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Weighing Your Options: How Much Does Home Care Cost?

When we realize that an elderly loved one needs help to care for themselves, it’s time to think about the options available to help them maintain the best quality of life possible. 

Fortunately, we live in a time when there are many elder care options available, providing all levels of care that meet our loved one’s needs. Although budget should be considered to prevent financial hardship, the wishes of the elderly loved one should be top of mind. 

In our experience, older adults want to stay in their own home as long as possible. 

Home care is an excellent option for seniors who want to live independently but need assistance with health management and day-to-day tasks. Research from Home Care Ontario showed that 91% of Ontario seniors would prefer to stay in their own home or apartment as long as possible, and 95% believe that being in their own home with the support of home care is the safest environment for them during a pandemic.

Homecare providers employ PSWs, caregivers, nurses, and other professionals to provide the necessary services to help seniors continue to live independently at home. 

How Much Does Home Care Cost?

To determine home care costs, we first need to know about your care goals.

Care goals are defined by what’s needed for the elderly adult, such as personal care, cooking and eating with the person, or activities to help improve the older person’s quality of life. The care goal can also focus on preventative measures, such as managing diabetes or mitigating fall risk. 

Home care services also include everything from health management such as personal care and medication management to everyday household tasks such as housecleaning, meal preparation, and casual companionship. 

You can find out about hourly rates by calling the different homecare companies. We have found rates can range between $30 – $36 per hour in Toronto and the surrounding areas,

What funding options are available for home-based care?

There are currently two ways to fund in-home eldercare:

  • Government-funded home care: In Ontario, publicly-funded home care falls under the Ministry of Health & Long-Term Care (MOHLTC). The MOHLTC provides stewardship of the health system, and local health services are planned and funded by LHINs

LHINs provide access to government-funded home and community services and long-term care homes.  Your best first step is to contact your LHIN or call 310-2222 (in Toronto), whose staff, known as case managers or care coordinators, will determine eligibility for you or your loved one.

  • Client/Family funded home care: More and more families are retaining homecare services for their elderly loved ones. This option can also be used as a supplement to the government-funded home care to improve the quality of life for the care recipient and their family members.

Are tax credits available for in-home care?

Revenue Canada offers the Medical Expense Tax Credit (METC) for families who hire in-home healthcare services, including for personal care, meal preparation, and other tasks the person cannot do by themselves. You may be able to claim these as medical expenses or disability. 

You can also apply for a GST/HST exemption for client-funded homecare services if the individual is receiving publicly funded home care service at the same time. 

Please check with your tax advisor for details on these tax programs.

Is home care right for my elderly loved one?

You might be asking yourself if homecare is the right choice for the older adult in your life. After all, you want to know that the person is well-looked after and experiencing all the joy and sunshine they deserve in life.

It’s not a decision to be made lightly. However, it can be helpful to hear about success stories that might make the decision a little easier.

Take Paul, for example. He’s 88 years old and lives alone in his own home as his adult children live in a different province. He can manage everyday tasks but was beginning to find it challenging to go downstairs to the basement to do his laundry. Paul often feels lonely, but never directly expresses it.

We set up a four-hour weekly caregiver visit from Sarah, an experienced Personal Support Worker (PSW) who enjoys spending time with elderly. After putting the laundry into the washing machine, Sarah walks with Paul to a nearby grocery store to assist him with shopping and carrying the groceries back home. After they come back, Sarah puts the laundry into the dryer and helps Paul make meals, sometimes trying a new recipe that they like. They chat about things that happened during the previous week as Paul enjoys his dinner and Sarah folds the laundry. Before finishing her shift, Sarah takes Paul’s blood pressure and glucose readings and reports them through our secure app for the nurse care manager to review in the system.  

Paul will also receive a regular wellness check up by one of the Care Managers, and have access to our 24/7 Care Services line. With his consent, we keep Paul’s adult children updated.

This level of in-home care addresses Paul’s immediate needs, allows him to live independently in his own home, and brings him an additional level of joy.  

Paul’s needs may be quite different from those of the older adult in your life. However, the end goal is always the same: doing what we can to preserve the ability to live in their own home with happiness, fulfillment, and contentment.

Other elder care options in Ontario

Let’s have a look at the other elder care options available in Ontario:

  1. Long-term care (LTC) facilities or nursing homes: LTC homes provide comprehensive care for adults in need. They receive assistance with most or all daily activities and are able to access 24-hour nursing and personal care.

In Ontario, all applications and admissions to long-term care homes are managed by the Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs). You may also qualify for LTC accommodation subsidies from the Government of Ontario

  1. Retirement homes: These are licensed, privately paid residences for seniors who can direct their own care. This means that, unlike long-term care homes, retirement homes are best suited for individuals who want an independent lifestyle but may need a bit more support with their daily living activities. 

Once someone living in retirement homes has care needs exceeding the retirement home’s abilities, they may need to move to an LTC.

  1. Hospital care: Most hospitals in Ontario are designed for acute care, where a patient receives active but short-term treatment for a severe injury or episode of illness, an urgent medical condition, or during recovery from surgery. 

While hospital stays are a critical element of health care, they should not be treated as the destination or a primary location to look after your loved one. However, your loved one can benefit from homecare services after being discharged from the hospital to help them transition back home and regain independence

In-home eldercare services for seniors in Etobicoke, Mississauga, Brampton, and Toronto

If you believe your elderly loved one needs additional health care support or just a little help around the house, researching all of your available options is the best step toward making the most informed decision possible. 

That’s why our eldercare team at CareHop is always happy to answer your questions and help you learn more about our empathetic, supportive approach to in-home care. We provide around-the-clock or part-time home care, specialized Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care, personal care services, homemaking and meal prep, activities and trusted companionship when it’s needed, and much more.

We’ll work together on a customized care plan for your loved one that will bring joy and happiness into their life, and peace of mind to you.

If you have any questions about our elder care services, please reach out to us anytime.

About the Author

Michael Lu is the founder of CareHop, specializing in providing compassionate support for individuals and families touched by Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

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