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

Reading, Pennsylvania, located in Berks County, is about a one-hour drive from Philadelphia to the east and the same distance to the west from Harrisburg, the state capital. A city of 88,375 residents in 2019, with a cost of living considerably below the national average, 10.2% of Reading’s population is aged 65 and older. The fifth-largest city in Pennsylvania, it was once known as The Pretzel Capital of the World. The city is currently home to Bachman, Dieffenbach, Tom Sturgis and Unique Pretzel bakeries.

The Fightin Phils, the AA minor league team of the Philadelphia Phillies, play in FirstEnergy Stadium, so seniors can enjoy a lazy summer afternoon watching future major league ballplayers. If you would prefer something indoors, visit the Neag Planetarium at the Reading Public Museum, which hosts regular star shows. The public museum is also the site of a 25-acre arboretum, which includes descendants of many species of flora originally planted in the 1920s.

If you like to get out and stretch your legs on occasion, you can visit Antietam Lake Park, which offers 643 acres of land for walking, hiking, fishing or picnics. It’s also a great place just to enjoy some peace and quiet.

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

The average costs of home care and home health care in Reading are similar to averages in the state of Pennsylvania and the nation. According to the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey, home care in Reading is $4,481 a month, while home health care is $4,576. Home health care can cost more because of the additional medical services provided.

The Genworth Cost of Care Survey bases its figures on an average of 44 hours of care per week. So the figures quoted above may be higher or lower depending upon the number of hours of care you need to age in place. The average cost for home care is $23.50 an hour, while home health care is $24.

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

The cost of home care and home health care in Reading falls towards the lower end of costs in nearby cities. In Philadelphia, the average monthly cost for home care and home health care is $4,767 a month. In Lancaster, slightly to the southwest, average monthly costs for home care are $4,576, while home health care is $4,671 per month. Prices are several hundred dollars cheaper in Chambersburg, located near the border with Maryland. Home care and home health care cost $4,267 a month.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Home care and home health care are two of the choices available to seniors in the Reading area. They’re a bit more expensive than some options and significantly less expensive than others. The least expensive type is adult day care, which costs $942 a month. Residing in an assisted living facility costs about $500 less a month than home care or home health care at $3,950 a month. The two aging-in-place options, however, are considerably less expensive than a semiprivate room in a nursing care facility, which costs $11,724 a month.

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

Berks County Area Agency on Aging

What You Should Know
A program started by the federal government in the 1970s, the Area Agencies on Aging provide seniors with important services that help them live independently with as much self-determination as possible. The BCAAA has a variety of resources that help seniors become self-sufficient, including home health services like physical therapy, occupational therapy and home health aides when not provided by other means. The BCAAA can also offer specialized medical transportation and basic support like housekeeping, shopping and laundry.

Who Is Eligible?
Seniors must be aged 60 and older and live within the area of Berks County.

How to Get Started
You can learn more about the BCAAA or request one of its services by calling (610) 478-6500. The offices are in the Berks County Services Center, 8th floor, 633 Court Street, Reading.

Meals on Wheels

What You Should Know
This well-known program helps seniors and other individuals who can’t prepare their own meals due to physical limitations or other issues. Meals on Wheels also offers congregate meals in local service centers to mobile seniors who wish to socialize or who may not be able to afford regular meals.

Who Is Eligible?
A home visit is required to determine if you’re eligible to have meals delivered to your residence. Spouses, even if not physically limited, are also eligible for meals. Seniors must be aged 60 or older and housebound because of physical disabilities or illness and have no one else available to help with shopping or cooking. Seniors without cooking facilities may also qualify.

How to Get Started
To apply, fill out this referral form and mail it to Meals on Wheels at one of its six local Berks County centers or fax the completed form to (610) 374-3483.

Berks Encore

What You Should Know
A nonprofit agency devoted to serving seniors in Berks County, Berks Encore provides aid to help you maintain your independence regardless of where you choose to reside. Through its team of volunteers, seniors, their family members or caregivers can receive counseling on issues like Medicare, Social Security, taxes and preparing a budget. Berks Encore also offers education programs for caregivers.

Who Is Eligible?
Any member of the community aged 50+ is eligible for the free services from Berks Encore.

How to Get Started
If you’d like to learn more about the services offered by Berks Encore, call (610) 374-3195 or visit the offices in Reading at 40 N. 9th Street.

Pennsylvania Department on Aging — Help at Home (OPTIONS)

What You Should Know
The run by the Pennsylvania Department on Aging, more commonly known as the OPTIONS program, helps senior residents of Pennsylvania who wish to age in place in four main areas: adult day care services, care management, in-home meals and personal care services, which include assistance with daily living activities.

Who Is Eligible?
You must be at least 60 years of age, a U.S. citizen and live in Pennsylvania and have unmet needs that affect your ability to function daily. There are no income requirements, but you may be asked to contribute toward the cost of services, depending upon your income.

How to Get Started
You can find out more about the Help at Home program by calling (717) 783-1550 or contacting the Berks County Area Agency on Aging.

PACE/PACENET — Prescription Assistance

What You Should Know
Individuals who qualify for the Pennsylvania Property Tax/Rent Rebate may also be eligible for PACE or PACENET. Eligible seniors receive financial assistance toward the cost of needed prescription drugs.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for PACE and PACENET, you must be at least 65, have lived in Pennsylvania for at least 90 days prior to your application and not enrolled in the Department of Human Services Medicaid prescription benefit. PACE requires that the total income for a single person be $14,500 or less or for a married couple, $17,700 or less. PACENET puts total income limits for singles between $14,500 and $27,500, while a married couple’s total income can be between $17,700 and $35,500.

How to Get Started
For more information on these two programs, call (800) 225-7223.

Berks County Adult Day Care Centers

What You Should Know
The centers provide safe, supervised environments for older adults who suffer from dementia-related diseases. Some centers offer additional services like physical or occupational therapy. This resource helps seniors avoid institutionalization and remain at home while receiving the care they need during times when family members or caregivers cannot assist.

Who Is Eligible?
Seniors who suffer from dementia-related diseases, Parkinson’s or other organic brain illnesses are eligible for adult day care.

How to Get Started
You can find more about adult day care services in Reading by visiting the Pennsylvania Department Of Aging’s website.