Nursing Home Alternatives

Nursing home should be avoided as much as possible because most seniors prefer to remain in their own homes. It gives them a sense of dignity and a better quality of life.
If a senior adult just needs help with meals and medicines, she/he should stay in their own home with help from a family member or a caregiver. Also, seniors are often safer at home with a loved one or a caregiver since they can get personalized attention.

Despite the many advantages of in-home care, too many elderly are still being placed in nursing homes unnecessarily. How can families help their loved ones to stay at home? What are the best homecare solutions? These tips can help.

1.) Share care
Pooling resources and sharing responsibilities is a great way to keep elderly parents in their homes. If the person you’re caring for lives in the same apartment building or on the same block as someone who also needs in-home care, it may be possible for them to share caregivers. Taking your loved one to a neighbor’s home even for a few hours a day means one caregiver can care for two seniors at once – cutting costs in half. Make sure you discuss details with the caregiver first so there are no discrepancies later.

Moving in with a relative or friend is also a good care solution. Ask each of your family members if they have the extra space, but remind them you’ll be there to help.

2.) Hire Part-Time Companion Care
A skilled caregiver can cost $20 to $30 an hour – or more. If insurance doesn’t cover this level of care, consider what type of help is really necessary. Is a professional caregiver required the entire day? Some seniors only need assistance at certain times, such as morning or bedtime.

3.) Work with an in-home care agency
Most in-home care agencies offer different levels of care, including lower-cost companion care. Carefully review your family member’s insurance coverage to determine what level of care is covered. Personal home care is available for those who need non-medical help with various aspects of daily living, and can give family caregivers a much-needed break. It’s highly recommended to work with an agency who offers ClearCare care management software – a point of care system that allows you to stay completely involved with your loved one’s daily care.

Utilizing this reliable caregiver software will not only give you peace of mind, but it ensures the best possible care for your loved one. With abuse of the elderly on the rise, don’t take this innovative technology for granted.

4.) Build an accessory dwelling unit
If your property has the space, you could build an accessory dwelling unit, sometimes called an ECHO (Elder Housing Cottage Opportunity). These small buildings can be designed with special features for the elderly, such as safety rails and wheelchair ramps.

Carefully review your city’s zoning laws and get an estimate of the entire project. It may be expensive, but still less pricey than long term nursing home costs when seniors really only need a little assistance to maintain their independence.

5.) Take a look at your family’s finances
For many families, lack of funds is the main reason loved ones can’t remain at home. If this is the case with you, here are a couple ideas.

• Reverse mortgage –Rather than conventional mortgages, no part of a reverse mortgage loan needs to be repaid until the homeowner moves or dies. This means that all of the money from a reverse mortgage is at your disposal for in-home care – or any other expenses, as long as your loved one continues to live in the home.

• Cash for life insurance – Check with your loved one’s life insurance to see if their policy can be cashed in with the company for 50 to 75 percent of the policy’s face value. Some policies permit “accelerated benefits” or “living benefits” only if the policy holder is terminally ill. You can also sell the policy to a life settlement company, called a “life settlement” or “senior settlement.” The amount of your settlement depends on the policy benefit amount, premiums, and condition of the policy holder.

6.) Ask about Medicaid’s HCBS
Medicaid is the medical insurance program for individuals with very low incomes and few assets, but does not include non-medical, long-term, in-home care as a standard part of its coverage. In recent years, however, Medicaid has begun to recognize that the alternative to unaffordable in-home care is nursing home care – which Medicaid does cover. As a way of allowing Medicaid recipients to stay at home (saving Medicaid nursing home costs), some states have established Home & Community Based Services (HCBS).

These services offer Medicaid coverage for a limited amount of in-home care and adult daycare. Not every state offers HCBS, so contact your local Medicaid office at to check out your eligibility.

7.) Look into the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Benefits
If you’re seeking care for a loved one who is a veteran, or the spouse of a veteran, he or she may qualify for VA benefits, which include:

• In-home care or adult daycare – The VA provides several long-term in-home and community care programs, called “extended care.” These programs are available to veterans with a service-connected disability, or to veterans who have very low income.

• Cash benefits – Depending on the nature of military service, existence of a service-connected disability, and income, veterans may be eligible for VA pension benefits, disability compensation, aid and attendance benefits, or household benefits.

To get free information or assistance regarding any VA benefit, get in touch with the VA Vet Center in your state.

8.) Check into the PACE Program

For individuals with low income, or who need more in-home care than you can provide, ask about the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). The PACE program provides full medical coverage, plus comprehensive community care. If your loved one meets the requirements, a PACE team will assess his specific care needs, develop a care plan, and be responsible for all medical and care services. PACE is only available in certain areas, so check Medicaid’s official website for a list of PACE programs.

Whichever suggestions help you keep your aging parents out of a nursing home, remember to do a thorough background check on the caregiver you hire. With elder abuse on the rise, it’s very important you do everything possible to ensure your loved one’s safety. With ClearCare’s care management software, you have real-time visibility to daily care tasks. You can also check to make sure the caregiver has arrived at your parent's home on time, and receive alerts if something isn’t done as scheduled. ClearCare’s point-of-care system is a reliable homecare solution all families are sure to appreciate.


10 Surprising Ways to Avoid Nursing Home Care – Part One

10 Surprising Ways to Avoid Nursing Home Care – Part Two


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