In-Home Care in Cambridge, MA

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Massachusetts Home Care: Common Terms, How to pay for Home Care, Licensing and Questions to ask 

Cambridge is a city in Massachusetts, across the Charles River from Boston. The city is best known for being the home of two world-class universities, Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At the heart of campus, grassy Harvard Yard is anchored by the neoclassical Widener Library. Harvard Square has cafes, bars and bookstores. The Harvard Art Museums comprise the Fogg, Busch-Reisinger and Arthur M. Sackler collections. With two campuses filling its city, Cambridge is beautifully designed to be walkable with classical academia sights.

About In-Home Care in Cambridge

The summers in Massachusetts are arguably the most beautiful seasons of anywhere in the world. The seafood is world famous, bringing people from all over the country. From the winter-time activities to the exciting and thriving sports scene, Massachusetts has fun for everyone. About 18% of the population of Massachusetts is 65 years and older. There are excellent facilities for healthcare in Massachusetts, with many of them renowned around the country. We all know that as we age some people may require care at some point. Massachusetts Home Care (or In home Care) is designed specifically for aging adults who only require some basic assistance at home without medical help.

Home Care is suited for seniors who may only require some basic non-medical assistance at home. Home aides may support with their activities of daily living (ADLs), which include medication reminders, assistance with bathing and eating, among other helpful tasks. Home Care may be an excellent care option for family members if they must leave town or just need a break from caring for their loved one. The Home Care aides bring a sense of personalization, providing companionship and socialization, and a sense of connection.

What are the different Home care options? 

The various care services and options

Personal Care Assistant 

  • Companionship as well as assistance with activities of daily living, (non-medical personal care) toileting, dressing, grooming, and bathing.  
  • They can help with grocery shopping and meal preparation. 
  • A personal care assistant can help with family difficulties. If a family caregiver must leave town or be away from the home overnight the caretaker can stay with the individual and monitor and assist as needed. 
  • If a spouse is too heavy, a personal assistant can be a great asset in helping the individual move without risk of injury. 
  • These care assistants cannot perform any medical care. 

Companion Care 

  • These companions spend time with older adults. Providing companionship is especially relevant for people who live alone, or do not leave the house due to cognitive impairments or frailty.  
  • These companions are there to look after the person, keep a watchful eye, act as an extension of the person to help with mobility and general physic functions.  
  • They may drive the person to appointments, prepare light meals and snacks. They may even play games or read and listen to music together. 
  • Companion care is a great way to bring social interaction and assistance to a person who may otherwise spend long periods of time alone. 

Considerations when looking for care in Cambridge

The hottest month of the year in Cambridge is July, with an average high of 82°F and low of 66°F. The cold season lasts from December 4 to March 15, with an average daily high temperature below 45°F. Although there are no providers in Cambridge itself, there are many in-home care agencies in Boston and surrounding areas.

Cities Near Cambridge

  • Boston – 3 miles east of Cambridge
  • Medford – 4 miles north of Cambridge
  • Waltham – 7 miles west of Cambridge
  • Lexington – 10 miles north of Cambridge

Pricing and to Pay for Home Care

Home care in Massachusetts is $5,925 / month and in the Boston are it is $6,300 / month. This much more expensive than the national average of $5,000 / month. The northeast region of the country tends to be more expensive for senior care than other parts of the United States.

How to pay for Home Care

Private Funds- YES:

  • Many families pay for care with private funds. 
  • Private pay can be a combination of retirement funds, personal savings, and pension payments. 
  • Family members may contribute funds toward a loved one’s care. 

Medicare – NO:

  • Medicare does NOT pay for Assisted Living.
  • People 65 years and older and individuals with end stage renal disease are eligible for Medicare benefits, no matter their income.
  • Coverage is meant for people in need of short-term care.

Medicaid- MAYBE

Medicaid MAY cover home care for seniors who are eligible. Each state has its own Medicaid programs in place. As a result, eligibility and services fluctuate state to state.  Funding may also be offered under the Home and Community Based Services Medicaid Waivers. 

In-home personal care services (dressing, bathing, eating, etc.) are not federally mandated, and some states do not even regulate these agencies.

