I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Washington, DC

The nation’s capital city of Washington, D.C. has over 700,000 residents and a senior community made up of approximately 85,000 people. The city is widely known for its free attractions, including Smithsonian museums, memorials and live performances at Discovery Theater and the National Mall, the nation’s most visited national park. You can browse the shops at Tysons Corner Center, Hagerstown Premium Outlets and Tanger Outlets National Harbor, and numerous golf courses and beautiful parks offer you lots of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. To help you navigate the city and reach destinations in nearby communities, D.C. has a reliable, easy-to-use public transportation system with buses and the Metrorail, which you can ride for half the peak fare.

Washington, D.C. has a relatively high cost of living that’s approximately 50% above the national average. While housing, utilities and groceries are expensive here, health care costs are among the lowest in the nation and may offset some of these expenses. There are approximately 410 doctors per 100,000 people, compared to the nationwide rate of 210, which may make it easier to schedule appointments with primary and specialty care providers. These amenities are among the reasons to choose home care and age in place in D.C. during your retirement years.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Washington, DC

According to the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey, seniors in Washington, D.C. pay $4,601 per month for home care. Home health care also includes limited skilled nursing services and is a bit more expensive at $4,767. Local fees are a little higher than the national rates of $4,481 for home care and $4,576 for home health care.

These monthly costs are based on annual rates of $55,209 for home care and $57,200 for home health care, divided by 12. The average rates are based on 44 hours of care per week at $24.13 per hour for home care and $25 for home health care. If you require fewer hours of assistance or if you access low-cost services through the community, your costs may be lower.

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

Compared to rates in nearby cities, home-based care in Washington, D.C. is moderately priced at $4,601 per month for home care and $4,767 for home health care. In Maryland, rates tend to be a little lower. Seniors in Hagerstown pay $4,576 for both levels of care, and in the California area, seniors pay $4,481 for home care and $4,957 for home health care. Fees range considerably across Virginia, with older adults in Winchester paying $4,242 for home care and $4,385 for home health care. In Charlottesville, agencies charge $5,148 for both types of care.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Depending on your budget and whether you want to live at home or in a community setting, there are several senior care options available in Washington, D.C. If your living expenses are low, home-based care may be an affordable option. On average, agencies charge $4,601 for home care and $4,767 for home health care. Adult day care is even more affordable at $1,744 per month. Alternately, assisted living averages $6,000 per month, which includes the cost of housing, meals, recreational activities and personal care. Nursing homes provide the highest level of care and are the most expensive at $11,726 per month for a shared room.

III. How to Find Home Care in Washington, DC

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 Washington, DC.

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 Washington, DC

Department of Aging and Community Living 

What You Should Know
The Department of Aging and Community Living is the designated Area Agency on Aging for Washington, D.C. Through this agency, you can access free and low-cost services such as transportation, congregate and home-delivered meals and information and referrals for community-based resources. The agency’s Safe at Home program provides modifications such as grab bars and chair lifts to improve your home’s accessibility and safety, and it operates several Senior Wellness Centers throughout the region to provide social and recreational opportunities.

Who Is Eligible?
You can obtain services through DACL if you’re at least 60 years old and reside in D.C. You may be required to meet additional eligibility criteria to obtain services through specific programs, such as transportation and home-delivered meals.

How to Get Started
To speak with a specialist about getting services through DACL or for one-on-one assistance with locating the right services for your needs, call (202) 724-5626. The office is open on weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Jewish Social Service Agency

What You Should Know
JSSA is a local nonprofit health and social wellness organization that administers a range of services to older adults in the community. Its Aging in Place program helps seniors who wish to live independently by providing escorted transportation, home care services, meal deliveries and access to social activities in the community. To help you find the services you need, the agency also operates a Community Support Line to connect you with health and wellness programs, emergency financial assistance and adult day care.

Who Is Eligible?
JSSA provides services to all seniors regardless of ethnic or religious background. Some programs, such as home care services and Aging in Place, require participants to live within a specific service area.

How to Get Started
For one-on-one help with determining what programs are available to you and information on how to apply, call (240) 800-5772. You can also fill out and submit an online contact form and a representative will reach out to you through your preferred contact method. To get help through the Community Support Line, call (703) 522-7464.

Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs

What You Should Know
The Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs serves veterans and their families by helping them access local and federal programs and benefits that may enable them to age in place. Through the office, you can get one-on-one help with obtaining services such as nonemergency public transportation and home-delivered meals. The office can also help you determine whether you qualify for benefits that can help pay for home care, including VA Aid and Attendance or pension payments.

Who Is Eligible?
Services through the office are available to all U.S. veterans. Certain benefits, such as Aid and Attendance and veterans’ and survivors’ pensions, have additional eligibility criteria.

How to Get Started
You can contact the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs by calling the main line at (202) 724-5454 on weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Alternately, you can email your questions to [email protected].

United Planning Organization

What You Should Know
United Planning Organization is the Community Action Partnership for the Washington, D.C. region. It administers several programs to income-qualifying individuals, including community wellness initiatives, housing counseling and tax preparation services. The agency’s Financial Navigator Services program provides free, over-the-phone assistance with a live agent who can help you identify options for meeting daily living expenses, accessing benefits you’re entitled to, budgeting for future loss of income and avoiding scams.

Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for the UPO, you’re required to meet criteria based on income and functional need. The agency serves everyone regardless of age or disability.

How to Get Started
To learn more about the available programs and program-specific guidelines, call (202) 238-4609 or leave a message in the online contact form. To register for a free 30-minute session with a representative for the Financial Navigator Services program, call (202) 231-7980 or (202) 231-7987 and provide the requested information.

Iona Senior Services

What You Should Know
Iona Senior Services is a local nonprofit agency that provides free services to those aged 60 and over in the D.C. region. The agency’s Care Management program provides initial and ongoing consultations to help you connect with services in the community. It also provides age-friendly fitness classes, mental health therapy, money management training, congregate meals and support groups to help you thrive at home, and its subsidized adult day health services can reduce the number of hours of paid care you need.

Who Is Eligible?
You must be at least 60 years old and live in Washington, D.C. to obtain services through Iona. Some programs have additional eligibility guidelines pertaining to functional needs or income.

How to Get Started
You can learn more about the services available through Iona by calling the office at (202) 895-9448 or sending an email to [email protected].