I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Bethlehem, PA

Situated about 70 miles north of Philadelphia in the heart of the scenic Lehigh Valley, Bethlehem has a lot to offer retirees who want easy access to health care services, entertainment and urban amenities. About 16.6% of the city’s 75,815 residents are seniors aged 65 and older, and that number is expected to grow as more people migrate to the region.

If you’re a history buff, you’ll love exploring the many 18th-century buildings in Bethlehem, which include two National Historic Landmarks, the 1741 Gemeinhaus and the 1762 Waterworks. Museums in the area include the Morovian Museum of Bethlehem, and each December the city is filled with festive cheer complete with horse-drawn carriage rides and stunning Christmas displays.

Gamblers can try their luck at Wind Creek Bethlehem, a Vegas-style casino resort complete with multiple restaurants and shops, slot machines, table games and a spa. During the summer months, you can stroll through the dozens of city-owned parks, swim in one of five municipal pools, or play a round on Bethlehem’s 27-hole golf course.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Bethlehem, PA

Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey shows that seniors in Bethlehem pay an average of $4,576 per month for home care and home health care services. These two services are slightly different since home health care also includes some limited medical care such as medication management and ostomy care.

Rates listed by Genworth are based on 44 hours of care each week, which may be more or less support than you need. To calculate your home care costs, simply multiply the average hourly rate, $24, by the number of care hours you require.

The Cost of Home Care & Home Health Care in Nearby Cities

In-home care costs in Bethlehem are the same as the statewide average of $4,576 for either home care or home health care. North of Bethlehem, seniors in East Stroudsburg pay an average of $4,767 for in-home care, while in nearby Reading, home care costs $4,481, and home health care is $4,576. Further south, rates are higher in Philadelphia at $4,767 for both types of care.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

In-home care is just one of the many long-term care options for seniors in Bethlehem. Adult day care is the lowest-priced option at $1,625 per month, while assisted living, which includes room and board, costs around $3,550 per month. Placement in a nursing home is by far the most expensive senior care service at $12,471 per month.

Note: Data for Bethlehem was unavailable, so data for the nearest city, Allentown, was used instead.

III. How to Find Home Care in Bethlehem, PA

Finding a home care provider for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Below, we explain the process of how to find a home care provider in 5 simple steps. Use the infographic below to help guide your search for in-home care in Bethlehem, PA.

An infographic giving steps to finding a home care provider

Remember that there’s not necessarily a right or wrong choice – it comes down to choosing a provider that you feel comfortable with and who’s capable of meeting your specific needs. No matter which provider you choose, you should always have a formal arrangement with your expectations and the payment rate in writing. Doing so will prevent confusion or potential disagreements down the line so that the focus remains on helping the person receiving care.

IV. Home Care Resources for Seniors in Bethlehem, PA

iTN Lehigh Valley

ITN Lehigh Valley is a volunteer-based, on-demand transportation service for older adults. Based in Bethlehem, iTN provides seniors with door-to-door transportation throughout the Lehigh Valley. Rates are higher than you’d pay to use public transit, but lower than local taxi fares.

You can use iTN Lehigh Valley to travel to and from medical appointments and church and to run errands. Although the iTN vehicles aren’t all wheelchair-accessible, drivers can transport walkers and folding wheelchairs.

Who Is Eligible?
As an older adult, you’re eligible to sign up to ride with iTN Lehigh Valley. You don’t need to worry about carrying cash as all fares are paid through your cash-free personal transportation account that you or your family members can fund, and drivers can’t accept tips.

How to Get Started
To learn more about iTN Lehigh Valley, call (610) 419-1645.

Meals on Wheels of the Greater Lehigh Valley

Maintaining a healthy diet is important, but it can be hard to shop for groceries and prepare meals when you’re older. Meals on Wheels is a nonprofit organization that works to help seniors stay healthy at home by delivering freshly-prepared, balanced meals to your home each weekday, as well as frozen meals for use on the weekends and holidays.

When you sign up for Meals on Wheels, a volunteer brings you either a hot lunchtime meal each weekday, one hot lunch and a cold supper, or a week’s worth of frozen meals that you can heat up in your microwave. If you’re a pet parent, you can also sign up for AniMeals, a program that delivers low-cost pet food and animal care supplies right to your door.

Who Is Eligible?
Meals on Wheels is available to seniors living anywhere in the Greater Lehigh Valley who need prepared meals delivered to their home. There’s no financial eligibility criteria, but if you have a low income, you may qualify for subsidized meals. You can sign up for Meals on Wheels on a temporary basis while you’re recovering from an illness or injury, or you can use the service on an ongoing basis.

How to Get Started
To sign up for Meals on Wheels, call (610) 691-1030 anytime Monday through Friday during business hours.

Lehigh County Veterans Affairs Office

If you’re a veteran, survivor or dependent, you can get up-to-date information on local, state and federal benefits and services through the Lehigh County Veterans Affairs Office.

The agency can also help you apply for VA, state and county benefits such as the VA’s Aid and Attendance and Housebound enhanced pension benefits, which you can use toward your home care costs. Veterans affairs officers can assist with applications for the state disabled vets property tax exemption, arrange for transportation to VA medical clinics, and secure service and VA health records.

Who is Eligible?
Any veteran, survivor or dependent living in Lehigh County qualifies for assistance through the Lehigh County Veterans Affairs Office.

How to Get Started
To book an appointment with a VSO, call the Office at (610) 782-3295. If you’re unable to attend an in-office appointment due to disability, you can ask that a VSO meet with you in your home.

North Penn Legal Services

North Penn Legal Services is a nonprofit legal services agency that provides free legal information, assistance and advocacy to low-income residents throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The agency focuses solely on civil (non-criminal) legal matters such as housing issues, consumer fraud, access to health care and advanced care planning for seniors.

Who Is Eligible?
If you’re a senior aged 60 and older, and you’re unable to afford to hire a lawyer to help you prepare your will or health care power of attorney, you may qualify for free assistance through NPLS. You can also contact the agency for help dealing with problems related to your health insurance and government benefits, financial issues and family law problems.

How to Get Started
To contact the Bethlehem NPLS office, call (610) 317-8757.

City of Bethlehem Housing Rehabilitation Program

Maintaining a home can be a challenge, and that’s especially true for seniors living on a fixed income. The city’s Housing Rehabilitation Program helps low and moderate-income homeowners complete home repairs that are needed to improve safety and energy efficiency.

This program provides eligible homeowners with financial help for repairing and upgrading home heating systems and electrical systems, and to rectify building code violations. Money may also be used towards accessibility upgrades, such as the installation of wheelchair ramps, grab bars and raised toilets.

Who Is Eligible?
If you own and occupy your own house, townhouse, condominium or duplex within the Bethlehem city limits, and everyone who lives in your home meets the current income criteria for the program, you may qualify for aid.

How to Get Started
For more information on the Housing Rehabilitation Program, call the Office of Housing Rehabilitation at (610) 865-7095.