Who pays for Mom’s care? Funding for home care services

One of the first questions we are asked as a Calgary home care company is, “Can we get help with the cost of senior home care?” The simple answer is yes, but it does vary according to your needs and circumstances.

There are various funding programs you can apply to, including Private Insurance, Veterans Assistance and Self-Managed care programs..

However, we will say the process involves a lot of time-consuming forms, and you need patience and determination to get the maximum benefits you are entitled to. Benefits are also reassessed every year unless your health needs change.

It can all seem a little overwhelming. So, If you’d like to discuss ways to partially fund home care, call us here at Vytality at Home for a free, no obligation consultation – we are genuinely happy to help anyone navigate the maze of home care funding!

Government Seniors Financial Assistance

The Government currently provides an income for seniors under the Guaranteed Income Supplement and Old Age Security. This can be supplemented with further support and services for eligible seniors, such as

  • Alberta Seniors Benefit – to assist low-income seniors with their living expenses.
  • Supplementary Accommodation Benefit – for those who live in “designated supportive living or long-term care” (NOT in their own homes).
  • Special Needs Assistance for Seniors – help with the cost of appliances, health and personal supports.
  • Dental and Optical Assistance for Seniors – covering basic dental and optical requirements.
  • Health Coverage for Seniors – help with prescription drugs, chiropractic and home nursing care (but not regular, non-medical home care).
  • Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program (SHARP) – via a low-interest home equity loan.

The benefit year runs from July 1 of the first year to June 30 of the next year.

Provincial AHCIP benefits

This is the standard Alberta Health Care Insurance Plan that all residents sign up to. It covers a whole range of medical services which are primarily for emergencies and ongoing medical conditions. There is also provision for “allied health services” such as oral and maxillofacial surgery, optometry, podiatry and podiatric surgery.

There is no specific coverage under AHCIP for home care, only a little for home nursing (which is different). Instead, there are programs for 'eligible' seniors under the Coverage for Seniors program, to help with the cost of certain types of healthcare beyond the normal provision. These include help with the costs of:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Diabetic Supplies
  • Ambulance services
  • Home nursing care (NOT the same as home care!)
  • Chiropractic services
Alberta Health Services Home Care services

Alberta Health Services (AHS) want people to “remain well, safe and independent in their home for as long as possible.” Their Home Care program is designed to help that happen. If you live in Alberta and have a valid healthcare card, you can apply for a continuing care assessment – you don’t have to be a senior.

The important thing to remember is that AHS doesn’t provide the services itself. It contracts them out to home care provider companies (locally to CBI and Bayshore). They also contract other health services out too, such as physiotherapy, etc.

Depending on your needs, your case manager will create a care plan that covers both professional health services and personal care services. That said, it rarely allows for any recreation, cognitive, social support or respite services.

AHS home care and private home care

AHS may sound like exactly what a private home care company would provide, but there is a major difference. Home care via AHS is fixed – you get what you get, when you get it. Caregivers are on a fixed timetable to ensure they can deliver care to all their clients, (over 130,000 across Alberta). This usually means they are with you for a short period of time. One caregiver can see 12 clients in an 8-hour shift, leaving little to no time for you to get to know the caregiver, or provide direction to them on how you want your assistance provided.

A private care company such as ourselves, are much more flexible and are really focused on your needs. We can complete ‘’the core tasks”, and then we stay for companionship and activities. We can combine elements of home care in one visit, so our caregivers can help with personal care, do some light housekeeping or laundry, cook a meal or just sit and discuss the latest news and our clients’ interests.

Most of all, you can choose your caregiver, ensuring it’s the same friendly face you know who looks after you every visit. They know your needs, your routine and your care preferences, so you get the best care for you.

Can AHS help fund home care provided by Vytality at Home?

Yes, absolutely, through the Self-Managed Care via AHS. This is the main funding you can get to help with the cost of home care from providers such as us. It enables you to choose the Private Home care service you want- not the company appointed by AHS. Self Managed Care provides you so many hours per week towards your care based on their assessment, then you will receive around $24.00/hr to apply towards the Private Home Care service you choose.

If you live in Alberta and have healthcare, you are eligible for Self-Managed Care if you:

  • Have assessed unmet health care needs within AHS Provincial Home Care Service Guidelines;
  • Have stable health and predictable care needs;
  • Need ongoing personal care and home care support services
  • (Are) able to assume the responsibilities and risks associated with contracting services for their own or a loved one’s personal or home care support services.

That last clause may sound a bit scary, but simply means you are willing to contract a company that your trust such as ours to provide your home care. The process of engaging us is no different if you want to apply for Self-Managed Care or if you fund yourself entirely. Just to say under this scheme, you are not allowed to pay family members, friends and informal caregivers to provide your care.

Home adaptation and repairs from Vytality at Home

If you’re looking to adapt your home, we can help with the practicalities. Contact us first to discuss how our experienced trade Partners can modify your home either independently or under the SHARP scheme.

Need help working out the best ways to fund senior home care?

Call us! We are genuinely here to help. Our founders Nicole and Brad have worked in healthcare for their entire careers, so they really know their way around the systems here in Calgary. We’re happy to meet you in your own home, or for families living at a distance, we’re happy to talk over the phone, via our free to download app (App Store) (Google Play), or via Skype or similar if you prefer.

539, 5940 Macleod Trail SWCalgary, AB