I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Huntsville, AL

As one of Alabama’s largest cities, Huntsville is an excellent location for active retirees and seniors who are considering home care. The city has 215,000 residents, and seniors represent 16.1% of the population, which is close to the national average. As a local resident, there are plenty of art, culture and community events for you to enjoy, or you might visit Huntsville Botanical Garden and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

Huntsville maintains 65 parks, and recreation opportunities abound on the Tennessee River and in the Appalachian foothills. The area’s comfortable climate is also popular with golfers. Summer highs average around 90 degrees, and although winter lows drop below freezing, the area receives just 2 inches of annual snowfall. Huntsville offers plenty of ways for you to stay active well into your golden years. However, it also has supports if you need extra assistance, such as in-home care, local transportation and help preparing meals. Since the city’s cost of living is 14% lower than the national average, you may have an easier time paying for long-term care while keeping up with routine expenses.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Huntsville, AL

According to the 2020 Cost of Care Survey published by Genworth, you can expect to pay $3,813 per month for home care in Huntsville. Local rates are about $670 lower than the national average and $400 higher than other parts of the state. On average, home care agencies charge $20 per hour, which is approximately $4 lower than the U.S. median. Expected costs can vary considerably depending on how many hours of assistance you request. For the purposes of this study, Genworth based prices on the cost of 44 hours of weekly care.

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

If you live in Huntsville, you’re in a good position because local home care prices are competitive when compared to the national average and other major metropolitan areas. Seniors in Decatur pay just $23 more per month. Birmingham’s home health care prices are on par with Huntsville, and nonmedical services cost about $100 less. Florence is a particularly cost-effective location. Residents pay just $3,289 for home care, a monthly savings of $524. It’s worth noting that medical and nonmedical services have similar costs in Alabama, which isn’t true for many parts of the country.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Seniors today have more long-term care options. If you’re just getting started, you can join a recreational daytime program for approximately $2,773 per month. Assisted living facilities charge $2,990 per month for room, board and 24-hour assistance. However, these facilities provide a limited amount of personal care each day. Nursing homes charge almost $7,000 per month for 24-hour medical care, which is a big increase. If you have intermediate needs, you should also consider home care. This option provides more flexibility by allowing you to arrange as little or as much care as you need.

III. How to Find Home Care in Huntsville, AL

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 Huntsville, AL.

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 Huntsville, AL

Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments

What You Should Know
The Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments is the Area Agency on Aging for Huntsville and five counties in northeast Alabama. This nonprofit agency is responsible for managing a number of programs funded by the state and federal government. If you need in-home care, the agency can arrange a personal needs assessment to see if you qualify for Medicaid long-term care waivers that can help with the cost. It also offers Medicare insurance counseling, caregiver supports, legal advice, prescription drug assistance and other services.

Who Is Eligible?
Area Agencies on Aging focus on serving seniors aged 60 and older. Many programs are available to unpaid caregivers and disabled adults, and anyone is welcome to call for information or to make a referral.

How to Get Started
To learn more about the services that are available in your neighborhood, call the TARCOG Ageline at (800) 243-5463.

Huntsville-Madison County Senior Center

What You Should Know
The Huntsville-Madison County Senior Center offers more than 200 recreational programs for older adults. It also provides Meals on Wheels deliveries and other supportive services to homebound seniors in the greater Huntsville area. The center coordinates the county’s Homemaker Program that helps seniors with laundry, cleaning and household tasks. Registered nurses are available in the center’s Health Room to help with blood pressure checks and routine health screenings. You can even borrow shower chairs and other mobility aids from the center’s lending closet. If you’re interested in helping others, you can join the Retired Senior Volunteer Program or train to become an AARP Foundation Tax-Aide.

Who Is Eligible?
The Huntsville-Madison County Senior Center is open to residents aged 60 and older. Seniors are automatically enrolled for a free membership. Other programs have different eligibility requirements. For example, Meals on Wheels food deliveries are available to seniors who are homebound or have difficulty preparing their own meals.

How to Get Started
If you’re interested in signing up for recreational programs, call the senior center at (256) 880-7080. For information about homemaker services, call the program supervisor at (256) 513-8324. Meals on Wheels can be reached at (256) 382-0920.

CASA of Madison County

What You Should Know
The Care Assurance System for the Aging and Homebound (CASA) is a nonprofit organization that serves seniors and disabled or homebound residents in Huntsville and Madison County. Volunteers provide an array of services to help you maintain your independence, increase your mobility and enhance your well-being. CASA’s community garden provides organic produce deliveries. Volunteers can drop off loaned medical equipment and install wheelchair ramps or grab bars to help you out. You can also arrange transportation, weatherization services and help with seasonal yard work.

Who Is Eligible?
CASA’s programs are designed to benefit adults aged 60 and older as well as disabled or homebound residents who have unmet needs.

How to Get Started
To learn more about these programs, call (256) 533-7775. CASA is also in need of volunteers if you’re interested in donating your time to help others.

Huntsville Access Paratransit

What You Should Know
Access is a city-operated demand-response paratransit service. The program manages 19 ADA-compliant vehicles that travel to destinations throughout Huntsville and Madison County. If you need help getting around town for grocery shopping, medical appointments or errands, you can schedule door-to-door rides Monday through Saturday from 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. Drivers can escort you to the door from the vehicle, and they can carry small packages. However, they cannot enter your home. Reservations must be made by 5 p.m. at least one day in advance. Tickets cost $2 each way, and if you’re traveling with an escort, your personal care attendant can ride for free.

Who Is Eligible?
Access serves disabled riders who are unable to use the city’s Orbit bus lines and seniors who don’t live near a fixed-route bus stop. New riders must complete an application and provide medical documentation to qualify.

How to Get Started
You can learn more about the application process online or by calling the Huntsville Public Transit Office at (256) 427-6811.

Madison County Homestead Exemption

What You Should Know
Huntsville residents may be eligible for discounts on state and county property taxes. The standard homestead exemption reduces the assessed value of your property by $4,000 for state taxes and $2,000 for county taxes. Homeowners who are aged 65 or older or meet certain disability requirements are exempt from all state-level property taxes, and Madison County will reduce the assessed value of your property by $5,000 when calculating school and other ad valorem taxes. Low-income seniors who report no more than $12,000 on their state tax return are exempt from all ad valorem taxes. If you’re permanently and totally disabled, there’s no income limit for this exemption.

Who Is Eligible?
You may qualify for one or more homestead exemptions if you’re blind, disabled or aged 65 or older and own the home where you live. Expanded state and county exemptions are available to seniors who have no more than $12,000 in annual income. Homeowners must submit an annual application by December 31, including tax returns and other documentation.

How to Get Started
To learn more about this program or to apply, call the Madison County Service Center at (256) 532-3350.