Hourly wages for home health aides average $19 nationally, the same as last year, according to a new survey by the MetLife Mature Market Institute.[@]

The 2007 average homemaker-companion hourly rate is $18, up $1 from the 2006 average.

The MetLife Mature Market Institute, Westport, Conn., also released cost data on adult day centers, finding the national average rate for such centers was $61 per day.

Rates for both service categories vary considerably by region, according to the institute, a unit of MetLife Inc., New York.

Hourly rates were lowest in Shreveport, La., at $13 for home health aides and $12 for homemakers.

Rates were highest in Rochester, Minn., at $30 for home health aides and $25 for homemakers.

Adult day center costs were highest in Vermont, at $130 daily, and lowest in Montgomery, Ala., at $21, the institute says.

Home care is generally not covered by Medicare and is covered by Medicaid only for those who are impoverished.

Home health care aides provide assistance with daily activities such as bathing and dressing and some health-related services, while homemakers and companions generally provide comfort and personal company in addition to meal preparation and light housekeeping.

Adult day centers offer social services and some health services. Most provide lunch, recreational activities, and health and therapeutic services.