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Is Atlanta Home Care Affordable

Senior Home Care: What Options Do You Have and Can You Afford Them?

Posted by Ned Morgens on December 04, 2019 - Financial

Is Atlanta Home Care Affordable

Seniors want to retain their independence for as long as possible.

There comes a time, though, when most of us will need some assistance. Nearly everyone ends up facing the realization maybe they’re not as strong as they used to be – either due to age, illness, or injury – and they now need help with chores around the house.

It’s difficult for adult children to take on all the responsibility of caring for their parents because of full-time jobs, their children, and other responsibilities. Because of this, many look to senior home care agencies for some extra help.

What home care options are available? Which option is best? And is this type of care affordable?

Home Care Services – Are They the More Affordable Option?

When first considering the cost of an in-home aide, many families cringe. We totally understand – getting the right type of care isn’t cheap.

However, home care is typically more affordable than nursing homes or assisted-living facilities. So, by putting your hard-earned money toward home care, you actually accomplish two things:

  • You save money in the long run.
  • You allow your parents the opportunity to stay independent longer.

In June 2017, (a resource to help people understand their money) released data pertaining to the cost of various care options available to seniors.

Here are some annual estimates based on their figures for the state of Georgia. Keep in mind, some estimates may be more or less based on the level of care needed.

  • Nursing Home –Private Room: $85,775 per year
  • Assisted Living: $40,02 per year
  • Home Care Aide: $46,904 per year
  • Adult Day Services: $17,225 per year.

As you can see, signing your parent up for adult day services or hiring a home aide is significantly less than a nursing home.

Granted, there are some circumstances when 24/7 care is necessary. But many seniors can maintain their independence despite age, illness, or injury – as long as they get the home assistance they need.

Fortunately, not all of the money spent on this type of care needs to come directly out of your pocket or your parents. Veterans’ programs, Medicaid, Social Security, and other programs are available to help cover some – if not all – of the costs of these services.

We recommend contacting your parents’ insurance or benefit providers to find out what kind of coverage they have and how they can benefit from it the most. We’ll also be happy to help you in any way we can.

Types of Home Care Services in Atlanta You Should Consider

To understand what you’re paying for, here’s a breakdown of the types of in-home assistance which are available to Atlanta residents.

Companion and Sitter Home Care Providers

This is a non-licensed position and is best for seniors who simply need a little help around the house. A personal care provider can help with:

  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Running errands
  • Bathing and dressing

In some cases, they can also provide transport for seniors.

Besides helping out with day-to-day chores, a personal care provider can offer some much-needed socialization and companionship.

Personal Care Providers

A Personal Care aide can do everything a personal care provider can do and more. Their primary role is to assist people who have suffered through an illness or injury. They help the person with their daily activities and to regain their independence.

The personal care aide often is a Certified Nursing Assistant. They should have more training than sitter or companion service.

In addition to doing everyday tasks, an aide can provide the following services:

  • Medication assistance
  • Testing blood sugar and/or blood pressure levels
  • Insulin injections
  • Pain monitoring
  • Help with physical therapy exercises

Keeping Your Parents’ Health and Happiness at the Forefront

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they need a little extra help. If the time has come for your family, we welcome you to visit Skylark Senior Care.

Like you, our main concerns are keeping your loved ones safe, healthy, and happy. We understand the need for independence and socialization, as well as assistance. And this is exactly what your parents will get from our home programs.

We work with each family to create a care program which is unique to their needs. These programs – including home care and adult day care – can help you find the balance you’ve been looking for. You’ll feel confident knowing your parents are safe, and they’ll love retaining their independence.

senior day care

Veteran Benefits for Seniors Needing Care

Posted by Ned Morgens on November 19, 2019 - Financial

senior day care

Anyone who served in the military might be eligible for benefits depending on their needs and countable income and retirement savings, but once a veteran reaches age 65 and older, a variety of benefits become available.

