In-Home Care in Alaska
Located along the shores of the Pacific Ocean and Beaufort and Chukchi Seas in the northwest corner of North America, Alaska is the biggest state in the country in terms of landmass. More than half of Alaska’s 731,545 full-time residents live in the Anchorage metro area in the southern region, and seniors aged 65 and older make up 12.5% of the state’s population. The average cost of in-home care in Alaska is $5,621 per month based on 44 hours of service weekly, which is well above the national average of $4,290.
This guide covers the cost of in-home care in Alaska as well as programs that seniors can use to help pay these fees. There’s also links to several free and low-cost resources to help Alaska seniors remain independent in their own homes, and information on the rules and regulations for in-home caregivers in the state.
The Cost of In-Home Care in Alaska
In-Home Care Costs in Nearby States
Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey shows that the average cost of in-home care in Alaska is $5,621 per month, based on 44 hours of service weekly. These care costs in Alaska are $1,331 above the national average of $4,290 and significantly higher than prices in three of the four nearest states along the northern border — Idaho, Montana and North Dakota. Only Washington state has higher average in-home costs than Alaska at $5,720 per month.
United States Average
Cost of Other Types of Care in Alaska
At a monthly average cost of $5,621, in-home care costs in Alaska are slightly less than the price of home health care services, $5,716. Adult day care is the least-expensive senior care type in the state at $3,328 per month, while assisted living costs an average of $6,000 per month. Nursing home care is by far the most expensive care option at a statewide average cost of $30,219 per month.
Home Health Care
Adult Day Care
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home Care
The Cost of In-Home Care in Alaska’s Top Cities
Although the statewide average cost of in-home care is $5,621, actual charges may be higher or lower, depending on the location. Homemaker costs in Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city by population, average $5,711 per month, while average costs are lower in Fairbanks at $4,957 per month. Prices in the cities of Washington state, the nearest state to Alaska, are higher at $6,244 in Seattle, $6,292 in Mount Vernon and $5,815 in Bellingham.
Mount Vernon, WA
Financial Assistance for In-Home Care in Alaska
Alaskans Living Independently Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver
Alaskans Living Independently is a Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver that provides care coordination, transportation, environmental modifications and chore services to seniors who need support in order to remain in their own homes safely. The Waiver also covers home meal delivery, specialized medical equipment and private duty nursing services.
Who Is Eligible?
Seniors aged 65 and older with Medicaid coverage and adults who are classified as disabled by Medicaid and meet the clinical criteria for nursing home placement may qualify for enrollment in the ALI Medicaid Waiver.
How to Apply
Contact the nearest office of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Senior and Disability Services.
Community First Choice Personal Care Services Program
Alaskan seniors and adults living with disabilities who need help with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, laundry, housework and shopping for essentials, may be eligible for support services through the Community First Choice Personal Care Services Program. Previously known as the Personal Care Assistance Program, this state Medicaid program is administered by the Department of Health and Social Services.
Consumers may receive in-home care services through either a contracted agency or manage their own care through the Consumer-Directed PSC program.
Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for services through the PCSP, Alaskans must require assistance with at least one activity of daily living as verified by a registered nurse or licensed physician, but not need the level of care generally provided in a nursing home setting. Applicants must also be eligible for regular Medicaid, known as Denali Care.
How to Apply
Contact the Community First Choice Personal Care Services Program unit of Alaska’s Department of Health and Social Services, PCS Unit of Senior and Disability Services by calling (800) 478-9996.
Alaska Senior Benefits Program
The Alaska Senior Benefits Program provides low- and moderate-income Alaskans with a monthly cash benefit to be used towards the cost of in-home care. The benefit payments are dependent on income and range from $76 to $250 per month.
Who is Eligible?
To qualify for Senior Benefits, applicants must be aged 65 or older, a permanent Alaska resident and either a U.S. citizen or a qualified alien.
How to Apply
Seniors can apply for the Alaska Senior Benefits Program by contacting their nearest Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Public Assistance office.
More Ways to Pay for In-Home Care
While the above programs help many people finance in-home care, they won’t cover all costs for everyone. There are other ways to pay for in-home care, including out-of-pocket arrangements with siblings, annuities, reverse mortgages, private insurance, and more. Read Caring.com’s Guide to In-Home Care Costs to learn more about these alternative payment options.
