Resources for the Family Caregiver

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Davis Allen, Owner
Age at HomeCare, St. Louis, MO

Measuring the Costs and Savings of Care

Recent evidence affirms that programs that support aging in place (that is, staying in one’s home and community rather than moving to an institution such as a nursing home) yield cost savings for families, government, and health systems:

89 of Americans over the age of 50 wish to remain in their homes for as long as possible. From 2004-2007, in 2009 dollars, the median monthly payment for non-institutional long-term care was $928, compared with $5,243 for nursing homes. Expenditures for nursing homes are more than three times those for non-institutional long-term care services, and these rates are continuing to rise.

Between 2011 and 2012 the average daily rate for a private room rose 3.8 percent, which exceeded the rate of inflation. Approximately one-fifth of nursing home bills are paid either primarily or entirely out of pocket. Among those who needed assistance with activities of daily living, out-of-pocket expenses were $554 and $1,085 respectively in 2009 dollars for non-institutional and institutional services respectively.

Researchers estimate that more than 15% of those living in nursing homes are there inappropriately.

Of course for an adult with infirmities aging in place can present its own set of challenge for families, but a wide variety of support services are available in the St. Louis region. For instance, adult day centers offer economical alternatives to spending the day in one’s own home. Day rates (open from 7:00a-6:00p M-F) are an average of $80 per day, including snack, lunch, activities and light nursing services.

The alternative of hiring caregivers into the home is also much less expensive than institutional care. In the metropolitan area on both sides of the river, the St. Louis region has over 100 reputable home care agencies and registries. For home caregivers, there are usually 4-hour-minimum periods of care and average rates of $20 per hour for screened, professional companion-caregivers. Good caregivers can be life-savers, literally, for the not only the loved one but also the family caregivers.

The free St. Louis Times Senior Resource Guide, available at most libraries, lists services offered by type, and both the Area Associations on Aging (St. Louis City: 314-612-5918; St. Louis County: 636-207-1323) and the Alzheimer’s Association (636-207-1323) have staff people who can answer questions about services as well as about funding assistance through Medicare, Medicaid, insurance carriers, and veteran affairs.

Age at HomeCare, a registry home health company, is owned and managed by Davis Allen, former Exec. Dir. of Sarah Care Adult Day Center. He has an MA in Human Resource Development and is a Certified Nurse Assistant. He continues to work as a companion caregiver with his own clients. All of his associates have previous direct care experience so they are attuned to the needs of their clients and families.

Content for this article was excerpted from “Evidence Matters” by (U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development)

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