Elderly veterans are also eligible for all of the benefits available to all veterans, including service connected disability compensation for disabled veterans, education and training, veteran pension, healthcare, insurance, home loans, vocational rehabilitation, employment, death pension, pension benefits, burial, and other cash benefits. Additionally, elderly veterans are eligible for Aid and Attendance and Housebound.

Aid and Attendance

Aid and Attendance (A&A) offers a monthly pension amount for veterans who:

  • Require help with daily functions, including eating, dressing, or bathing
  • Are in a nursing home
  • Are bedridden
  • Have very limited eyesight that meets certain qualifications

To qualify, veterans need not be injured during service. They must have served during an approved war period and have been honorably discharged. As of 2016, to qualify, they need less than $80,000 in total assets, with the exception of a home and one vehicle.

According to the New York Times, reporting data from the Department of Veterans Affairs, A&A is one of the least known and most underutilized benefits available to veterans. Money is available through the program for caregivers in the home, including sons and daughters (but not spouses) or it can be used to pay for assisted living or home care.

As of 2016, veterans alone might be entitled to $1799 per month. Veterans and their spouses can receive up to $2120 per month and a surviving spouse can receive up to $1149 per month (spouses might need to re-apply after the death of the veteran). Veterans with a sick spouse can qualify for up to $1406 per month. This can be more than 50% higher than the basic veterans’ pension. These numbers are expected to change in 2017, but will likely remain similar.

According to the data, of the nearly two million World War II veterans alive in 2011, fewer than 40,000 were granted A&A benefits. There were also fewer than 40,000 spouses with these benefits. Many consider these benefit a “well-kept secret.” It’s been an entitlement for veterans for nearly 70 years and only recently was information added to the website about the benefit.

Applying for Veterans’ Aid and Attendance

Applying for A&A can be confusing and frustrating. Some applicants are confused by the requirement that they must qualify for VA benefits, for which they must be considered disabled. What some people don’t realize, though, is that the VA automatically qualifies all service members as disabled once they reach 65 and they are eligible for benefits even if there are no “official disabilities.”

Income limits to qualify for A&A can be flexible and allow you to deduct the cost of medical expenses, caregivers, assisted living or nursing home fees. Besides off-setting the cost of senior care for vets, A&A might also provide a way for you to protect your assets.


Housebound is another elderly veterans’ benefits program. It offers monthly payments for those who are substantially confined to their homes because of a permanent disability.

Elderly Veterans Healthcare

Veterans are entitled to certain healthcare programs. Included are programs such as extended care, geriatrics, long-term care, and more. Depending on their circumstances, they can receive this care at VA medical centers, regular hospitals, in long-term care facilities, at home, and throughout the community.

The VA has a strong interest in helping veterans remain in their home and in the community as long as possible.  These services range from adult day care, home care, and physician in the home among other programs.  Typically, the a VA Medical Center will contract with community providers to provide these services at little at reduced or no cost to the veteran and their family.  There is not always a low income requirement to access these services.

Geriatrics Program

Geriatrics and Extended Care Services is a program that tends to the health and well-being of vets with certain illnesses, chronic health conditions, disabilities, chronic diseases, injuries, and age. The goal of the programs is to help veterans be as independent as possible and lessen the burden of these issues on vets and their families.

The Geri-PACT program is an enhanced ambulatory care program that helps vets in the community with their health care needs. Those who have challenges related to chronic diseases, co-existing cognitive and functional decline, and psychosocial issues.

Long-term Care

The veterans long-term care program offers a wide range of services that range from assisting with everyday activities to providing support for illnesses. The program provides these services for an extended period of time and can assist vets in their homes, residential settings, nursing homes, and at community sites, such as adult day health care. Some of these programs are ideal for family members and caregivers who are providing support to their veteran loved one.

Veterans might also be entitled to financial assistance to help them pay for the cost of living in a residential setting or nursing home. Benefits are based on the individual’s need for ongoing treatment, assistance, personal care, and availability of services in their area, as well as insurance coverage, financial eligibility, and service-connected status.

