Resources & Services
Chapter 3: Services for Family Caregivers
Written by Suzanne Boutilier

As family caregivers, we can’t be expected to do it all—at least not all of it well. Balancing our jobs and caregiving along with raising our own children. There’s no shame in outsourcing some of the responsibilities that land on our shoulders. Below are some services that we can take advantage of to lighten our load.

Home Care (also referred to as Non-Medical Home Care)

Local home care agencies can provide professional caregivers to assist with ADLs and provide companionship for our older loved ones. Many LTCI policies cover this service if the policyholder can’t perform a certain number of ADLs on their own. Remember, ADLs include: walking, hygiene, dressing, feeding, continence, toileting, transportation, meal prep, and light housekeeping.

The average cost for professional in-home care delivered by a home care agency in the U.S. is about $26/hour. And many agencies require a minimum number of hours and/or shifts per week. Independent in-home caregivers may charge less, but LTCI policies may not cover their care. And we may be left having to find fill-ins when the regular caregiver needs to take time off.

Home Healthcare

Home healthcare is a range of health services provided to treat an illness or injury, aid in recovery, independence, and maintain current function in the home.

If a homebound, aging family member has Medicare and needs part-time or intermittent skilled services, Medicare may cover their home health services. To qualify, their doctor must certify the need for home health care, and a Medicare-certified agency must provide the services.

Covered services include skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, medical social services, home health aide care, medical supplies, and durable medical equipment. 

Medicare doesn’t cover 24-hour care, meal delivery, homemaker services unrelated to the family member’s care plan, or custodial care.

Hospice Care

Hospice is specialized care that focuses on the quality of life for individuals approaching the end of life. It provides physical comfort, emotional, social, and spiritual support for the patient. Hospice care is family-centered and includes the person with the illness and their loved ones in decision-making and planning care.

How Hospice Care Helps Family Caregivers:

Emotional Support: Hospice teams help families and caregivers accept the reality of a loved one's terminal condition, providing guidance, normalization of the process, and emotional support.

Education: Family caregivers are educated on what to expect during the end-of-life phase, how to manage symptoms, and how to provide care effectively.

Respite Care: Some hospice programs offer respite care, allowing family caregivers to take a break from caregiving responsibilities to rest and recharge.

Bereavement Support: After a family member passes away, hospice teams provide bereavement support to help family caregivers cope with the loss.

Different Kinds of In-home Care

Sources: Elite Learning, Hosparus Health

Cleaning and Yard Work Services

Light housekeeping is often an included service of professional home care. This commonly includes:

  • Dusting open surfaces
  • Sweeping and mopping floors
  • Vacuuming around furniture
  • Wiping down counters
  • Washing and putting away dishes
  • Cleaning bathrooms and kitchens
  • Taking out the trash
  • Changing sheets and making the bed
  • Organizing drawers, shelves, and closets

Beyond that, the cost of cleaning and yard work most likely will have to come out of the caregiving budget, whether ours or our family member’s.

Senior Centers

Senior centers offer a variety of benefits to older adults, including social engagement, health and wellness programs, meal services, transportation assistance, and more. Research shows that participating in senior center programs can improve physical, social, spiritual, emotional, mental, and economic well-being.

These centers are typically funded through various sources, such as local tax dollars, federal and state governments, fundraising events, grants, participant contributions, donations, and volunteer hours. Membership is usually free and open to all seniors within the local area. Senior centers play a crucial role in enhancing the quality of life for older adults by offering a wide range of programs and activities tailored to their needs. And they can provide a few hours of respite for family caregivers.

Adult Day Care Services

With a median daily rate of $85/8-hour day at an adult day care facility, this is one of the most affordable forms of care for an aging family member. It enables many family caregivers to keep working full-time while our family member is in a safe environment that offers social interaction and medication management. Even if we don’t work, we can take advantage of adult daycare for occasional respite.

Meal Programs

Meal prep and delivery for aging adults may be available locally through a number of sources. The costs and coverage for these programs vary. 

Federal Government Meal Programs

The U.S. government supports Meals on Wheels America, which delivers meals to individuals aged 60 years and above. Eligibility for meal delivery varies by program and location.

The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), as noted previously, may also provide meal delivery for participants.

State and Local Meal Resources

The Administration for Community Living's Eldercare Locator connects users with local organizations providing meal delivery services. Medicaid may require verification of assistance with daily living activities to cover the cost of meal delivery.

Nonprofits and Private Companies that Offer Meal Delivery

Nonprofit organizations like Mom's Meals and Chefs for Seniors offer meal delivery services, sometimes at reduced rates or free of charge for qualified individuals. Some Medicare Advantage plans may also cover meal delivery services, particularly for short-term, post-hospitalization support or for individuals with chronic conditions. Medicaid may cover home-delivered meals for qualified individuals based on their state's guidelines.

At RubyWell, we’re paving a path to financial stability for all family caregivers. Right now, you can access coupons for up to 80% off prescription prices with our prescription savings tool, and soon you’ll be able to discover unused Medicare Advantage Supplemental Benefits on our MA Benefits Navigator. Ultimately, we’re developing compensation solutions so that every family caregiver can be a paid caregiver. If you’d like to be among the first to hear about future products, join our waiting list.

Continue Reading:

Chapter 4: Support Groups for Family Caregivers

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Chapter 1: Government Programs for Seniors and their Family Caregivers

Chapter 2: Resources for Family Caregivers

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Chapter 4: Support Groups for Family Caregivers
Written by Suzanne Boutilier
Suzanne Boutilier has been working and writing in the caregiving space since 2021. She also helps her sisters care for their aging father.
Reviewed by Elyse Dasko
Elyse Dasko is a leading communications strategist in age tech, caregiving and the longevity market.