What is 24-Hour Home Care?
24-hour, in-home care is not the same as “live-in care.”
With 24-hour in-home care services, your loved one is cared for by three to four experienced caregivers during each 24-hour window. The caregivers will work 6- to 8-hour shifts, so there is no need to provide a separate room or sleeping accommodations. Quite the opposite, the caregivers are awake throughout their shifts, providing continuous observation, supervision, and help as needed.
This is very different from live-in care, where caregivers require a space of their own and truly “live” in the home, sleeping at night (but willing to be awakened/alerted when the client needs help).
Average 24-Hour In-Home Care Cost
The average cost for private, in-home care in Massachusetts ranges from $28 to $35/hour. While this may seem steep at first, it’s important to recognize the multiple benefits factored into those costs.
General caregiver services include:
- Trained, experienced, tailored care/support for your loved one
- Grocery shopping and meal prep
- Toileting (including issues related to incontinence)
- Medication reminders
- Prescription pick-up refills
- Errand running
- Transportation to local events, appointments, social activities
- Light housekeeping (dishes, kitchen/bathroom cleaning, laundry)
- Linen changes
- Walking assistance to prevent falls
- Pet Care
All of these services are included in the hourly fee, which is not always the case for assisted living facilities, who often charge extra for personal, hygiene, transportation, mobility assistance, etc., services.
Hourly in-home care charges also include other benefits to caregivers and the client/family:
- Fair wages
- Further training, education, and certification for home care aides
- Health insurance
- Paid time off for sick, personal, and vacation days
- Immediate replacement for a caregiver who has to call in sick
- Taxes, social security, and workers compensation insurance
When you review these fees, you’ll see that the 24-hour in-home care cost is quite reasonable and far more affordable than if you pay an independent caregiver a lower hourly wage. In that case, you – as the employer – must additionally cover the associated costs of having an employee (taxes, benefits, insurance, backup plans, etc.).
Some agencies offer a cost break for clients utilizing 24-hour services, versus only paying for care during the daytime or nighttime shifts.
Even so, the $200 to $350 per day it may cost you for 24-hour care keeps your loved one at home, in a familiar and comfortable space, with easier access to the people, pets, and belongings they love for less than it costs to fund full-time care at an assisted living or nursing home facility.
The Invaluable (and unquantifiable) Benefits of In-Home Care
Those bullet points represent the quantifiable benefits clients/families/caregivers receive from agency-based caregiving. Then, there are those invaluable and un-quantifiable benefits of 24-hour in-home care:
Comfort and security of Home
Some seniors desire to move out of their homes, ready to downsize and enjoy the community benefits of an assisted living community. However, studies show that the large majority of seniors prefer to remain in their own homes when given the chance. According to AARP, 75% prefer to do this for as long as possible.
Not only that, but a recent, evidence-based report from LeadingAge frames the multiple benefits to seniors who choose to age in place, “Research suggests that aging in place initiatives may yield cost savings to families, governments, and health systems as well as health, emotional, and social benefits to aging seniors and the broader community.”
The ultimate in personalized care
We’re very proud of the high-quality, facility-based care available here in Massachusetts. Even so, the ratio of client-to-caregiver is never one-to-one, as is the case with in-home senior and memory care.
When your loved one has dedicated caregivers coming to the home, s/he benefits from more connected, intimate, and personalized care and a bond that is incomparable to that available from staff in a facility.
Continued connection to family, history, and traditions
Facilities do their best to provide a sense of home in their rooms. However, there is nothing that replicates the home and spaces where an individual’s and family’s history and memories took place.
The more we learn about reminiscence therapy (photos, music, stories, movies, etc.) and its positive effects on memory care, the more it’s clear we are that living at home offers a version of “reminiscence therapy” on a 24/7 basis.
Paying For 24-Hour In-Home Care Costs in MA: Know Your Resources
Paying for senior in-home care requires careful planning and consideration. The good news is that there are plenty of resources at your disposal.
Read our post How to Pay for In-Home Care for more detailed information. There, we provide examples of potential funding options:
- Personal/retirement savings and investments (perhaps that “rainy day” is here!)
- Veterans Administration and other public benefits
- Personal assets
- Family support
- Creative options
- And more
By learning all you can about senior care funding options, the more affordable potential out-of-pocket expenses will be.
Once you’ve reviewed your options via online research, we highly recommend scheduling two or three in-home assessments with prospective, 24-hour in-home care providers. The combination of research and in-home assessments will provide a clear sense of which agency is the best fit for your loved one and your family.