I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Tacoma, WA

The northwest city of Tacoma is a vibrant, waterfront metropolis situated along the shores of Puget Sound that serves as the seat of Pierce County. Just under 14% of the city’s 219,205 residents are seniors aged 65 and older, and Tacoma is a member of the AARP’s Age-Friendly Network.

The cost of living in Tacoma is slightly above the nationwide average, but low- and moderate-income senior homeowners can reduce their expenses by applying for a property tax credit. There’s also no individual income tax levied in Washington state, and local sales taxes are capped at 4%, which are two factors that can help make retiring in Tacoma more affordable for those who need home care services.

Tacoma is home to a number of top-ranked hospitals including MultiCare Tacoma General Hospital. In addition to it’s 24/7 emergency department, this facility offers comprehensive oncology, cardiology, rehabilitation and palliative care services. Acute and emergency health care services are also available at St. Joseph Medical Center, which is part of the Franciscan Health System.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Tacoma, WA

Genworth Financial’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey shows that, on average, seniors in Tacoma pay $6,673 per month for non-medical home care services. Home health care, which includes limited medical care provided by a licensed nurse or other medical professional, is slightly more expensive at $7,007.

Genworth’s figures are based on 44 hours of care per week, so your actual costs may be higher or lower depending on your needs and preferences. You can estimate your costs by multiplying the average rate of $35 for home care or $36.75 for home health care by the number of hours of assistance you expect to require each month.

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

Rates for home care and home health care in Tacoma are similar to what seniors pay in nearby Olympia, where average monthly costs are $6,673 for either type of care. In Seattle, home care and home health care services average $6,769 per month, while to the north in Mount Vernon, both types of in-home care are costlier at $7,245.

Note: Data for Tacoma was unavailable, so data for the nearest city, Bremerton, was used instead.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Rates for adult day care in Tacoma are unavailable, but in general, this tends to be the most affordable senior care service as shown by the statewide average of $2,600 per month. Assisted living costs an average of $5,750, while home care is nearly $1,000 more at $6,673. Home health care is the second-most expensive option at $7,007 per month, while a semiprivate room in a nursing home averages $10,479.

Note: Data for Tacoma was unavailable, so data for the nearest city, Bremerton, was used instead.

III. How to Find Home Care in Tacoma, WA

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 Tacoma, WA.

IV. Home Care Resources for Seniors in Tacoma, WA

Lifeline Program

What You Should Know

The Lifeline Program provides low-income consumers with a free cell phone paired with a basic service plan that includes 250 minutes of airtime, voice mail, call waiting and caller ID. Each phone includes 1 year of service, and program participants can purchase more airtime at a discounted rate.

Low-income seniors can use the program to obtain a free cell phone for day-to-day use, or for use in emergencies. There’s a limit of one free Lifeline phone per household, and participants must verify their eligibility each year.

Who Is Eligible?

To qualify for enrollment in the Lifeline Program, you need to have a household income at or below 135% of the current federal poverty guidelines. You may already be eligible for a free cell phone if you’re a Medicaid beneficiary, receive Supplemental Security Income payments or participate in the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

How To Get Started

There are four cell phone companies that participate in the Lifeline program in Pierce County. You can contact any of these companies to apply for a free phone:

  • Access Wireless: (800) 464-6010
  • Assurance Wireless: (888) 898-4888
  • SafeLink Wireless: (866) 902-5756
  • YourTel Wireless: (877) 388-1082

Energy Assistance

What You Should Know

If you’re a low-income senior who’s struggling to cover your home heating costs, you may be eligible for financial aid through the Energy Assistance program. This program is administered through Tacoma’s Metropolitan Development Council, and payments are made directly to beneficiaries’ home heating vendor.

Who Is Eligible?

To qualify for help with your home heating costs, you must meet current household income limits. As of 2022, the monthly income limits are $1,610 for an individual and $2,178 for a two-person household.

If your application is accepted, you may also be offered home weatherization services to help reduce the amount of energy it takes to heat your home. These services could include adding weatherstripping to your doors and windows, repairing your furnace and installing energy-efficient windows and fixtures.

How To Get Started

For more information, call the Metropolitan Development Council at (253) 383-3921.

Pierce County Property Tax Exemptions & Deferrals

What You Should Know

Pierce County homeowners aged 61 and older, as well as younger homeowners who are retired due to disability, may qualify for an exemption or deferral on their property taxes. The exemption portion of the program freezes the assessed value of your home at the value assessed as of January 1st of the initial application year.

Who Is Eligible?

You may qualify if you’re aged 61 or older and have an annual income of $45,708 or less.

How To Get Started

For more information, contact the Pierce County Assessor-Treasurer’s office at (253) 798-6111.

Catholic Community Services’ Home-Delivered Meals Program 

What You Should Know

The Home-Delivered Meals Program operated by Catholic Community Services is designed to help you stay healthy and maintain your independence by supplying you with balanced, heat-and-serve meals each week. The low-cost, frozen meals are delivered by a team of volunteers who take the time to conduct a brief wellness check each week. Each meal is planned by a registered dietitian and includes a potion of protein, vegetables and fruit.

While meal costs aren’t advertised, in general, the price of meals distributed through this type of program are usually quite low, and subsidizes may be available for those who need financial assistance.

Who Is Eligible?

To qualify for participation in the Home-Delivered Meals program, you need to be a senior living in Pierce County who needs at-home nutritional support.

How To Get Started

To learn more about the Home-Delivered Meals program, call (253) 474-1300.

Southwest Volunteer Transportation

What You Should Know

The Southwest Volunteer Transportation program is a volunteer-based service that helps eligible individuals travel to local nonurgent medical appointments and run errands. It can benefit those who don’t drive or have difficulty using public transit.

Who Is Eligible?

To qualify for free assistance through the Southwest Volunteer Transportation program, you need to be either a low-income senior or an adult with a disability. The program is open to residents of Pierce County, and because services are provided by volunteers who use their own private passenger vehicles, it may not meet the needs of wheelchair users.

How To Get Started

To learn more about the Southwest Volunteer Transportation program, call the intake/client services department of Catholic Community Services at (844) 851-9380.