Last month Elder Voice reviewed equipment costs that sometimes arise as people age. This month, we focus on the costs of home help. This includes personnel who help with personal care and companionship, as well as a number of other types of services, such as drivers, physio- and occupational therapists, and other allied professionals such as music or recreation therapists.
Home help services for personal care are available through both the public and private sector. To access public sector services, call your local health authority. In most provinces services are provided after an assessor from the health authority has come in and determined what your needs are and what services are available to you based on their assessment. The cost of those services will be assessed on either your income only or your income plus your assets. In British Columbia, the costs of services are determined by income. You will have to provide some information from your latest tax filing.
Whether you receive help from the public sector, purchase it privately from the private sector, or have a combination of the two, personal or practical care services are usually provided through a Home Support Agency. Home support agencies will have companions and Registered Care Aides (or a similar designation). They may also have licensed practical nurses and registered nurses.They often have personnel who were nurses in their country of origin, but are not licensed to provide nursing services in Canada. Agencies charge by the hour or by the shift, up to 24 hour live in care.
It is possible to hire caregivers on your own and not go through an agency. There are advantages and disadvantages to hiring through an agency vs. privately. These include the responsibility of maintaining staff and paying benefits, finding replacements, interviewing, insurance, liability and tax issues.
Home health services may include:
- Companionship and recreation,
- Personal care, such as bathing, dressing,eating, grooming, and helping with medication, toiletting, getting in and out of bed, etc.
- Household and practical tasks such as laundry, housework, cooking, cleaning, driving. (They generally do not do outdoor and yardwork.)
- Nursing and palliative care.
If you wish to hire live in care, you can use one of the home health agencies or you can go to a “nanny” agency which specializes in providing live in caregivers. You would then hire someone directly and be responsible for all of the issues that arise in having an employee. Although you may have to hire two people to cover seven days a week of care, this may be significantly cheaper. Agencies generally charge a placement fee.
To find a Home Health Agency or Nanny agency, google one of those terms, search the yellow pages, or call us at Diamond Geriatrics. We work with different agencies and can recommend ones that we have found to provide quality and reliable help.
Some examples of the costs of help (these vary between agencies):
- Companions and Care aide: $20-28.00/hour
- Licensed Practical Nurses: $40-$50.00/hour
- Registered Nurses: $60.00/hour
- 24 hour live in: $200-300/day
- Companions and Care aides $15-25.00/hour
- Licensed Practical Nurses: $30.00-$40.00/hour
- Registered Nurses: $40.00-60.00/hour
- 24 hour live in (monthly): $1900-3500 (may need two for seven day coverage)
- Physiotherapy (in home): $85.00-110.00/hour
- Occupational Therapy (in home): $85.00-110.00/hour
- Rehabilitation aides: $50-60.00/ hour
- Music Therapy: $60-75.00/per hour
- Recreation Therapy: $50-65.00/ hour
- Counselling (from a qualified counsellor): $100-180.00/hour
- Private Drivers: $50.00-65.00/hour
Personal and professional services may be benefits covered by extended health insurance and through Critical Incident or Long Term Care insurance. They can also qualify as tax deductions as medical expenses. Make sure you talk to your accountant about how to arrange this.
For more on hiring home help, see previous Elder Voice issues: