Home is a calming place, a place of comfort; that’s why, as people age, remaining at home becomes very important. The great news is that, with an abundance of home care agencies on the market nowadays, it’s more possible than ever for an older loved one to remain at home for as long as he or she ages. However, when assistance is needed, shopping for in-home care can be a bit overwhelming. The following are some of the top questions we’ve heard from people shopping for home care.

Is my loved one eligible for home care? Anyone is eligible for home care services for which one privately pays a fee. Eligibility does come into play, however, if you are looking for help paying for care from any source other than private funds. Elder law attorneys and estate planners can be very helpful when planning for the payment of long-term care. Most states have Area Agencies on Aging that also provide help understanding eligibility for community-based services.

What about Medicare? It is a common misconception that Medicare will pay for long-term care needs, when in fact the opposite is true. Medicare is health insurance coverage provided by the United States government for people over age 65 that covers skilled medical care; it does not customarily cover assistance with daily living activities such as bathing, dressing and grooming. Some benefits may be available for short-term home health care, but only if certain conditions are met.

How can I pay for home care? There are multiple ways to fund in-home care, including retirement savings such as pensions and life insurance policies or long-term care insurance. Some states offer a home care allowance through their Department of Social Services, and there may be other organizations within your state that offer assistance. Talk to a financial advisor and a home care agency to come up with a solid plan for affording care.

Shopping for home care services can be a bit intimidating, but it’s important to ask questions and understand all the choices that are available to you in order to make the best care decision for your loved one. If you are beginning the process of searching for home care for yourself or a loved one, contact our Bristol home health experts at Live Free Home Health Care in New Hampton, NH for a list of recommended questions to ask when interviewing agencies for home care.