I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Lincoln, NE

Lincoln is a college town and capital city with an industrious Midwestern feel. Although seniors represent just 13% of the city’s 289,102 residents, Lincoln has a number of features that make it a great retirement spot and location for aging in place. Some popular city destinations include the Historic Haymarket District, which is packed with galleries, boutiques, antique stores and restaurants, and the UNL Dairy Store, which offers a rotating selection of handmade ice creams and cheeses.

If you’re planning for the future, you may also have more practical considerations, such as finances, climate and health care. Fortunately, Lincoln is a relatively affordable city with a cost of living that’s 10% lower than the national average. Although winter lows plunge into the teens, summer highs soar close to 90 degrees, and the area receives an above-average 214 days of sunshine each year, which is ideal for visiting attractions like Pioneers Park Nature Center.

As a Lincoln resident, you have access to several hospitals and health care networks, including the Bryan Medical Center and CHI Health St. Elizabeth, and you can choose from a number of in-home care agencies to help you with household tasks, errands, transportation and basic medical care.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Lincoln, NE

In the greater Lincoln area, you can expect to pay $4,957 per month for home care and $5,529 home health care services, according to Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey. The $572 cost difference is due to the medical services included with home health care, over and above the homemaker services provided with standard home care. These estimates are based on 44 hours of weekly care or about 176 hours of care per month. Your cost may differ according to how much or how little care you need, and you can expect to pay $26 for home care or $29 per hour for home health care, depending on the type of services you require.

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

In Lincoln, the costs of home care and home health care services are $95 and $572 higher than the Nebraska averages of $4,862 and $4,957. You can also expect to pay $476 more for homemaker services and $953 more for home health care compared to the U.S. medians. In-home care is slightly more affordable in Omaha at $4,767 and $4,957, respectively. Prices for both types of care are higher in Sioux City, Iowa, at $5,005, while seniors in Manhattan, Kansas, pay significantly less at $4,290 per month.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

In-home care provides a good value when compared to some alternatives in Lincoln. Local nursing homes charge $7,254 per month, on average, which is about $1,700 to $2,300 more per month. At an average of $4,755 per month, assisted living costs about $200 less in comparison. Rates include room and board, but the level of one-on-one assistance is limited. Adult day health care is a budget-friendly alternative at $814 per month, which is about half the nationwide average. However, you must be willing and able to travel to a local community center to participate in these programs.

III. How to Find Home Care in Lincoln, NE

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 Lincoln, NE.

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 Lincoln, NE

Aging Partners

What You Should Know
As the local Area Aging on Aging, Aging Partners coordinates a variety of services that benefit older adults in Lincoln and the surrounding eight-county area. It provides information, assistance and referrals to help you access programs in your community. These resources include free legal advice, home-delivered meals, healthy aging courses and nonmedical transportation. Staff members offer case management services and functional needs assessments that may help you qualify for Medicaid waivers that can cover the cost of in-home care. The state’s Aged & Disabled Waiver covers home modifications, assistive technology and emergency response systems, among other services.

Who Is Eligible?
Aging Partners serves all area residents aged 60 and older, as well as caregivers and disabled adults. You may need to meet medical or financial eligibility criteria to qualify for some programs, and waiting lists may apply.

How to Get Started
To learn more about the available services that can help you age in place, call (402) 441-7070 to speak to a long-term care adviser.

Lincoln Senior Centers

What You Should Know
The city operates five local senior centers in cooperation with Aging Partners. These facilities provide recreational activities, social events, music, entertainment and fitness classes designed especially for older adults. You can visit your local center for free flu shots, health screenings and tax preparation assistance. Each center serves nutritious lunchtime meals and holiday dinners for a $4 to $6 donation. Rates vary depending on your age and the type of event. Meal reservations should be made two days in advance. If you’re unable to drive to the center, low-cost rides can be scheduled the day before.

Who Is Eligible?
Lincoln’s senior centers offer low-cost meals and a variety of free programs and resources to seniors aged 60 and older. Younger individuals pay an additional fee for meals.

How to Get Started
For more information about these programs, call (402) 441-7158 to find the senior center nearest you. Schedules and facility guides are also available online.

Lincoln NeighborLNK

What You Should Know
Sponsored by the City of Lincoln, NeighborLNK is a community-based program designed to address isolation and other day-to-day issues that have affected older adults during the pandemic. This COVID-related service matches homebound seniors with qualified volunteers who can help with errands and grocery shopping. They may also offer video chats or phone calls to check on you and provide valuable social interaction if you live alone. For safety, volunteers provide virtual wellness calls and stay outside when making deliveries. Volunteers must be at least 19 years old, pass a background check and complete a training program.

Who Is Eligible?
NeighborLNK serves seniors who are aged 60 or older, and adults who are disabled or homebound.

How to Get Started
If you’re interested in signing up for NeighborLNK, complete the online application or call Aging Partners at (402) 441-7575.

Tabitha Meals on Wheels

What You Should Know
This nonprofit organization provides senior services in 27 Nebraska counties. Established in 1967, Tabitha Meals on Wheels provides a hot lunchtime meal and in-person wellness check to more than 500 clients in the greater Lincoln area. It operates 365 days a day and is committed to serving all eligible adults in the area. Daily meals include nutritionally balanced main dishes and sides that are professionally prepared in a state-of-the-art kitchen. Menu options range from teriyaki chicken to roast beef. The program also serves vegetarian alternatives daily, such as barbecue tofu.

Who Is Eligible?
Home-delivered meals are available if you’re a senior or disabled adult and unable to prepare your own meals. Sliding-scale discounts may apply, and the program won’t turn you away for financial reasons.

How to Get Started
To learn more about this program, you can contact a Tabitha senior care expert by calling (402) 486-8520.

StarTran Paratransit Program

What You Should Know
StarTran, the city’s public transit service, operates a door-to-door paratransit program that serves disabled riders across the Lincoln area. It provides unconditional or conditional cards depending on whether you have a permanent or temporary disability. There are no age or income requirements, but discounted low-income passes are available. Regular fares cost $3.50 one way. Exact change is required, and you can purchase multiday passes at a reduced rate. The city also offers shared door-to-door rides through VANLINK. This service costs $5 per trip. Same-day scheduling is available through a smartphone app, and all vehicles are wheelchair accessible.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for the paratransit service, you must be unable to ride regular fixed-route buses due to a disability. Verification from a physician or accepted medical professional is required when you apply.

How to Get Started
To start using this service, complete the online application form, or contact the League of Human Dignity at (402) 441-7871 for more details.