I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Chattanooga, TN

The southeastern Tennessee city of Chattanooga is known for its outstanding scenery, unique cultural amenities and historic sites, making it an inviting place to live or visit. This growing city has over 180,000 residents and a 65+ community that makes up almost 17% of the population. It’s listed on the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, indicating that it offers a range of features and benefits that make it a great option for retirees. It’s among the cheaper places to live in Tennessee, which may enable older adults to maintain their standard of living throughout their retirement years. The low housing prices may help make home care a viable long-term care option for those who need day-to-day assistance. This, combined with Tennessee’s lack of a state income tax, help make it a good option for those with budgetary considerations.

Chattanooga also offers easy access to health care services with its over 300 doctors per capita, which is about 50% above the national median. Numerous hospitals are located within the city proper, including CHI Memorial Hospital, Erlanger Medical Center and Kindred Hospital Chattanooga.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Chattanooga, TN

Home care prices in Chattanooga are relatively affordable, with older adults paying $4,195 per month on average. This average is based on 44 hours of care per week at a rate of $22 per hour.

Because the home care services you receive are based on your needs, your monthly cost may vary from the citywide average. If you only require light housekeeping and meal prep a couple of times per week, or if you receive some community-based services or help from friends and family, you may pay well below the median. If you rely solely on home care for help with most daily living activities, or you require more than 44 hours of care per week, your monthly cost may be higher.

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

Chattanooga seniors pay $4,195 per month for both basic home care and specialized home health care services. This is somewhat higher than the respective statewide medians of $3,909 and $4,004, but it’s significantly lower than U.S. averages of $4,481 and $4,576. Costs are lower in Clarksville at $3,909 for both types of care. In Jackson, rates are among the lowest in the state at $3,670 for home care and $3,813 for home health care. In Cleveland, home care costs $4,076, while home health care averages $4,601.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Home-based care is among the most affordable types of senior care in Chattanooga, with individuals paying $4,195 per month for home care, which provides companionship and basic homemaker services, and home health care, which also includes some skilled nursing services. If you want to live at home but spend less money on care, adult day care may be a viable option at $1,733 per month. Assisted living offers a similar scope of care but is several hundred dollars costlier than in-home assistance at $4,515 per month. Nursing home care is the most expensive option at a monthly cost of $7,148.

III. How to Find Home Care in Chattanooga, TN

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 Chattanooga, TN.

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 Chattanooga, TN

Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability 

What You Should Know
The Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability offers a variety of services to help you remain in your home. Through this agency, you can arrange for home-delivered meals, transportation and low-cost homemaker services, which may help you save money on care expenses. The agency administers the CHOICES Program, which provides in-home care for those aged 65 and over who qualify for Medicaid. It also has options counselors and health insurance advisors who can help you determine how to pay for home-based care.

Who Is Eligible?
You’re eligible for services through the Area Agency on Aging if you’re at least 60 years old and reside in the Chattanooga area. Some programs, including SHIP and home-delivered meals, have additional eligibility requirements.

How to Get Started
To learn more about the available programs or to schedule an appointment with a case manager, contact the agency by calling the Info and Assistance line at (866) 836-6678.

Tax Freeze Program 

What You Should Know
The City of Chattanooga Tax Freeze Program helps older adults avoid increases in their property taxes by freezing their tax amount for future years. This can help you avoid increases in your living expenses, which may enable you to remain in your home. Applications for this program must be submitted annually.

Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for the Tax Freeze Program, you must live in Chattanooga. You also need to meet income limits and provide proof of your age, ownership of your home and that the property is your primary dwelling. You must also be 65 years old when you apply for the program or by the end of that year.

How to Get Started
To learn more about the Senior Tax Freeze Program, you can call the City Treasurer’s Office at (423) 643-7262. To apply, you must print and fill out the application available on the website and mail it to 101 East 11th Street, Room 100, Chattanooga, TN 37402.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program 

What You Should Know
LIHEAP is a federal program that can help you cover your home energy costs. Through this program, you can get a one-time yearly benefit of up to $650 to be used toward your utility expenses. Covered energy costs include electric, gas, propane, wood, coal, oil and kerosene. The payment is sent directly to your utility provider.

Who Is Eligible?
Eligibility for LIHEAP is based on your household size and income and the type of fuel you use. You may be eligible regardless of whether you rent or own your home.

How to Get Started
To apply, you can download, print and fill out the application or contact the Office of Family Empowerment to receive one by mail. The completed application and supporting documents may be faxed to (423) 643-6439, emailed to [email protected] or mailed to or put in the drop box at 501 West 12th Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402.

United Way of Greater Chattanooga 

What You Should Know
United Way of Greater Chattanooga is a regional nonprofit organization that provides one-on-one help with locating and applying for services and programs in the community. Through this organization, you can talk to a trained community resource specialist for help with obtaining home-delivered meals, health and wellness services, transportation, friendly phone calls and durable medical equipment loans, which may help you reduce your home care expenses.

Who Is Eligible?
Anyone in the Chattanooga area is eligible to get free help from the United Way. Specific programs the agency refers you to may have additional requirements related to age, income and disability.

How to Get Started
If you have a 423 area code, you can contact a community resource specialist by dialing 2-1-1. If you’re in Chattanooga but have a different area code, you can call the organization at (423) 265-8000. You can also email the organization at [email protected].

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Chattanooga 

What You Should Know
Habitat for Humanity is a faith-based nonprofit organization that offers programs to improve the comfort and safety of participants’ homes. Its Critical Home Repair program provides interior and exterior repairs to ensure a house meets building codes, which may include window replacements, porch and wheelchair ramp construction and major roof repairs. It also provides weatherization services to help reduce a homeowner’s energy costs.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for services through Habitat for Humanity, your pretax household income can be no higher than 80% of the area median income. You must also own your home, have homeowners’ insurance, not be in bankruptcy and demonstrate a need for assistance. Participants must also be willing to pay the income-based program fee.

How to Get Started
To get more information on the services available through this organization or request an application, call the main office at (423) 756-0507.