I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Boston, MA

As the most populous city in Massachusetts, Boston is home to 692,600, including 80,109 seniors aged 65 and older. The region is filled with historic sites, over 200 city-owned parks and beloved sporting venues such as Fenway Park, home to the Boston Red Sox.

As a retiree in Boston, you’ll find there’s plenty of recreational and social amenities to enjoy. Boston Centers for Youth and Families, a city-run agency, operates two dedicated senior centers and five senior spaces in neighborhood community centers where you can participate in low-cost fitness classes, social clubs and drop-in programs. These centers are a great place to meet other seniors, take up new hobbies and get involved in your community.

There are also dozens of seniors’ organizations and special interest groups you may want to explore, including the Young at Heart Chorus, and if you’re aged 62 or older, you can apply for a discounted Lifetime Senior Pass to Boston’s three National Park sites. A number of colleges in Boston offer lifelong-learning opportunities geared toward learners aged 50 and older, while the extensive citywide transit system makes getting around easy and affordable if you’d prefer to let someone else do the driving.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Boston, MA

According to Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly cost of both home care and home health care services in Boston is $5,720. Actual costs may vary depending on the location and whether you need adjunct services such as transportation or overnight care.

These rates are based on 44 hours of service weekly, making the average hourly rate for in-home care $32.50. If you don’t require daily in-home services, you can expect to pay less than the average monthly cost listed on the Genworth Survey. For example, you might find that you simply need a home care worker to help with light housekeeping and meal prep a few days a week rather than every day.

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

Boston’s home care and home health care costs are well above the state ($5,529/$5,649) and national ($4,481/$4,576) averages, thanks in part to the relatively high cost of living in the area. While rates in Boston are relatively high, in nearby Barnstable Town, rates are even higher, at $6,002 per month for home care and $6,101 for home health care. To the west of Boston, rates for both types of care are lower in Worcester ($5,602/$5,510) and Springfield ($5,015/$5,015).

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Home care and home health care rates in Boston are $380 below average assisted living rates, which run about $6,100 per month. If you decide to remain in your home and need to participate in an adult day program, you can expect to pay $1,782 per month for adult day care. Should your care needs increase over time to the point where you need 24/7 skilled nursing care, you’ll find that semiprivate nursing home care costs an average of $13,383 per month.

III. How to Find Home Care in Boston, MA

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 Boston, MA.

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 Boston, MA

Meals on Wheels

What You Should Know
The Meals on Wheels program can provide you with hot, home-delivered meals each weekday that includes one-third of the daily recommended nutrition for an older adult. If you’re a senior or adult with a disability who is particularly vulnerable due to illness, disability or food insecurity, you can also receive additional frozen meals for use on the weekends, as well as nutritional supplements and extra cold meals.

Volunteer drivers deliver your meals, and the drivers also check in to make sure you’re safe and secure. Whenever possible, Meals on Wheels works to provide you with meals that appeal to your tastes and suit your particular dietary needs, and the menu options include ethnic, vegetarian, low-sodium and sugar-free selections.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify to receive Meals on Wheels service, you must be a senior who struggles to shop for groceries and prepare healthy, nutritious meals due to advanced age, disability or a lack of financial resources. You may request Meals on Wheels service on a temporary basis following an illness or injury or on a long-term, regular basis due to a chronic condition.

How to Get Started
To apply for Meals on Wheels service, you can call (617) 477-6606 or Boston Elder INFO at (617) 292-6211.

Elder Mental Health Outreach Team

What You Should Know
If you, your spouse or a senior you know needs emergency mental health support, you can contact the Elder Mental Health Outreach Team. The EMHOT offers elder-focused mental health counseling, support and referrals to community resources and helps connect you with adjunct services such as nutrition programs, transportation, home care and peer support groups.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for assistance from the EMHOT, you must be a senior living in Boston who needs mental health care.

How to Get Started
To connect with an EMHOT intake counselor, call (617) 522-6700.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority – The RIDE

What You Should Know
The RIDE is the regional door-to-door, on-demand paratransit service operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority that makes it easier for seniors with disabilities to get around. The service is available from 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily, and as a registered rider, you can bring along one personal care assistant and up to two children under the age of 11 at no charge. The RIDE vehicles are equipped with wheelchair lifts that can safely accommodate any mobility device you might use, such as a wheelchair, personal mobility device or walker.

Service is available within three-quarters of a mile of any MTA route in Boston and the surrounding area, and you can use The RIDE to connect with MTA subways, trains and buses. This could be a good option if you’re able to use the regular MTA system, but you can’t walk or ride from your home to the nearest bus stop.

Who Is Eligible?
If you can’t use the regular fixed-route transit system due to either a temporary or permanent disability, illness or injury, you can apply to use The RIDE. If you’re just visiting Boston and having difficulty using the MTA system due to disability, you can also use The RIDE.

How to Get Started
To apply to use The RIDE, you can call The RIDE eligibility center at (617) 337-2727. Alternatively, if you have an acute injury or illness that prevents you from using the regular transit service, your physician can provide you with an emergency 30-day pass for The RIDE.

Senior Home Repair and Falls Prevention

What You Should Know
The Ecumenical Social Action Committee is a community-based nonprofit agency that operates the Senior Home Repair and Falls Prevention program. This program provides low- and moderate-income homeowners with free and low-cost home repair and maintenance services that you might need to stay safely in your home. You can request installation of safety devices such as grab bars, wheelchair ramps and raised toilets. ESAC carpenters can also fix railings, upgrade your windows, repair tripping hazards on floors and modify doors to accommodate any mobility devices you might need.

If you have the means to pay for home repair materials, you may be asked to do so in order to preserve program funds for clients who cannot afford essential home maintenance materials.

Who Is Eligible?
If you’re a Boston homeowner aged 62 or older with a low to moderate income and you need help with minor home repairs and accessibility improvements, you may qualify for assistance from this program.

How to Get Started
To learn more, call the ESAC at (617) 524-2555, extension 104.

Greater Boston Legal Services

What You Should Know
Greater Boston Legal Services provides free and low-cost legal services to low-income seniors. The agency focuses on helping elders access Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits, resolving outstanding tax issues, defending against guardianship applications and dealing with legal issues related to housing and consumer matters.

The level of assistance provided by the GBLS depends on your specific situation. You may be referred to other legal resources, or you could be provided legal representation directly through the GBLS.

Who Is Eligible?
If you’re a low-income senior who needs legal assistance related to a noncriminal matter, you may qualify for assistance from GBLS.

How to Get Started
To learn more, call GBLS at (617) 371-1234.