriate. Assisted living facilities help residents with personal care and often have staff on-site at all times. Many also offer nursing oversight, although medical services are limited.Memory care communities feature around-the-clock staffing, enhanced security measures and specialized programs to support people with dementia. Nursing homes provide 24/7 skilled nursing services and medical monitoring, alongside rehabilitation therapies, dietary guidance and other clinical services for seniors with health care needs.