It’s only natural to be unsure about things you don’t have all the facts on. For instance, you may be exhausted caring for your parent, but you worry about what the alternative is. Will someone else take care of your loved one in the best way possible? How flexible is the scheduling? And, how much will it cost?

Cost is always a key factor when deciding on long-term care. But, this level of care is often necessary. If you’re NOT already exhausted caring for your parent, what will happen when they decline further? If they have the early stages of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, how can you expect to be there all of the time to help with decision making? Home care can be a critical asset to you and your family.

The Real Cost of In-Home Care

According to a 2010 study by the Boomer Project, 49% of family caregivers overestimate the cost of home care by almost $6.00 per hour. Perhaps you’ve been overestimating the cost as well, and this has deterred you from choosing a respite care service to help with your loved one’s needs. A MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services and Home Care reported that the national average hourly rate for companion services was $19 per hour in 2009.

How Does that Compare?

How does this cost compare to other forms of care?

It’s typically much less expensive for Home Care than it is for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and adult day care. These costs have risen substantially each year, while the cost for home care aides has risen the lowest amount, only 1.3%, according to figures from John Hancock’s 2013 Cost of Care Survey. While home care may not be exactly easy to manage from a financial standpoint, it could be the most affordable option for your family.

Additionally, if your loved one needs only limited services as opposed to those provided by skilled nursing care, you can schedule just the hours truly needed instead of having to pay for around-the-clock care. And, your parents can remain in their home and keep their assets. They won’t feel pressured to get rid of their things or sell their home, and they can customize a care plan that accommodates their most important needs.

Home care is certainly worth considering; and your loved one’s Long Term Care insurance should provide at least some of the funding needed for this important service. Most importantly, having in-home care can prevent burnout of the primary family caregiver, which is invaluable.