How to Get a Caregiver

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Robin Mead

There are many programs that may be able to provide a caregiver in your home.

Caregivers can assist with personal care (bathing, eating, dressing) and sometimes with household care (shopping, cooking, laundry).

Programs vary quite a bit by state. The services listed on this page are for the US. If you are in another country, please take a look here.

In most cases, you do not need to be on disability to be in a caregiver program, and some people work full-time and are still in these programs (for example, a school teacher who needs a caregiver to help her get in and out of her wheelchair each morning).

Talking to Your Doctor

First things first. Don’t expect your doctor to be able to tell you all the services that are available and how to qualify. Doctor’s are trained in medical care, not social service programs. It doesn’t hurt to ask your doc, but you may find it helpful to find out as much as you can on your own, and then bring your doctor the forms to sign. Another option: If your doctor is part of a hospital or university system, you can ask your doc for a referral to a Social Worker, who may know more about home care options.

Veterans Homecare

The Veteran’s Administration offers self-directed home care. If you are homebound, you can get extra money for being homebound. We don’t know a lot about these programs. If you are in this program, or if you try applying, please comment below. We would love to know more.

State Home Aides

These programs are designed to keep people out of nursing homes. Services are free in most cases. Many of our readers report that these programs are far better than any other home care program because they give you more care hours and more freedom to select your caregivers. Learn more about: How To Get a Caregiver Through a State Waiver Program

If You Have Too Much Money

Some people think they cannot apply for Medicaid Aides or State Waiver programs because they have too much money. This is often not true. Even if you don’t qualify for medicaid health insurance, there are often ways to qualify for home aides: How to Apply for a Medicaid Waiver When You Have Too Much Money

Affordable Housing / Free Living Space for Aides

If you are in Section 8 or certain other kinds of affordable housing: You may be able to get a larger apartment (or a larger voucher) and offer someone free rent in exchange for being your aide. The amount of rent you pay will not change. Learn more about How Rent and Bedrooms Work if You Have a Live in Aide

Medicare Aides 

Medicare may provide very limited home aide services. They can also provide skilled care in your home: physical therapist, occupational therapist, or nurse. How to Qualify for Medicare Home Care

Private Insurance

Some private insurances provide in-home care assistance. This may be limited to help with bathing, eating and dressing, and may not include services like cooking, cleaning and shopping. Please inquire with your insurance plan to see what is possible.

Local Programs

Not available in many areas. But you can ask! Your local Area Agency on Aging is the best place to start inquiring. Call them even if you are young. More places to inquire: Centers for Independent LivingEldercare Locator, Palliative Care ProgramsHospice and Palliative Care.

Programs That Help with Household Tasks

Some states run programs that will provide an aide for household chores and homemaking, even if the person does not require personal care MassachusettsCalifornia, and New York. If you know of programs in other states, please comment below and let us know.

For Children

Some states have programs that provide home services for children with disabilities.

Mental Health Waivers

In some states there are programs that provide home support for people with mental illness. Support might include assistance with medication management, household tasks, driving places, organizing things, and coping with symptoms. Try contacting Community mental health centers to inquire if they offer any home support. These programs are now available in Connecticut, California, Ohio, Virginia, Colorado, Indiana, and several other states. You can also look up the names of different waiver programs in your state.

Medicaid Assisted Living & Adult Care Homes

In some states, Medicaid will pay for assisted living programs, which are less restrictive than nursing homes. Please scroll to the bottom of this page to see what is available in your state: Medicaid Assisted Living. Adult Care Homes may be called Adult Family Care or Adult Foster Care. These are small private residents, that provide housing and services to 1 to 5 people. To find out if this is available in your state scroll down on this page of Adult Care Homes. We do not know a great deal about the quality of these programs. If you know more, please comment below.

Transitioning Out of Nursing Homes

If you are in a nursing home or care facility and want to be out of it, please look into the state home aide programs listed above and ask about programs to transition out of nursing homes. Many of these programs offer financial assistance to help you move, pay a deposit, even pay your first month’s rent! Also, request to talk to the Longterm Care Ombudsman for your nursing home to help explore your options. You can learn more about keeping people out of institutions from the advocacy group ADAPT.

