I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Worcester, MA

Located in central Massachusetts about 40 miles west of Boston, Worcester is a bustling, diverse city that serves as the regional transportation hub. Established in 1722, Worcester is filled with historical sites and well-preserved buildings, which give the city its unmistakable charm. The city serves as the seat of Worcester County, and 13.6% of its 206,500 residents are seniors aged 65 and older.

There are plenty of museums, public gardens and performing arts venues in Worcester, many of which offer discounted tickets for seniors. The city’s climate is typical of New England, and with an average of 51 inches of snowfall each year, odds are good that you’ll be able to enjoy plenty of white Christmases in Worcester. Despite the city’s proximity to Boston, the overall cost of living here is close to the national average and about 20% below the Massachusetts statewide average, so your retirement dollars go further in Worcester.

Worcester has a number of top-ranked health care centers where you can access emergency and acute care services. Local facilities include the state-of-the-art Saint Vincent Hospital and the UMass Memorial Medical Center, which hosts a number of specialized clinics including a cancer care center, women’s health center, and heart and vascular center.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Worcester, MA

According to Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey the average rate for home care services in Worcester is $5,602 per month. Home health care services, which include some limited medical care, usually costs slightly more, but in Worcester, this type of care costs an average of $5,510 per month.

The rates listed by Genworth are based on 44 hours of care per week, which works out to a weekly cost of $1,292.77 for home care. This breaks down to an average hourly rate of $29.38, although actual rates may vary depending on the provider. Your monthly costs can differ from the average depending on the number of hours of assistance you require.

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

In-home care costs in Worcester are similar to the statewide averages of $5,529 for home care, and $5,649 for home health care. In Springfield, rates for either type of in-home care run about $5,015 per month, while in Boston, seniors pay an average of $5,720 per month for home care and home health care. In Barnstable Town on Cape Cod, rates are higher at $6,002 for home care and $6,101 for home health care services.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Home care is one of the several senior care options available in Worcester. Adult day care services are the least expensive option at $1,517 per month, while the cost of assisted living averages $5,488. This is $114 less than the $5,602 you can expect to pay for home care and $24 less than the $5,510 average cost of home health care services. Nursing homes provide the most expensive type of senior care, and a semiprivate room in a Worcester skilled nursing facility costs an average of $12,486 per month.

III. How to Find Home Care in Worcester, MA

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 Worcester, MA.

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 Worcester, MA

Worcester Regional Transit Authority — Elderly and Disabled Services

What You Should Know
The Worcester Regional Transit Authority is the local public transit provider for Worcester County. All WRTA buses are equipped with a kneeling function and ramp to make loading and unloading easier for riders with mobility limitations, and travel training is available at no cost to all riders.

The WRTA also operates the area’s paratransit service. This reservation-based, curb-to-curb transit service is available to seniors and people with disabilities who can’t use the regular fixed-route bus service. To be eligible for the paratransit service, you must complete the required application and approval process, which involves verification of your need by a medical professional.

Who Is Eligible?
As a senior aged 60 or older, you qualify for half-price fares through WRTA. To qualify for discounted fares, you need to have a WRTA Senior Pass or a Transportation Access Pass ID, which are available at the WRTA Customer Service Center in Worcester. Applications for paratransit services are processed at the same location.

How to Get Started
To learn more about the WRTA’s schedules, discounted fares for seniors and paratransit service, call (508) 791-9782 or visit the WRTA Customer Service Center at 60 Foster Street in Worcester.

Habitat for Humanity Home Repair Program 

What You Should Know
Habitat for Humanity of MetroWest/Greater Worcester is a private, nonprofit organization that helps low- and moderate-income homeowners keep up with critical repairs through the Home Repair Program. Volunteers complete most of the work, and the homeowner is granted an interest-free loan to cover the cost of building materials.

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you may be able to use this program to make your home safer. Some of the projects that qualify for funding include roof repairs and replacements; deck repair and replacements; and the installation of bathroom grab bars, stair railings, wheelchair ramps and other items to reduce your risk of falling at home.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for assistance through the Home Repair Program, you must own and occupy your Worcester home. Your annual income needs to be between 30% and 80% of the county median, and you need to be up-to-date on your mortgage, home insurance and utility bills. Capacity for the Home Repair Program is limited, so you may not receive assistance even if you meet the eligibility requirements.

How to Get Started
To learn more about Habitat for Humanity’s Home Repair Program, call (508) 799-9259.

Meals on Wheels

What You Should Know
Meals on Wheels is a federally-sponsored nutritional support program for seniors aged 60 and older who can’t access local congregate lunch sites due to disability. The Worcester Meals on Wheels program provides participants with a daily hot home-delivered meal each weekday at a cost of $2.50 per meal. The meals are delivered by volunteer drivers who also do a quick safety check on each senior. Additional suppertime and frozen heat-and-serve meals are available, and Kosher, diabetic and vegetarian options can be provided as needed.

Who Is Eligible?
If you’re a homebound senior aged 60 or older, or you’re a caregiver to a housebound senior, you can sign up for Meals on Wheels service. You can use the service on a short-term basis while recovering from a hospital stay or illness, or Meals on Wheels can be used on a long-term basis to help you remain independent in your own home.

How to Get Started
For more information on Worcester’s Meals on Wheels program, call (508) 756-1545.

Worcester Senior Center

What You Should Know
The Worcester Senior Center is a city-owned and operated multipurpose center for older adults. The wheelchair-accessible facility includes an innovative outdoor fitness park, an on-site diner, a computer lab, health and wellness clinic, and numerous meeting rooms and common areas.

Seniors can participate in a wide range of social and recreational activities at the center, including multicultural programming, fall prevention workshops, organized games and escorted day trips. There are also a number of social service programs co-located at the center that help seniors access free Medicaid and Medicare counseling, case management and advocacy services.

Who Is Eligible?
As a senior in Worcester, you’re eligible to access the services and programs offered at the Worcester Senior Center. Many programs are available at no cost.

How to Get Started
For up-to-date center hours and programming information, call the center Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at (508) 799-1232.

Elder Services of Worcester Area

What You Should Know
Elder Services of Worcester Area is a government-funded nonprofit organization that offers a number of programs and services for seniors aged 60 and older. ESWA programs include case management and home care services, respite care assistance, caregiver support groups, money management for seniors and support for LGBTQ2 elders.

Who Is Eligible?
As a senior living in Worcester County, you’re eligible for the programs and services available through ESWA. Many programs are fully funded by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs, while rates for home care services are set on a sliding scale basis.

How to Get Started
To learn more about the programs offered through ESWA, call (508) 756-1545 or (800) 243-5111.