Long-term care insurance- MAYBE:

  • The purpose of long-term care insurance is to cover senior care, which includes home care. Though, be aware that coverage varies depending on the insurance provider, the specific policy, and other factors. 
  • It is common that long-term care insurance will only start to cover care when the person with the policy requires assistance with two or more ADLs. 
  • As a result of the above, individuals who only need companion care may not be covered by their long-term care insurance.  
  • Typically, purchasing long-term care insurance is not an option if you are at the point where you already need care. 

Veteran Aid and Assistance – MAYBE:

This benefit is available to some military veterans and surviving spouses who live in an assisted living community and those who have in-home care.

  • There are specific guidelines, but a veteran may qualify for as much as $2,050 each month.
  • A veteran with a sick spouse may be eligible for $1,600 per month.
  • If a veteran has passed, their surviving spouse can qualify for $1,300 per month.

Private Pay

  • Many families pay for care with private funds.
  • Family members may contribute funds toward the care of a loved one.
  • Private pay may be a combination of personal savings, retirement funds, or pension payments.

Questions and inquiries about home care

Agency Information

  • Is the agency RN operated?
  • Is the agency a franchise or locally owned and operated?
  • Is the agency licensed by WA State Department of Health?
  • Is the agency licensed for both home care and home health?
  • Does the agency have liability insurance?
  • Can the agency respond to you 24/7?

Caregiver Information

  • Are employees licensed, bonded & insured? Or are they independent contractors?
  • Does the agency test skills, conduct behavioral interviews and verify caregiver credentials?
  • Are caregivers required to have current certifications for First Aid, CPR, and TB?
  • Are caregivers provided continuing education/training?
  • Can authorized individuals monitor care and make requests online in real time?
  • Does the agency offer caregiver replacement when the “fit” may not be right?

Documentation and Supervision

  • Does an RN/MSW/Care Manager conduct a free home care assessment?
  • Does an RN/MSW/Care Manager create a home care plan?
  • Does an RN/MSW/Care Manager supervise the caregivers?
  • Do caregivers receive client orientation before arriving at a client’s home?

Policies and Cost

  • Can services be cancelled with a 4-hour notification?
  • Does the agency offer flexible scheduling, custom care plans, and  a continuum of care?
  • Does the agency have weekly or monthly minimums?
  • What is the hourly minimum per shift?
  • Does the agency offer home care discounts?
  • What is the required deposit?
  • Will the agency accept long-term care insurance?

Local Hospitals and Healthcare Providers in Cambridge

Cambridge Health Alliance

237 Hampshire St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Harvard University Health Services

1563 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

CHA Cambridge Hospital

1493 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139

Mount Auburn Hospital

330 Mt Auburn St, Cambridge, MA 02138

Central Massachusetts Agency on Aging seeks to outreach to older persons and their caregivers, hoping to educate them on services and programs that are meant to serve and assist them to remain safely and securely in our communities.

Age Strong Commission As an AAA, the Commission provides funding to community partners to provide services to seniors in the neighborhoods. The Commission also provides direct services to seniors such as advocacy, information and referral, transportation, volunteer opportunities and cultural and social events.

Executive Office of Elder Affairs State Agency that contracts with local service providers.

Greater Springfield Senior Services, Inc. is an Area Agency on Aging (AAA) and Aging Services Access Point (ASAP) providing services to help preserve the independence, and quality of life of elders and disabled persons desiring to remain within their own.

Eldercare Locator This is a great resource to search for specific care in specific counties and cities. This database is a nationwide resource that connects older Americans and their caregivers with trustworthy local support resources. Connect with services such as meals, home care or transportation, or a caregiver education or respite from caregiving responsibilities. The Eldercare Locator is a public service of the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency of the U.S. Administration for Community Living.

Medicare provides a search feature to find & compare providers near you, most senior housing and care providers are included on CareAvailability.com. Find & compare plans in your area. Determine if you qualify for premium savings

Medicaid offers information on how to apply for Medicaid, eligibility criteria, links to local state offices, and additional resources

The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Whether you are living with Alzheimer’s or caring for someone with the disease, information and resources are available.

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Written by The Care Availability Team
Experts in the senior care & retirement living industries

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