Some of the residential settings in which veterans’ receive long-term care include medical foster homes, community residential care centers, assisting living, adult family homes, nursing homes, community living centers, community nursing homes, and state veterans’ homes. Hospice and palliative care might also be available.

Be Aware of Scams

It’s important for veterans and their loved ones to be aware of scams related to VA benefits. For instance, it is illegal for any entity to ask for financial compensation for help in filling out VA forms, but there are many companies that do just this. It’s also a good idea to check into the credentials of anyone offering an educational seminar or other instruction on VA benefits if it’s not coming directly from the VA. Though some are genuinely trying to help veterans, others stand to benefit and are taking advantage of veterans and the benefits to which they are entitled.

Financial issues as we age become tougher and tougher and can be one of the most stressful aspects of growing older. Fortunately for veterans and their loved ones, there might be financial assistance and other forms of support available to reduce this stress. If you or a loved one is a veteran and you would like to discuss your options or you have questions about home care or adult day care, call or email us at Skylark Senior Care.

Adult Day Care for Your Parents

Will Veterans’ Aid Cover Adult Day Care Costs for Your Parents?

Posted by Ned Morgens on October 18, 2018 - Adult Day Care

Adult Day Care for Your Parents

We all want what’s best for our parents.

Over the years, they’ve done so much to care for and protect us. Now, it’s our turn to return the favor.

Unfortunately, this can prove to be difficult for many adult children. Most of us work full-time and have children to raise.

Thankfully, there are in-home aid and adult day care programs for just these situations. These programs can provide a means of assistance and security for our parents, all while helping them maintain their dignity and independence.

And as adult children who want the very best for our parents, these programs can be a lifesaver.

But are these services affordable? What if one or both of our parents were veterans? Will the VA Aid and Attendance program help pay for these services?

What Is Covered by the U.S. Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Program?

The Aid and Attendance program is for seniors with a VA pension who need help within the home. This can be due to being housebound or bedridden due to disabilities or illnesses. Veterans who have limited mobility due to poor eyesight (5/200 visual acuity or less when corrected) are eligible, too.

Does the VA pay the home care or adult day company directly? No, the money goes to the veteran and/or their surviving spouse in conjunction to their monthly pension payment.

Payment will be made to the veteran to cover costs pertaining to:

  • Help with bathing, feeding, and dressing
  • Adjusting any prosthetic devices
  • Help to perform activities associated with daily living (walking, grooming)
  • Nursing home costs if the veteran needs to be admitted to one
  • Adult day care services

The great thing about this provision is it allows seniors to:

Regrettably, many seniors and their families have a difficult time paying for in-home aids or adult day care. There just isn’t enough money coming in from their pension/income to cover these costs in addition to their monthly bills and the cost of food and medications.

Fortunately, the government has come through for their veterans with programs such as the VA Aid and Attendance program. It can do much to ease the financial burden our veterans face. In some cases, the money can even be used to pay a family member as a caregiver.

Do Your Parents Qualify for Senior Day Care Through This VA Program?

Is everyone eligible for the Aid and Attendance program? Not necessarily – there are some definite requirements for veterans.

First off, the veteran had to have served in the following wars/conflicts for at least one day:

  • WWII: December 7, 1941 – December 31, 1946
  • The Korean War: June 27, 1950 – January 31, 1955
  • The Vietnam War: August 5, 1964 – May 7, 1975
  • For veterans who served in Vietnam: February 28, 1961 – May 7, 1975
  • The Gulf War: August 2, 1990 – Undetermined end date

In addition to service for at least one day during a war, the veteran needs to be considered a “wartime veteran,” serving 90 days in the military in addition to the one or more days during the dates above. Being involved in active combat during those dates is not a requirement.

A veteran who was dishonorably discharged is not eligible.

