Frequently Asked Questions About Home Care in Rochester NY

Deciding on Types of Care Services

How do I know if my aging loved one is ready for home care services?

Here are some of the signs that an aging loved one may need some help at home.

  • Lack of housekeeping: Dishes piling up in the kitchen, dirty floors, or large piles of unwashed clothing, general change in housekeeping habits.
  • Poor hygiene or change in personal hygiene habits. Wearing the same clothing for several days.
  • Bills not being paid.
  • Personal finances being neglected, checks bouncing.
  • Inappropriate clothing choices (not wearing a coat in cold weather, not wearing shoes, wearing heavy clothing during hot weather)
  • Confusion in the kitchen: Not remembering to turn off burners, leaving the oven on, leaving items in the oven and forgetting about them. Food being left out, leaving the water running.
  • Changes in behavior: Odd conversations, signs of paranoia, accidentally taking too much medication, phone calls at odd hours, unusual fears and nervousness … all of these things may be signs that your parent needs help.

What is the difference between home healthcare services and private duty home care services?

Home healthcare services are typically medically necessary. They are paid for by Medicare or other health insurance, and have been ordered by a physician. Private duty home care services are typically non-medical, companion care services, including errands, light housekeeping, light meal preparation, medication reminders, light laundry, grocery shopping, transportation to and from appointments, taking walks, and getting the mail. Private duty home care services are typically paid for privately or with long-term care insurance, reverse mortgage proceeds, or Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension Benefits, or some combination of these programs.

What is the difference between in-home care and senior housing options, like assisted living?

In-home care keeps seniors safe in their own homes by providing either hourly or live-in care services. Most seniors would prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. Assisted living facilities are for aging adults who need more care, or need a safer environment. Assisted living facilities are a great option for people who become confused easily, may wander or who need regular medication administration by a med-tech or nurse

What is the difference between in-home care and adult day care services?

In-home care keeps seniors safe in their own homes by providing either hourly or live-in care services. Most seniors would prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as possible. Adult day care services allow a senior to stay in their own homes – however, the senior leaves their home for the day and is cared for at an adult day center. This provides the senior with socialization, medication administration, and activities. Some seniors thrive in these types of environments while others may prefer to stay at home in familiar surroundings.

Paying for In-Home Care

Does Medicare or health insurance pay for in-home care?

Medicare and traditional health insurance only pay for “skilled care”, meaning the care must be ordered by a physician, must be medically necessary, and must be monitored by a health care professional.

In the case of Medicare, the client must also be home-bound and unable to run errands, or engage in activity outside of the home. Medicare and traditional health insurance pays for very limited amounts of care, for very brief periods of time.

Companion care and non-medical home care are typically not paid for by Medicare or traditional health insurance

Does long-term care insurance pay for in-home care?

In some cases, long-term care insurance will pay for non-medical home care. Look at the care recipient’s policy and call the customer service telephone number or the agent that sold the plan. There is usually (but not always) an elimination period that must be met before long-term care insurance picks up the bill. Claims must be processed per the terms of the policy. 

How much does home care cost?

According to the MetLife Cost of Care study for 2011, the national average private-pay hourly rates for home health aides and homemaker/ companion services remain unchanged from 2010 at $21 and $19 respectively. The lowest average hourly rates for home care came from the “Shreveport Area” of Louisiana at $14 for a home health aide and $13 for a homemaker/companion. The highest average hourly rates for home care came from the “Rochester Area” of Minnesota at $34 for a home health aide and $29 for a homemaker/companion. Costs in our area range from $18-$24 per hour. Hourly rates vary depending on the length of visit and care needs.

How do people pay for in-home care services?

In-home care services can be paid for in a variety of ways such as- using private funds, using long-term care insurance, and with funds from the VA Aid and Attendance Pension Benefit. In order to use any of these programs (aside from private funds) there are certain qualifications that must be met.

Does the home care agency pay the caregiver’s state and federal taxes, or am I responsible?

Private duty home care agencies will pay the caregiver directly. They will take care of taxes and insurance. You and your family will not be responsible for these items. If you use a registry, match-maker service or hire a caregiver privately, you will be responsible for taxes, insurance and other requirements. Make sure you know the laws that apply in your state. Caring Hearts of Rochester pays all taxes, insurance, unemployment, and workmen’s comp.

Differences in Home Care Services

What is the difference between a home health aide and a personal companion?

Home health aides usually have more training (some are called Certified Nurses Aides or CNAs) and can provide some medical services as well as non-medical services (like bathing, light wound care, or blood pressure monitoring). Personal companions provide non-medical care like light housekeeping, light laundry, errand running, transportation, and light meal preparation.

What is live-in care and how do I find a caregiver who will live in the home?

Live-in care means the caregiver lives in the home most of the week, and may only leave on their days off or to accompany the client. They may be replaced by another live-in caregiver on their days off. They have their own bedroom, and sleep at night when the care-receiver is sleeping. All live-in caregivers require a break during the day and during the week and will have days off. There is usually more than one caregiver assigned to a live-in case if 7 day coverage is needed. Most private duty home care agencies can provide live-in services and hourly services. Hourly caregivers do not live in the home. Live-in care is not appropriate for everyone. Hourly services may be more appropriate for seniors who need 24/7 attention, cannot be left alone and need the caregivers to be awake at night.

If my aging loved one needs care 24 hours a day, is there a difference in cost between a live-in caregiver and paying for hourly care?

Typically live-in care is cheaper than paying for 24-hour care at an hourly rate. According to the 2011 Met Life Cost of Care survey the average daily live-in rate for a home health aide is $258 and $255 for a homemaker/companion. Our rates range from $200-$240 per day. Live-In care rates vary depending on the length of visit and care needs.

Do some home care agencies specialize in Alzheimer’s Care at home?

Caring Hearts of Rochester has extensive experience caring for clients with all stages of Alzheimer’s disease.

What is “respite” care and does every home care agency provide that type of care?

Respite care is the provision of short-term, temporary relief to those who are caring for family members. Respite might be for a day, a week, or just a few hours. Most family caregivers need a break from time to time to take care of themselves and enjoy life. Caring Hearts of Rochester can provide respite care from 1 hour to 24 hours a day.

Safety with In-Home Care Services

Do all home care agencies do background checks on their caregivers?

All agencies should do a criminal background check on their employees.  Caring Hearts of Rochester performs criminal record background checks on all employees.

What does “insured” mean, and is that an important requirement for home care agencies?

Insurance covers liability issues that may arise in the course of someone’s work. If a caregiver is injured in a fall, the agency’s insurance would provide compensation, not you or your insurance carrier. Caring Hearts of Rochester carries professional liability insurance for all of our employees.

What happens if a caregiver does not show up for their shift?

From time to time caregivers may call in sick, have a flat tire on the way to work, or a family emergency that requires them to take the day off.  Caring Hearts of Rochester will provide a backup caregiver if the designated person is unable to arrive for the scheduled visit.