I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Suffolk County, NY

Suffolk County offers a kaleidoscope of enriching opportunities for seniors to explore, from vibrant metropolitan amenities to scenic parks, beaches and championship golf courses. It is home to almost 1.5 million residents, of whom 17.3% are 65 and older. The overall older population here has grown by 34% since 2007, and the 85-plus demographic has increased by 56%. Suffolk County has more seniors than all but three counties in the state of New York.

Celebrities and seniors alike have ample reasons to flock to Suffolk County. The Long Island Aquarium, Montauk Lighthouse Museum and the Hamptons offer some of the nation’s best in contemporary, nostalgic and luxurious destinations. Trendy bistros, historic dining venues and artisan wineries and breweries satisfy your traditional or eclectic tastes, and quiet villages and barrier islands provide wonderfully varied environments to investigate.

Although property taxes are relatively high here, seniors in Suffolk County may appreciate having a lighter tax burden than some states, as Social Security income and public pension income are not taxed and retirement account withdrawals are only partially taxed. Retirees in this area may also appreciate low crime rates and access to top-performing geriatric facilities such as Mount Sinai Hospital. With the area’s widely available support services and programs, seniors can enjoy a fulfilling aging experience at home.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Suffolk County, NY

Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey reports that home care in Suffolk County costs an average of $4,767 per month. Home health care, which includes minor medical assistance, costs an average of $4,948 per month.

The survey’s estimates of the average prices for home care and home health care are based on 44 hours of services per week. Your actual monthly cost will depend on how many hours of care you may need each week. Breaking this average down to an hourly figure, you can expect to pay a median hourly rate of $25 for home care and $25.95 for home health care in Suffolk County.

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

In Suffolk County, you would pay less for home care and home health care than seniors in the New York and Poughkeepsie areas, who see average prices of $4,957 for both services. However, you would pay more than residents in Kingston, where providers charge a median rate of $4,385 for either home care or home health care.

Note: Data for Suffolk County, NY, was unavailable, so data for the nearest city, New Haven Area, CT, was used instead.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Home care and home health care fees are in the midrange of prices for senior care options in Suffolk County. The most economical choice is adult day care at $1,110 per month. Nursing home care is the most expensive, as a semiprivate room costs an average of $12,395, over twice as much as home care or home health care. Home care is also more affordable than assisted living here, which averages $6,445 per month.

III. How to Find Home Care in Suffolk County, NY

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 Suffolk County, NY.

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 Suffolk County, NY

Suffolk County Office for the Aging

What You Should Know
The Suffolk County Office for the Aging serves to help seniors maintain personal and economic independence and dignity. It coordinates a continuum of in-home services through the Expanded In-Home Services for the Elderly Program and the Family Caregiver Support Program. Case managers visit applicants to assess unmet physical, economic and social needs and devise a care plan. Eligible seniors can receive assistance with meal preparation and shopping, in addition to getting access to skilled nursing services. Family caregiver support includes information, training, individual counseling, support groups, respite services and referrals to benefit programs and other resources.

Who Is Eligible?
The Office for the Aging works with seniors 60 and older or their caregivers. It prioritizes individuals and families with significant financial and social needs. Caregiver support services are free, although participants are encouraged to donate if possible.

How to Get Started
To learn more about the Office’s services or apply for programs, call (631) 853-8200 or send an email to [email protected].

Catholic Charities of Long Island

What You Should Know
Through its Meals On Wheels program, Catholic Charities brings hot, healthy meals to seniors in Suffolk County. Volunteers deliver meals every weekday. Case managers can also connect participants with other local support as needed. Congregate meal sites also provide meals, recreation and social activities once or twice a week.

Who Is Eligible?
Catholic Charities serves Suffolk County and Nassau County residents who are at least 60 years of age. To participate in the Meals On Wheels program, you must be homebound and unable to prepare (or unable to have someone prepare) your own well-balanced meals. Donations are suggested for home-delivered meals and senior center services, but you won’t be refused if you’re unable to pay.

How to Get Started
To sign up for Catholic Charities’ senior services, call its office at (516) 733-7000.

Suffolk County Transit Reduced Fare Program

What You Should Know
Suffolk County seniors can ride with the county transit system for only $0.50 per one-way trip. Personal care attendants can ride free when escorting a passenger with a disability. Companions pay the regular fare.

Who Is Eligible?
You must be at least 60 years of age or have a physical or mental disability to receive this reduced rate. You’ll also need to present valid identification or a Medicare card. Be sure to have your exact fare ready to deposit on your own; drivers cannot handle money.

How to Get Started
For ID information or more details about this bus service, contact the representatives at the Suffolk County Transit office at (631) 853-8200 or call 511.

Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP)

What You Should Know
HEAP provides one benefit per heating season to help low-income families pay their heating bills. This program can provide funds for electricity, natural gas, coal, oil, wood, kerosene, propane or corn. An emergency benefit may be available for households in immediate danger of running out of fuel or having utility services shut off. You can also apply for cooling assistance to purchase an air conditioner or fan. The price cannot exceed $800, including installation costs.

Who Is Eligible?
You and the members of your household must have valid Social Security numbers. Homeowners and renters can qualify for HEAP. You can also be eligible if you have money in the bank or investments, or if you pay your heat bill as part of your rent.

How to Get Started
To learn more about the HEAP program and its requirements, call (800) 342-3009 or the Suffolk County Local District Contacts at (631) 853-8825 in Hauppauge, (631) 854-2300 in Coram, (631) 852-3500 in Riverhead, or (631) 854-6600 in Deer Park. After-hours emergency services are available at (631) 854-9100.

Residential Emergency Services to Offer Home Repairs to the Elderly (RESTORE)

What You Should Know
The RESTORE Program helps low-income seniors obtain emergency repairs to address threats to the safety and health of older homeowners. This program, administered by the Community Development Corporation of Long Island, Inc., can provide funds of up to $10,000 per residence. Repairs may include — but are not limited to — electrical and heating system repairs or upgrades, critical repairs to water supply or septic systems, and mobility modifications such as grab bars and ramps. RESTORE can also perform urgent structural repairs to roofs, floors, foundations, stairs, doorways, windows, doorways, porches and decks.

Who Is Eligible?
To apply for RESTORE, you must be a homeowner of at least 60 years of age living in Suffolk or Nassau County. The home to be repaired must be your primary residence, and your annual household income must meet the program’s guidelines as determined by HUD.

How to Get Started
For additional information or to apply, call CDCLI’s office at (631) 471-1215 or send an email to [email protected].