I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Billings, MT

Once called the Magic City and now Montana’s Trailhead, Billings maintains a hometown charm despite being the Big Sky State’s largest city. The City Beneath the Rimrocks boasts an abundance of scenic surroundings, appealing to nature-loving retirees who desire relaxed urban living. Over 18,000 or 16.6% of the city’s residents are 65 and older, and the seat of Yellowstone County gives them easy access to many senior-focused resources.

The very short daily commute in Billings benefits seniors traveling for errands and leisure purposes. Billings Clinic is conveniently located downtown and close to St. Vincent Healthcare. Just steps away from the Yellowstone Art Museum which features contemporary collections, the Alberta Bair Theater hosts world-class acts that are accessible to wheelchair-bound and hearing-impaired guests. For history enthusiasts, the Western Heritage Center and Moss Mansion are also blocks apart. You can take advantage of home-delivered books through the Billings Public Library’s Senior Bookmobile program.

Natural sights in and around Billings are not too far for seniors to visit. Local parks along the Yellowstone River offer grand Rimrock views and tranquil spaces for wildlife watching, while ZooMontana features open-air habitats and therapeutic botanical gardens. Billings is also about an hour from the Beartooth Highway for a priceless All-American scenic ride to Yellowstone National Park.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Billings, MT

The costs for home care and home health care in Billings are similar at $5,139 per month, as shown in the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey. Actual pricing for home health care may be higher for some providers as it typically includes skilled nursing services and other forms of specialized support, in addition to standard home care services.

Genworth’s data on average monthly in-home care costs are calculated using a fixed 44-hour weekly schedule. You can spend more or less monthly, based on the number of care hours they require in a week. For simplified estimates, the average hourly rate for both home care and home health care in Billings is $26.95.

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

Most areas in Montana have comparable home care and home health care costs. Both care options in Billings have costs that are considered midrange, virtually on par with the Montana average of $5,139 per month. Missoula in the northwest is more affordable at $5,005 per month. Outside Montana, home care and home health care in Casper, Wyoming, have largely differentiated costs at $5,100 and $6,959, respectively. You may save more in Idaho Falls and pay around $4,481 per month for either care option.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

While home care and home health care are the second most expensive senior care options in Billings, their actual costs may be lower or higher based on the number of service hours a care recipient needs. Nursing home care is the most expensive option at $7,756 per month, around $2,600 higher than in-home care. Assisted living is considered affordable at $4,100, saving approximately $1,000 per month. If you prefer a more social setting without permanently leaving home, you may opt for adult day care, which costs $2,080 monthly but may vary based on a provider’s hourly or daily rate.

III. How to Find Home Care in Billings, MT

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 Billings, MT.

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 Billings, MT

Area II Agency on Aging

What You Should Know
Area II AAA locally administers Montana’s long-term care programs and support services that can help Billings seniors remain safe and comfortable at home. The Self-Directed Personal Care option under the Community First Choice program gives low-income seniors (or their personal representatives) the freedom to hire and train their own personal care attendants. Likewise, the Veteran Directed Care program helps qualified veterans remain at home while receiving personal care from their chosen caregivers. Guardianship and representative payee programs are also offered to vulnerable individuals who need authority-approved support in making personal decisions. Area II AAA is also the local contact for Montana SHIP (State Health Insurance Counseling Program), which provides free one-on-one counseling on Medicare, Social Security, and long-term care financing options.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for self-directed care, you must be fully eligible for Montana Medicaid and require assistance with daily living activities. The eligibility of veterans applying for VDC is determined by Veterans Affairs. Guardianships are based on accepted referrals and must be court-appointed, while eligibility for representative payee services is determined by the Social Security Administration. Homebound seniors may be visited by SHIP counselors when necessary.

How to Get Started
Call Area II AAA directly at (406) 323-1320 for inquiries about its available programs, as well as for information and assistance on local services offered to seniors in Billings.

Adult Resource Alliance of Yellowstone County

What You Should Know
Formerly named Yellowstone County Council on Aging, Alliance YC has been providing a comprehensive range of senior services since 1975. Its Meals on Wheels program delivers nutritious meals daily to homebound seniors in Billings, while the Pantry Pals program provides grocery shopping services. The Senior Lunch Program serves hot meals in multiple congregate meal sites including Billings Community and Senior Center. Transportation services include the RIDES program for non-emergency and nonmedical trips by volunteer drivers, the meal site cab program and non-emergency medical rides in contract with MET PLUS. Alliance YC has a dedicated resource center for information and assistance on long-term support options and other local senior services, as well as free SHIP counseling.

Who Is Eligible?
Homebound seniors 60 and older with certain functional limitations are eligible for Meals and Wheels, Pantry Pals and transportation services. While there are no income restrictions for these services, minimal donations are recommended for those who are able to provide them.

How to Get Started
To sign up for Meals on Wheels in Billings and for general inquiries on other services, you may contact Alliance YC at (406) 259-9666. For SHIP counseling and other information on long-term care, call the agency’s Resource Center directly at (406) 259-5212.

Big Sky Senior Services

What You Should Know
A local nonprofit agency operating in Billings since 1977, Big Sky Senior Services provides in-home services to seniors, regardless of their ability to pay. Its Senior Helping Hands program includes personal care, nursing services, meal and homemaker services, respite care and home safety checks. The Friends Volunteer Program offers companionship to homebound seniors through social visits, phone conversations and Lend-A-Hand minor repairs and yard work, as well as guardianship services by professional volunteers from the Yellowstone County Guardianship Council. Big Sky Services also administers a payee representative program that aims to help prevent elder abuse.

Who Is Eligible?
Low-income seniors 60 and older are qualified to receive Senior Helping Hands in-home care services which may be funded through Medicaid, private insurance, supplemental funding and private pay (based on sliding scale fees).

How to Get Started
Client application forms for the Senior Helping Hands and Friends Volunteer programs are available at the agency’s website. You may also call (406) 259-3111 for further inquiries.

HRDC Community Action Agency

What You Should Know
The Human Resources Development Council offers a range of social services, including weatherization and energy assistance programs which qualify low-income seniors living at home. LIHEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program) directly pays a portion of a participant’s utility bills during the heating season from October to April, while the weatherization program provides energy-efficient home modification services to help beneficiaries save energy costs.

Who Is Eligible?
Eligibility for HRDC’s energy assistance and weatherization programs is based on income and household size. Both low-income homeowners and renters may apply. Eligible LIHEAP applicants are automatically qualified for weatherization services.

How to Get Started
The LIHEAP/weatherization application form is available at the HRDC website for completion and submission to HRDC. Applicants who are seniors 60 and older may call (800) 551-3191 for assistance.

Family Service Senior Food Assistance Program

What You Should Know
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program is locally administered by Family Service, a Billings-based nonprofit organization. CFSP benefits low-income seniors with a free monthly supply of nutritious USDA food products. Participants or their designated persons can pick up their food bags on weekdays at 3927 1st Ave South during office hours.

Who Is Eligible?
CFSP recipients must be 60 and older, residents of Yellowstone and Fergus Counties and earning up to 130% of the federal poverty level.

How to Get Started
Applications for CFSP must be done annually. You may call Family Service at (406) 259-2269 for more information.