Veterans don’t have to be disabled to receive benefits. However, a disability will result in higher benefits being paid.

Another requirement is the veteran (and/or surviving spouses) be over the age of 65 years.

In order for a surviving spouse to benefit, they must have been living with the veteran at the time of death and be single when filing for benefits.

Of course, there are some financial requirements as well, but these are adjusted periodically.

Providing Your Parents with the Very Best Care Is Possible with Aid from the VA

As adult children, we feel an instinctual desire to care for our parents in their elder years. It can be difficult, though, with all of the responsibilities we have to juggle on a daily basis. It would be lovely if we could care for our parents on our own, but sometimes we just need help.

This is where senior home care and adult day care services come in.

These programs help to take care of our parents’ daily physical needs, as well as their social and emotional needs. And can provide us with peace of mind.

It can be easy to try and take all the responsibility of caring for our aged parents ourselves, but this isn’t sustainable in most cases. Taking advantage of the services available – and the financial aid offered through the VA – is the healthy, smart, sustainable option.

senior care

Financial Resources for Seniors

Posted by Ned Morgens on May 19, 2017 - Financial

senior care

As we age, we need more and more assistance to help us through our daily lives. Some of us require more health care and prescription coverage as we develop medical conditions, endure disability, suffer from disease, heart problems, and other life-changing illnesses.

Also, our living arrangements often need to change. For many, a family member known as a family caregiver is ideal. For others, home care or adult day care is a better option giving an opportunity to socialize, access to services, and peace of mind for our loved ones. Unfortunately, figuring out how to pay for it can be a challenge. Luckily, there are plenty of financial resources available to help.

What should you consider to help you or a loved one pay for the cost of senior care?


Beginning in 2016, Medicaid now pays for a portion of the cost of assisted living in 46 of 50 states. It’s expected all 50 states will offer assistance in the coming years. There are several Medicaid programs that can help, including the  Home and Community-Based Services or HCBS Medicaid Waivers.  Check out more information about the Georgia program here.

Another Medicaid program that might help with the cost of senior care is State Plan Personal Care or Personal Assistance Services, which pays for personal care but does not limit the location of that care. With this program, it might be possible a senior to get access to care that comes in from the outside to offer help with grooming, bathroom, or transportation needs.

In recent years, many states have increased the Medicaid assistance offered to those for senior care because overall they are still saving money. Providing care is less expensive than paying for nursing home residency.

Unfortunately, even with these programs, Medicaid remains an inconsistent source of support for seniors because it varies so much from state to state.  Medicaid is a resource, but for most people, it will need to be one of several resources used to pay for senior care.

Veterans’ Programs

If you or a loved one served in the US armed forces you are eligible for veteran’s benefits. One veteran program provides assistance and services for seniors to help them stay in their home longer.

Your State’s Non-Medicaid Programs

Many states offer financial assistance to seniors outside of the Medicaid programs.  Programs vary a great deal, so you’ll need to check with your state to see what’s available and to determine which programs you qualify for.

Private Funding Sources

Most people use a combination of funding sources to pay for their senior care arrangements. They might be both public and private or they might be a combination of private sources.

You Have Options

The important thing for seniors and their families to understand is they have options. If you would like to know more discuss your situation with us at Skylark Senior Care or you can fill out the contact form below and we’ll get in touch with you for more details.

Medicaid Financial Options for Adult Day and Home Care

Medicaid Financial Resources for Adult Day Care and Home Care in Georgia

Posted by Ned Morgens on January 31, 2017 - Financial

Medicaid Financial Options for Adult Day and Home Care

We talk to a lot of families every month.  Over the course of a year, it’s literally hundreds of families.  The common theme amongst all these families is that they want the best for their moms and dads.  After this basic desire, their stories start to diverge: some care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease; some care for someone who is isolated and needs a little socialization and support; and some have plenty of money; and some have very little.

This is for those who face financial challenges.

