I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Chicago, IL

Many seniors choose to call Chicago home: Individuals age 65 or older comprise 12.4% of the city’s population, which is an estimated 2,693,976 residents in total. They are drawn to Chicago’s green spaces, which include the relaxing Garden of the Phoenix in Jackson Park and the South Shore Natural Area. Additionally, Chicago is home to a strong restaurant scene and several professional sports teams. While Chicago can be cold in the winter and certainly earns its Windy City nickname, it does feature warm summers.

Those summers are a great time to check out Chicago’s plethora of beaches, which offer opportunities like swimming, kayaking, boating or simply relaxing. Older adults may also be interested in the city’s tours and cruises, robust museum offerings and myriad senior centers. Additionally, Chicago has a strong performing arts scene that caters to fans of comedy and drama alike. To get around the city, you can use Chicago’s convenient public transit system or bicycling infrastructure. Economic incentives like tax breaks add to Chicago’s senior-friendliness as well.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Chicago, IL

The Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey reports that in Chicago, home care and home health care cost $26 and $26.50 per hour, respectively. Assuming an individual requires 44 hours of care per week, those figures translate to monthly average costs of $4,957 for home care and $5,053 for home health care. The difference between the two is that home health care provides light medical assistance. Home care does not.

An individual who needs around-the-clock care, or 168 hours weekly, can expect to pay a monthly average of $18,927 for home care and $19,293 for home health care. Those figures drop to $2,253 and $2,297, respectively, for someone who needs only 20 hours of assistance per month.

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

Using monthly average costs as comparison points, Chicago’s rates are slightly more expensive than the Illinois statewide averages of $4,767 for home care and $4,862 for home health care. Chicago is also more expensive than the average American city, where seniors can expect to pay around $4,481 for home care and $4,576 for home health care. Additionally, Chicago’s rates are slightly higher than Rockford, where home care costs $4,872, and home health care costs $5,039. The gap is larger between Chicago and Kankakee, where both services run $4,767. Chicago’s prices align closely with those of Champaign: There, the monthly average for each service is $5,005.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Useful comparisons can also be drawn between the cost of home care and other types of senior living arrangements in Chicago. On the lower end of the price spectrum is adult day health care, which costs an average of $1,614 per month. Assisted living facilities, meanwhile, cost $4,950 per month on average. (Notably, that is only $7 less than the average cost for home care, but assisted living involves transitioning away from your home, which can be a difficult change.) Semiprivate rooms in nursing homes go for much more: $8,076 per month, on average.

III. How to Find Home Care in Chicago, IL

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 Chicago, IL.

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 Chicago, IL

Chicago Senior Services

What You Should Know
Chicago’s Senior Services programs encompass a variety of offerings that help a range of the city’s elders. The home-delivered meals program provides nutrition to homebound seniors, and caregiving-assistance services are also available. The latter can help seniors with chores. The program also assists grandparents who are in charge of raising children, specifically by providing counseling and emergency funding to bridge financial gaps.

Additionally, the city operates a hands-on case management program that helps with unsafe housing and mental health issues, among other problems. Housing aid, legal advice and a caregiver respite program are also available, as is counseling for Medicare recipients. The city’s senior centers may be of interest to older adults, as well.

Who Is Eligible?
Eligibility requirements may vary from program to program. In general, Senior Services’ offerings are available to older adults, often defined by the city as 60 years of age or older, though other factors may affect eligibility.

How to Get Started
To learn more, call the Chicago Senior Services hotline at (312) 744-4016.

Housing Opportunities & Maintenance for the Elderly (HOME)

What You Should Know
HOME runs several programs for Chicago’s low-income elderly residents, including one that offers aid with home repairs and maintenance to keep seniors’ homes habitable and comfortable. Assistance with shopping is available for seniors who do not have grocery stores nearby or who are not sufficiently mobile.

HOME can also make moving to a new home easier for older adults. Its intergenerational housing properties provide a home to both independent residents and those who require higher levels of assistance. Weatherization and painting services are available from HOME as well.

Who Is Eligible?
All of HOME’s services are for seniors in need of financial aid. Specific programs may have requirements governing enrollees’ minimum age and maximum income. For instance, weatherization program enrollees must be a minimum of 62 years of age or 55 years of age and living with a disability. An income cap also applies. To learn more about your eligibility for a specific program, contact HOME.

How to Get Started
To get in touch with HOME, call (773) 921-3200 or send an email to [email protected].

The Community Care Program (CCP)

What You Should Know
Operated by the Illinois Department on Aging, the CCP’s overarching goal is to make it more possible for the state’s older residents to remain in somewhat independent living situations. To that end, the CCP offers an adult day service and provides automatic medication dispensers and reminder systems. It also operates a 24-hour line that seniors can utilize in emergencies, such as when they are experiencing dizziness or other medical issues. Additionally, the program aids seniors with household tasks such as laundry and meal preparation as well as cleaning and bathing.

Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for the CCP, you must be at least 60 years of age and live in Illinois. The program has an asset limit of $17,500, though furnishings, vehicles and homes are exempt from that valuation. Additionally, an assessment that determines your need for long-term care is required.

How to Get Started
To learn more about the CCP, call (1-800) 252-8966 to be connected to Illinois’s Senior HelpLine.

Meals on Wheels Chicago

What You Should Know
Meals on Wheels Chicago provides nutrition to the city’s homebound older adults. It delivers a variety of meal types, including vegetarian, kosher and pureed offerings. The organization also funds an emergency meals program as well as a program that provides food on federal holidays. Meals on Wheels achieves its goals via a partnership with Chicago’s Department of Family and Supportive Services.

Who Is Eligible?
Generally, adults must be 60 years of age or older to enroll in the organization’s services. However, individuals with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 60 are also eligible for meals.

How to Get Started
To learn more or begin the enrollment process, call the Department of Family and Supportive Services at (312) 744-4016.

Northside Community Resources (NCR)

What You Should Know
NCR’s Senior Services program assists seniors in a variety of ways, including through crisis intervention and safety checks. Older adults can also access case management services. Additionally, NCR helps clients apply for benefits and provides referrals to other sources of help.

Another offering of note is the Small Accessibility Repairs for Seniors program. Through SARFS, seniors can obtain upgrades that make their home more accessible, with examples including grab bars and ramps. SARFS also performs repair work. The services of SARFS are available to residents of apartments, condominiums and single-family homes.

Who Is Eligible?
NCR aims its Senior Services at residents of the North Side of Chicago and specifically vulnerable, isolated individuals. SARFS is available to individuals who are 60 years of age or older, meet certain financial requirements and live in wards 39, 40, 46, 47, 48, 49, or 50 of Chicago.

How to Get Started
The phone number for NCR is (773) 338-7722, and the email address is [email protected].