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  • Writer's pictureKathy L. McNair, Esq.

How to Know If Your Aging Parents Need Home Care

As our parents get older, we must make tough decisions regarding their health care. It can be hard to know when to bring in professional support. Consider the following as you decide whether your aging parents need home care.

What Is Home Care? Home care is professional, supportive care offered to seniors in their homes. Home care is intended to allow older adults to stay in their homes for longer as they age, as opposed to having to move to a nursing home or other facility. Home care is typically focused on personal and medical care or temporary help with daily tasks, versus long-term care for severe illnesses. Do My Parents Need Home Care? As you decide the right time to get your parent home care, consider their overall needs. For example, if your parent cannot prepare a meal for themselves, they may benefit from a professional coming in to handle some of their daily tasks. Other examples of signs that your parent needs assistance include:

  • Your parents' mental status has changed. If you notice that they are having a hard time remembering things like the names of family members, their addresses, or other information that should be easily recalled, it may be time to take the next step and secure home care for them.

  • They cannot care for themselves properly. If they do not know how or remember to take their medication, for example, you may need someone to remind them to take their medication promptly. This also goes for cooking themselves meals and tending to their personal hygiene.

  • Your parents are at risk of falling. If your parents have unexplained bruises or show other signs of physical distress, a home care provider may give you peace of mind that your parents are not alone if they have an emergency.

You may find this needs assessment worksheet from the National Caregiver Library helpful in assessing the level of care your loved one may need.

Does Medicaid or Medicare Cover Home Care? In Massachusetts, Medicaid (also called "MassHealth") provides home care for those that meet certain financial and medical criteria. Having an income of less than $2,523, gives someone the best chance of qualifying for Medicaid programs. However, in cases where a person needs significant care, that person may still be able to qualify for help even if his/her income is over this limit. In 2022, the asset limit for an individual to qualify for Community MassHealth programs is $2,000 or less. For those that are married, the spouse living at home is limited to $137,400. Even if your assets exceed this amount, our attorneys may be able to devise a plan to help you reduce your assets within the rules. This allows you to protect your assets so that they are preserved to the greatest extent possible. We have helped many clients who never thought that they would be able to qualify, take the steps necessary to afford the care they need to continue living at home. Medicaid offers several programs to help seniors stay in their homes, often providing up to 42 hours per week of in home care. It is even possible for family members (excluding spouses and guardians) to get paid for providing care to a Medicaid recipient.

Medicare provides extremely limited home care services, usually following a hospitalization, if patients meet the following requirements: - The patient is homebound, and their treating physician certifies they are homebound. - The patient needs occupational therapy, speech, or physical therapy services. - The patient needs the services of professional nurses. - The patient is under a doctor's care and regularly gets check-ups for their condition. Find out more about Home Care Options We all want to protect our parents as they age. Home care services can be the best way to protect your family and provide them with the safety they deserve.

To find out whether you may be able to qualify for Medicaid to pay for your home care options, please contact the Elder Law attorneys at Senior Solutions at 617-489-5900 or by use this link to schedule a free initial 15 minute consultation:

We are caring Elder Law attorneys in the Greater Boston area, ready to help you with Medicaid and MassHealth Planning, Estate Planning, Guardianship, Conservatorship, Probate, and Special Needs Planning.

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