" Mom needs financial assistance to help with the costs of her home care, and it is my understanding that there may be options available in the state of California to provide this financial assistance. Can you please provide me with some guidance re: this elder care financial matter? "

Answer:  Unfortunately, homecare is not covered by medical insurance.  In our society, what is referred to as “private duty” homecare is considered non-medical, as opposed to “home health,” which includes skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy.  That means that private duty homecare is not covered by Medicare or other forms of medical insurance.  In many cases, that homecare is as vital to the wellbeing of our clients as an RN visit, because the activities of daily living (ADLs) which we support are necessary if a person is to successfully live at home (for example, assistance with eating, dressing, toileting, transfers from bed to chair, and so forth).

So, how do we pay for homecare?  In many cases, private duty homecare translates to private pay homecare, with families looking to their own resources to pay the cost. 

Fortunately, an increasing number of our clients have obtained long-term care insurance policies, which provide a great deal of support toward the cost of in-home care, as well as, if needed at some point in the future, assisted living facilities.  There are many good sources of information on the Internet concerning long-term care insurance.  One consistently good source is AARP.  You can start with their basic page on long-term care.

A second important source of financial support for in-home care for some of our clients is Veterans Affairs Aid and Attendance Benefits.  The Aid and Attendance program reimburses clients who qualify a significant portion of homecare costs.  The process for applying is a bit complicated and lengthy, but it can be well worth it.

There are obviously other sources of income for seniors who want to “age in place” in their homes, including reverse mortgages, and so forth, but long-term care insurance and Aid and Attendance are the two every senior and every family should look at, whether it is for a senior today or planning for homecare in the future.
 For help with the process, every County in California has an officer in charge.  You can find your contact through the Web site of the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers.

Bert Cave
Support For Home
Sacramento, California  95825
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