We served a family several years ago.  They lived in a high-income community.  The lady of the house had a good job.  The man of the house was between jobs.  They had two children in college, and her mother just moved into the house.  The mother made about $600 a month at the time.  The finances while fine were not going to be able to pay for her mother’s care needs.  Since her mother qualified, they enrolled her in a Medicaid program that met her care needs.

Other families care for a loved one who has never had much money and lives only on a small Social Security Income.

So, for those of you looking for a help to care for your loved one, let’s take a look at what Medicaid has to offer.  While Medicaid is broad and complicated, we’re going to look at the Elderly and Disabled Medicaid Waiver which comprises CCSP (Community Care Services Program) and SOURCE (Service Options Using Resources in Community Environments).  Use the acronyms CCSP and SOURCE as very people really know what the initials stand for, but many are familiar with the program.  It’s also complicated, so you might want to give us a call at 404-410-1510 to walk you through the programs.

We summarize the programs below, but this link is a detailed description of the programs developed by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

Services: Both programs have the similar service offerings:

  • Adult Day Health Care
  • Emergency Response Systems (better known from the “Help! I’ve fallen and can’t get up” commercials)
  • Personal Support Services also known as Private In-home Care
  • Home Delivered Meals
  • Skilled Nursing Service
  • Out of Home Respite
  • Alternative Living Services (which is also known as a personal care home or as “assisted living” in the generic non-regulatory fashion.

The main difference between the two services is that the SOURCE program requires a Medicaid member to use a SOURCE contracted physician as their primary care physician.

The other benefit to enrolling in Medicaid is that Medicaid becomes the secondary insurance for Medicare and covers many of the expenses not covered by Medicare.  There is also a valuable transportation benefit available for those who can no longer drive to the adult day center and other medical appointments.

Qualifications: An individual must meet both financial and medical qualifications to participate in CCSP and SOURCE.

  1. Medical: an individual must meet certain medical requirements. The idea is that these programs help the State of Georgia and the Federal Government save money by keeping individuals out of a nursing home who do not absolutely need to be there.  In general, these programs serve individuals with needs with a physical cause such as dementia, Parkinson’s, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, etc.  There are other programs for individuals with primarily developmental disability and mental health needs.
  2. Financial: The individual must have very limited resources. Qualifications are:
    • Individuals receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI), which for 2017 the monthly income limits are $735 for an individual and $1,103 for a married couple. This amount changes annually in January of each year.
    • Individuals not receiving SSI, an individual may be qualified for services with an income below about $2,200 or have a Qualified Income Trust established.
    • Individuals and couples may have limited, minimal financial assets such life insurance for burial expenses, a house with limited value.

Application: How do I apply for services?  The best way is to give us a call at 404-410-1510, and we can help refer you to the appropriate agency.

You can also go to AgewiseConnection, which has a searchable database for services across the state of Georgia.  These programs are basically administered by the Area Agencies on Aging, which cover every county in Georgia.  Contact your Area Agency on Aging, and they can help you find the services you need.

One note of caution: this is not a fast process.  It will take a minimum of 2-3 months from start to finish assuming that everything proceeds perfectly.  There will be doctor’s appointments, nursing assessments, and financial evaluations.  The application will need to be approved by the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to verify financial need and the Georgia Medical Care Foundation (GMCF) to verify medical need.

Here are some important recommendations:

  • Try to gather financial resources from family members to start services privately before there is a Medicaid approval. If you can swing it (and many cannot), it will help lower stress levels and help maintain current health conditions of your loved one.
  • Apply to CCSP and SOURCE early in the process. There is no obligation if you decide the program is not for you, but it will be a lengthy wait if you need the services.
  • It will go faster if you apply to DFCS by going to the county office to start the Medicaid application process.
  • Keep meticulous notes with the names and phone numbers of everyone you’ve talked to. It’s easy to forget who the case manager or nurse is, but nothing can get done without the help of these key individuals.

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