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

Pennsylvania’s state capital is a great choice for seniors who are considering home care. Harrisburg is a midsize city with 50,000 residents, and seniors aged 65 and older represent about one-tenth of the population. Although Harrisburg is a relatively youthful city, it offers a number of attractive features for retirees. The cost of living is 25% lower than the national average, which can provide significant savings on the cost of aging in place.

The community also stands out for its rich history and scenic surroundings, thanks to its location along the Susquehanna River and proximity to the Appalachian Mountains. The city’s sheltered location in the Cumberland Valley means that the climate is more pleasant than other parts of the state, and you can expect average annual amounts of rain and snow. Seasonal lows and highs range from 22 degrees in January to 85 degrees in July, which earned the community a comfort rating of 7.2.

Harrisburg also offers easy access to health-related services. The city has an above-average number of physicians and several top-rated hospitals are close by, including UPMC Harrisburg and Penn State’s nationally ranked Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Additionally, Dauphin County has a number of licensed home care agencies to ensure that you can find one that meets your needs.

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

According to Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey, the median cost of home care in Harrisburg is $4,528 per month or $4,576 with added medical care. Since this annual survey assumes that seniors require 44 hours of weekly care, this breaks down to $23.75 and $24 per hour, and these rates are in line with the national averages. However, your costs can vary considerably depending on whether you require around-the-clock support or just a few hours of weekly assistance with important tasks like cleaning, cooking and grocery shopping.

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

The median cost of home care and home health care services in Harrisburg are very close to the state and national averages. In fact, costs vary by less than $100. You’ll also find that in-home care costs are stable across the region. Rates are nearly identical in York at $4,576. Prices in Gettysburg fall to $4,481, which is even with or within $95 of the nationwide median. If you’re considering home care or home health care in Lebanon, you’ll pay $4,385, which could save you about $140 to $190 per month.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Most seniors say that they would prefer home care ($4,528) if given a choice, but there are alternatives. Assisted living costs about $300 more per month at $4,857. You could also join an adult day health care program for a median cost of $1,018, which is lower than the national average. One of the nice things about in-home care is that it can help seniors with varying needs. Home health care agencies charge $4,576 and can provide some of the same services as nursing homes for less than half the $10,311 average cost for a semiprivate room.

III. How to Find Home Care in Harrisburg, 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 Harrisburg, 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 Harrisburg, PA

Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging 

What You Should Know
The Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging is responsible for funding many vital services, including local senior centers and Harrisburg’s Meals on Wheels program. Its Information and Assistance Resource Center is a comprehensive resource if you need more information about government benefits, property tax credits, utility bill assistance and other programs. You may qualify for farmers market vouchers, free legal services, local transportation and Medicare health insurance counseling. The AAA also serves as a care manager for seniors who require in-home care and qualify for one of the state’s Medicaid waivers.

Who Is Eligible?
Area Agencies on Aging focus on serving seniors aged 60 and older. Unpaid caregivers are eligible for free assistance, and many supports, including meals and transportation, are available to disabled adults.

How to Get Started
If you’re interested in learning more about these programs, call (717) 780-6130. Emergency assistance is available 24 hours a day.

Harrisburg and Dauphin County Senior Centers

What You Should Know
Dauphin County operates 14 senior centers and congregate dining sites, including several in Harrisburg. If you enjoy card games and crafts or want to improve your fitness, you can find a variety of opportunities at your local senior center. They also offer bus trips, health screenings and special events. The Heinz-Menaker Senior Center on North Fourth Street is the city’s oldest. You can also visit the Lick Towers Senior Center, the B’nai B’rith Senior Center or the Jewish Community Center for recreational activities and a nutritionally balanced meal, including kosher options at some locations. If you’re aged 55 or older and live near Lower Paxton, you may be interested in joining the Friendship Senior Center.

Who Is Eligible?
Most local senior centers cater to residents aged 55 and older. Some services, such as meals and shared rides to the facility, are available to adults aged 60 and older due to federal guidelines.

How to Get Started
For additional information about these programs, call the Dauphin County Area Agency on Aging at (717) 780-6130, or visit the county’s website to contact your local senior center directly.

Capital Area Transit Senior and Paratransit Programs

What You Should Know
If you need help getting to medical appointments or aren’t comfortable driving after dark or in adverse weather, you can access shared rides through Harrisburg’s Capital Area Transit. Share-A-Ride offers discounted transportation to county residents aged 65 or older, and The Persons With Disabilities Program provides door-to-door transportation to disabled adults under age 65. CAT’s ADA Complementary Service is available to riders who are unable to use conventional fixed-route buses. The service operates Monday through Saturday, and shared rides must be scheduled by noon at least one day in advance.

Who Is Eligible?
CAT offers several transportation programs for seniors and disabled adults. Eligibility is based on your age, physical abilities and other factors.

How to Get Started
For information about medical assistance transportation, call the Center for Community Building at (717) 232-7009. Applications for new paratransit riders are available online. To reach CAT’s customer service department, call (717) 233-5657.

MidPenn Legal Services

What You Should Know
MidPenn Legal Services is a pro bono legal aid society that serves seniors and low-income families in Harrisburg and 18 counties across central Pennsylvania. If you want to stay in your own home, it’s worth contacting the organization’s Harrisburg office for help with wills, advance directives and other legal documents. Attorneys can assist with housing and government benefits, such as Social Security and food stamps, and they can advocate for your interests if you’re facing discrimination, abuse or unfair business practices.

Who Is Eligible?
MidPenn Legal Services serves low-income clients who earn up to 125% of the federal poverty level, or about $16,100 per year for a one-person household. Seniors may qualify for additional services through the state’s SeniorLAW helpline.

How to Get Started
To see if you qualify for free legal assistance, call the Harrisburg office at (717) 232-0581. Legal help is also available by calling the state’s SeniorLAW helpline at (877) 727-7529.

Volunteer Home Repairs

What You Should Know
Volunteer home repairs are available through Habitat for Humanity of the Greater Harrisburg Area and Rebuilding Together. These nonprofit organizations can perform interior and exterior repairs to enhance your safety and security. Volunteers build or repair ramps, railings and porches. You can request help with electrical or plumbing issues and accessibility modifications, such as installing grab bars or stair lifts. Contractors are available to handle roof repairs or replacements and other critical issues. You may be required to pay for part of the material costs, however, donations and grants cover most services. Leak repair, water heating, air conditioning and accessibility modifications are also priorities at Rebuilding Together.

Who Is Eligible?
Habitat for Humanity’s Critical Home Repair Program is open to families whose household income doesn’t exceed 80% of the county median. For 2021, this means that a one-person household must have no more than $47,550 in annual income. Rebuilding Together Greater Harrisburg performs repairs for veterans and seniors aged 60 and older.

How to Get Started
If you need home repairs or help installing grab bars or a wheelchair ramp, contact Harrisburg Habitat for Humanity at [email protected] or call (717) 545-7299. You can reach Rebuilding Together Greater Harrisburg at (717) 232-2557 or [email protected].