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

Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is one of more than 525 cities included in AARP’s Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. The city has a livability index of 57 thanks to in part to safe, readily available transportation with a high number of handicap-accessible vehicles. The city also ranks well for housing affordability and neighborhood quality. Lancaster maintains more than a dozen neighborhood parks, and the county operates several trails and greenways.

Older adults have access to several senior centers that offer fitness classes, educational opportunities and social activities. Transportation to these centers is available by request, and you can sign up to receive low-cost, nutritionally balanced meals at these sites. The community has a number of charitable organizations that offer helpful services if you need assistance with yard work, home repairs and everyday chores such as grocery shopping.

Although Lancaster is a small community with just 60,000 residents, it’s home to the nationally ranked Lancaster General Hospital, which specializes in geriatrics. Healthcare services are slightly more expensive than the national average, but the overall cost of living is low. If you’re considering in-home assistance, you may also appreciate the area’s moderate home care costs, which are very close to the national average.

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

Home care in Lancaster costs $4,576 per month, according to Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey. These services cover basic assistance with shopping, meal preparation, household chores and personal care. Home health care, which also offers nursing and limited medical services, costs $4,671, or about $95 more per month.

Cost estimates are based on the cost of 44 hours of weekly care. This breaks down to an hourly rate of $24 for home care and $24.50 for home health care. Depending on your individual needs, your costs could be significantly lower, especially if you only need occasional assistance or someone to come by once or twice per week.

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

Home care costs are relatively stable in Lancaster and other parts of eastern Pennsylvania. Locally, home health care rates are just slightly higher than the shared state and national averages of $4,576. Home care costs are about $95 higher than the U.S. median of $4,481. Prices for home care are comparable in York and Harrisburg, while local seniors pay about $100 more for home health care services. In Philadelphia, in-home assistance averages $100-$200 more per month depending on the type of care provided.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

In-home care services that help you to age in place can be cost-effective compared to other types of senior care in Lancaster. Community-based programs provided at adult day care centers are the least expensive option, and cost an average of $1,625 per month. Assisted living facilities charge $4,050 per month for room, board, activities and personal care services. Those who need nursing home care can expect to pay $11,224 per month, or about 2.4 times the cost of in-home care, which may also include some nursing and medical monitoring services.

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

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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 Lancaster, PA

Lancaster Recreation Commission Senior Citizens Center

You Should Know
The Lancaster Rec Senior Center is located on the lower level of the Lancaster Recreation Commission building at 525 Fairview Avenue. This well-equipped senior center features a full-size gym, dance hall, kitchen, technology center and media room. Programs are sponsored by the Lancaster County Office of Aging and include fitness classes, yoga, bus trips, technology workshops, multiweek art courses and games such as bingo, pickle ball and mahjong. The center is also home to the 48-member Lancaster Senior Orchestra. It offers tax preparation assistance, Medicare guidance, low-cost meals and free health screenings. You may also be eligible for transportation to and from the center if you’re unable to drive.

Who Is Eligible?
This local senior center serves Lancaster residents aged 60 and older. There’s no cost to join, although some classes have a participation fee.

How to Get Started
Seniors must complete a free membership form to join the center. For information about recreation activities or for questions about the application process, call the program director at (717) 399-7671.

Red Rose Transit Senior Free Ride Program

What You Should Know
Getting around town is easy and affordable with Red Rose Transit’s Senior Free Ride Program. Thanks to funding from the Pennsylvania Lottery, this program entitles seniors to free rides on any local bus line at any time. If you’re unable to use the city’s fix-route transit service or travel to a bus stop due to a disability, you may be eligible for Red Rose Access. This ADA-compliant service provides curb-to-curb transportation seven days a week. Services are available from 5 a.m. to 11:35 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday. Fares for the ADA Program start at $2.40.

Who Is Eligible?
The Senior Free Ride Program is available to adults aged 65 and older. Other services are available to residents who have a qualifying disability.

How to Get Started
You must apply for a Pennsylvania Senior Citizen Transit ID Card to use this service. Forms are available online. Completed applications along with proof of age and identification can be sent to [email protected] or submitted to the RRTA Information Center at the Queen Street station. For more details, call the Red Rose Transit Authority at (717) 397-5613.

Lancaster County Office of Aging

What You Should Know
The Lancaster County Office of Aging provides direct services and informational assistance to help area seniors maintain their independence. Its programs are designed to support seniors who want to live in the least restrictive setting. The office coordinates in-person functional needs assessments to determine if residents require a nursing home level of care. It offers Medicare insurance counseling, supports several local senior centers and sponsors the Lancaster Senior Games. You can also contact the Office on Aging to sign up for evidence-based courses, such as Geri-Fit strength training and Walk With Ease, a six-week course developed by the Arthritis Foundation.

Who Is Eligible?
Informational services and referrals are available to all area residents aged 60 and older. There are financial and functional needs requirements for some programs, such as the state’s Medicaid OPTIONS waiver.

How to Get Started
For more details, call the Office of Aging at (717) 299-7979 or (800) 801-3070.

Meals on Wheels of Lancaster

What You Should Know
Meals on Wheels of Lancaster has been proving free and low-cost nutritional services to homebound residents since 1967. Every year, it serves over 1,000 clients across more than a dozen Lancaster area zip codes. Seniors receive one hot meal plus a paper bag lunch each day they participate. Gluten-free, vegetarian and therapeutic meals, including mechanical soft, diabetic and low-sodium options, are available by request or with a physician’s order. If you’re interested in meeting friendly visitors for cards, TV time or a casual chat, Meals on Wheels operates a Social Call Program, and in the spring and fall, volunteers band together to help seniors with seasonal tasks, such as gutter cleaning, window washing and yard work.

Who Is Eligible?
Services are available to seniors who are homebound and need help preparing their own meals. Daily deliveries cost just $8 to $10, and fees are based on a sliding scale.

How to Get Started
If you’d like to learn more or sign up for meal deliveries, contact Meals on Wheels at (717) 392-4842, or complete the online questionnaire.

Jewish Family Service of Lancaster

What You Should Know
This Jewish Family Service chapter has been serving vulnerable residents in the greater Lancaster area since 1989. It offers educational courses and outreach events for seniors, teens and children that are focused on a variety of topics, including mental health. If you need a walker, bedside commode, shower chair or wheelchair, the center offers free medical equipment loans through its lending closet. You can work with a JFS senior care manager to arrange in-home personal care, including assistance with meal preparation, grooming, bathing, laundry and medications. JFS also provides limited financial assistance for utilities, groceries and essential expenses through its Tzedakah program.

Who Is Eligible?
Jewish Family Service serves seniors and vulnerable residents at all stages of life. It’s a nonsectarian organization centered on the values of justice, compassion and respect. Members of any faith can request assistance.

How to Get Started
To learn more about these services, call JFS at (717) 537-1863, or visit the office at 75 East James Street.