What Qualifies as Long-Term Care at Home? Financial Assistance Options, Finding Care, and More


When your loved one needs additional help but doesn’t want to move to assisted living, long-term home care services can provide medical and nonmedical solutions for aging in place. Long-term care at home is especially beneficial for those who are living with chronic illnesses or disabilities and whose care needs are consistent and progressive. Through attentive care from trained professionals, seniors can get the support they need in the comfort of their own homes.

In comparison, short-term home care services only provide temporary assistance following an injury, illness, or surgery. With in-home care, seniors can receive personalized care services as often as they need.

Types of long-term home care services

Long-term care at home includes a wide variety of options for in-home assistance, whether your loved one needs medical or nonmedical care. With these care services, recipients receive one-on-one assistance that suits their medical and lifestyle needs. While both types of services are helpful, they serve different purposes.

Home health care

Home health care provides specialized medical services, as prescribed by your loved one’s doctor. Care is usually provided by registered nurses or licensed practical nurses to help those with chronic illnesses, disabilities, and other medical needs. Specific services can include diabetes care, medication administration, wound care, therapies, and other health care services. While it is possible to receive long-term home health care, these services are typically provided on a short-term basis.

Nonmedical home care

Nonmedical home care can provide assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and companion care. Nonmedical care is best for those who need help with day-to-day activities and who would like someone to talk to and help with chores. Services can include light housekeeping, laundry, meal preparation, and transportation. Nonmedical caregivers also provide recreational care by participating in a senior’s favorite hobbies, planning activities, and accompanying them on outings. Nonmedical care can be combined with home health care services if needed.

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How to pay for long-term care at home

A significant factor to consider when thinking about long-term home care is how to pay for these services. If paying out of pocket isn’t practical, there may be other options that can help ease your loved one’s financial burden.

Long-term care insurance

This type of insurance helps families plan ahead for long-term care costs. To utilize this option, though, a loved one must have bought a policy before needing long-term care and continued paying premiums to keep it active. Long-term care insurance policies vary, so coverage may or may not extend to nonmedical home care services. If your loved one purchased a policy, contact the insurer to confirm the details of their coverage.


Medicaid assists low-income seniors in paying for medical and other care-related costs. The federal government has invested heavily in Medicaid home and community based services (HCBS) in recent years, with the express purpose of providing long-term care to seniors and individuals with disabilities at home rather than in institutional settings. The Program of All Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) is another Medicaid program that focuses on providing seniors with nursing home-level care within their homes.


Many people mistakenly think that Medicare will pay for long-term care. Medicare Part A and Part B will cover home health services that are prescribed by a doctor, but only on a part-time basis. If your loved one’s care needs are long-term, then their physician will need to recertify their care at least every 60 days. Medicare does not pay for personal care or homemaker services that aren’t related to a beneficiary’s need for home health care services. However, some Medicare Advantage plans may cover these costs.

Veterans benefits

Veterans have a variety of options when it comes to receiving and paying for long-term home care. These are alternatives to care in an assisted living facility or nursing home and can provide respite to family caregivers. The Skilled Home Health Care (SHHC), Homemaker and Home Health Aide (H/HHA), and Home-Based Primary Care programs are available to all veterans who meet eligibility requirements for standard health benefits, although some additional conditions may apply.

Veterans and their surviving spouses may also be eligible for pension benefits through the VA, which can be used to pay for services.

Retirement accounts

If your loved one has contributed to a retirement savings account, like a 401(k) or IRA, these funds can help cover medical and nonmedical home care costs. In addition, care expenses are often tax-deductible, which can offset any income tax that is associated with taking withdrawals from a qualified retirement plan.

These are just a few options available to help fund long-term home care services. Many other payment options can be utilized by family caregivers and care recipients themselves.

Read: How to Pay for Home Care

Additional services that support long-term home care

Along with bringing professional help into the home, additional services can be utilized to make daily life more convenient for seniors. The use of these services can help balance out the cost of other medical or nonmedical home care services.

Adult day centers

Adult day care centers are great options for temporary care. Compassionate caregivers plan activities, provide meals and transportation, and may even assist with personal care tasks. In this setting, seniors can socialize and receive the care they need while continuing to live at home.

Meal delivery services

Through meal delivery services, those living at home can conveniently receive the healthy meals they need. Some services even cater to specific nutritional requirements and restrictions. Home-delivered meals can take pressure off family caregivers who might be struggling to help their loved ones eat nutritious meals.

Geriatric care managers

Geriatric care managers may also be referred to as Aging Life Care Professionals. These individuals are often licensed nurses or social workers who are knowledgeable about elder care and help families find resources and support services that meet their unique needs.

Finding the support you and your loved one need

Hiring long-term home care can be challenging at first, but these services can help an aging loved one continue living safely in their own home. AgingCare’s Care Advisors are ready to assist you and your family in finding local home care providers and exploring payment options — all at no cost to you.

Reviewed by Certified Elder Law Attorney Letha McDowell.

VA Aid and Attendance benefits and Housebound allowance (https://www.va.gov/pension/aid-attendance-housebound/)
Understanding the Benefits (https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10024.pdf)

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or to create a professional relationship between AgingCare and the reader. Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney, or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter, and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site. Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; AgingCare does not endorse the contents of the third-party sites.

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