Self Pay

🌷 Here are some tips for Where to Find Home Aides

🌷 Or ask someone you know! How To Ask A Friend To Be Your Home Aide (So they actually say yes!)

🌷 If you are alternative-minded: How to Write the Perfect Ad to Find a Quiet, Creative, Like-Minded, Groovy, Nice Housemate or Caregiver

🌷 Also check out caregivers and tons of resources and articles about hiring aides on Care.com

🌷 If you pay out-of-pocket for an aide, in some cases this can lead to higher SNAP, lower rent, or lower taxes. Learn more: How to Document Medical Expenses

More Cool Things That Can Help You Out

🌷 If you need help navigating the system, here’s How to Get a Social Worker

🌷 If you have a live-in caregiver, or think you might get one:  Special Benefits for People Who Have Live-In Caregivers

🌷 Here’s how Sally used several different programs to get lower rent, extra bedrooms, a full-time home aide, and lots of other services and support: Meet Jane and Sally

🌷 Homeshare is an international network of people who provide support and companionship to a householder in exchange for free or low-cost accommodation.

🌷 ADAPT is a national grassroots community group that organizes disability rights activists. Many ADAPT members are in medicaid waiver and caregiver programs and they work to protect and expand these programs.

🌷 You do not need to be on disability to qualify for most home care programs. Just ask Azalea: How Azalea Got Turned Down for Disability but Approved for a Caregiver.

🌷 If you are applying for disability, the documents created when you apply for homecare (or after you are in the program) can be a great help to your disability application. Please save copies of anything your doctor signs or fills out. Also, ask your caseworker for copies of your file and copies of all assessments and submit these documents to Social Security.

🌷 Lots more resources and help for people who are homebound

Updated May 2018. Please comment below with stories, ideas, questions or suggestions. Please let us know if any links on this page stop working.

8 thoughts on “How to Get a Caregiver”

  1. I looked into caregiving in my state. It all sounds so overwhelming. I do not understand the rules and the information on the application they want I do not understand. I would think the fact that I am disability would make this easier but it does not appear that way. – Michelle

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    1. Hi Michelle,

      I really hope you can get the help you need. I am sorry to say that you are correct. In most states the fact that you are on disability will make no difference. 😦

      You might try contacting your local area agency on aging or your local aging and disability resource center. Even if you are young, if you have disabilities they may be able to help you.

      They may have someone on staff that can help give you information on programs or help you with the application.

      If you need help with personal care (bathing, eating, dressing, etc), you can apply for a Medicaid waiver program. Please feel free to send me questions or post questions here if helpful.

      If you don’t need help with personal care, there may or may not be any programs in your state. It depends on your area, but it is worth asking.

      I hope this helps. 💕💕

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ON TELEHEALTH or TELEMENTAL HEALTH-Don’t take no from the Experts. According to the Northeast Telehealth resource above, I can’t get online therapy in my home. This is not true. I’ve been told several times I cannot get telehealth in my area because My county is not Rural and there are no approved locations for me to go. Not true. I live in Warren County in Lake George in a park but 3 miles from me is a major city but it is not Rural. But to Medicare there is a shortage of quality mental health providers. There’s a place on the government database datawarehouse.hrsa.gov where you can “Find shortage Areas by Address” to see if telehealth or Telemental health is available where you live as an exception because of a lack of providers. I have done telehealth with three different therapists here in the last four months. Psychiatrists are covered but I can’t find any in NYS. I found therapists on Psychologytoday.com and from local resources for mental health.

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    1. This is so helpful. Thank you. After you figured out that you were in a shortage area, how did you find a doctor that would accept medicare and offer telehealth?

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  3. Hi, thank you for this! I found that my area is included in the shortages for both mental health and primary care providers. What process do you have to go through to get your claims approved when you do the telehealth appointments and are there specific doctors/websites that you use that Medicare approves of? Thank you!

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