Free and Low-Cost In-Home Care Resources in Alaska
Alaskans aged 65 and older have access to a variety of free and low-cost programs designed to help older adults remain safe and healthy in their own homes. These programs include Medicaid and health insurance counseling, legal assistance, transportation and nutrition services.
|Alaska Office of Veterans Affairs||888-248-3682||Alaska’s Office of Veterans Affairs helps veterans, dependents and survivors secure their maximum entitlements through local, state and federal benefit programs. Veteran Service Officers can help vets obtain service records, apply for VA pension programs, including the VA Aid and Attendance and Housebound enhanced pension benefits, and arrange transportation to regional VA medical clinics.|
|Aging and Disability Resource Centers||855-565-2017||Alaska’s Aging and Disability Resource Centers are federally mandated to help seniors and people with disabilities remain as independent as possible by facilitating access to support services, including in-home care services. There are six regional ADRCs located throughout the state that seniors can contact to learn about local programs and supports in their community.|
|Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, Senior and Disability Services||800-478-9996||Senior and Disability Services is the state agency responsible for developing and maintaining programs to promote health and independence among older adults and those living with disabilities.|
|Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program||Contact the nearest distribution agency||The Alaska Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) gives eligible low-income seniors vouchers that can be exchanged for Alaskan grown fruits, vegetables and honey at participating farmers’ markets, farms and roadside stands from June 1 to October 31 each year.|
|Heating Assistance Program||1-800-470-3058||Low-income Alaskans who have trouble paying for their home heating costs may qualify for the Heating Assistance Program, a home heating credit available to homeowners and renters.|
|State Health Insurance Counseling and Assistance Program||1-800-478-6065||Seniors who need help navigating their health insurance options can schedule a free, one-on-one in-person or phone appointment with a volunteer SHIP counselor. These counselors provide unbiased information about Medicare, Medicare Advantage, Medigap and Medicaid benefits and services.|
In-Home Care Laws and Regulations in Alaska
Alaska’s 17 state-licensed and federally certified Home Health Agencies are required to comply with state-mandated health facilities certification and licensing standards. In-home caregivers who deliver services through one of these 17 agencies are covered by these regulations, while private-pay providers are unregulated in the state.
|Scope of Care||Home care providers can offer non-medical services, including assistance with personal care, housekeeping, meal preparation, companionship and help with errands.|
|Care Plan Requirements||Private pay providers are not required to maintain care plans for clients. Providers who are funded through Medicaid waivers must develop and maintain individual care plans for clients that detail service delivery, service goals and hours of care provided each week.|
|Medication Management Requirements||In-home caregivers can provide medication reminders and assist with self-administration, but they cannot dispense or administer medications unless they hold a valid medical license or registration.|
|Staff Screening Requirements||Direct service providers and agency administrators must successfully pass a state criminal record check.|
|Staff Training Requirements||Agencies are free to set their own staff training requirements in accordance with a client’s needs.|
|Medicaid Coverage||The Alaska Independent Living Medicaid Waiver and the Community First Choice Personal Care Services Program includes coverage for in-home care.|
|Reporting Abuse||Anyone who witnesses or suspects abuse, neglect or exploitation of an elder should contact local law enforcement or file a report within 24 hours by calling Adult Protective Services at (800) 478-9996. By law, caregivers must report all incidents of neglect, self-harm or abandonment of vulnerable seniors.|
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does In-Home Care Cost in Alaska?
According to the Genworth 2019 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of 44 hours per week of in-home care in Alaska is $5,621 per month. Actual costs vary depending on location and may be higher or lower than the state average. Homemaker costs in Alaska’s most populous city, Anchorage, average $5,711 per month, while further north in Fairbanks, fees are $754 less at $4,957 per month.
Are There Programs to Cover Home Modifications in Alaska?
Yes. The Senior Access Program provides up to $15,000 towards medically necessary home modifications for Alaska seniors aged 55 and older who own their homes, and up to $10,000 for those who reside in a rental unit. To qualify, applicants must first exhaust all other funding sources, have an annual household income at or below 100% of the area median household income and have documentation from a medical professional or caseworker verifying the need for home modifications. The Alaskans Living Independently Medicaid Waiver also funds home modifications for seniors and adults with disabilities.
What Types of Services Does a Home Care Aide Provide?
Home care aides, also known as homemakers, provide non-medical care to seniors and adults living with disabilities. These care services can include assistance with personal hygiene, light housekeeping, laundry and meal preparation, pet care, and help with grocery shopping. Some homemakers may also run errands, assist with scheduling medical appointments and accompany clients on walks and shopping trips.
What Support Can Help Me Age at Home?
Many seniors are able to safely age at home with assistance from family members, friends and caregivers. This support may include help with physically demanding tasks, such as doing laundry and housekeeping, shopping for groceries and maintaining a lawn and garden. Some older adults also benefit from assistance with personal care, such as bathing, getting dressed and grooming.
What Are “Activities of Daily Living”
Activities of daily living, often referred to as ADLs, are the daily tasks everyone needs to perform in order to maintain a basic level of health and personal hygiene. These activities include using the toilet, getting dressed, bathing and grooming and moving around one’s home.