Smaller Print Larger Print
800-336-4529 618-985-4529
Costs for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and some in-home care services have risen for the fifth consecutive year and might continue to rise unless more long-term care workers can be found, according to a new survey by Genworth Financial.

Life Care Planning, Estate Protection, Disability,
VA & Medicaid Assistance Lawyers

Cost of Long-Term Care Continues to Rise

 

 

Costs for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and some in-home care services have risen for the fifth consecutive year and might continue to rise unless more long-term care workers can be found, according to a new survey by Genworth Financial.

 

A private room in a nursing home now costs $76,460 a year or $209 daily, a 17 percent increase since 2004, Genworth's 2008 Cost of Care survey found.  In the Chicagoland area a private room costs $72,567, while outside the Chicago metropolitan area a private room costs $57,362.  Nationally, a semi-private room in a nursing home is now $68,408.  In Chicago, a semi-private room runs $62,374; and in the rest of the state, $48,352.

 

The cost of assisted living facilities is shooting up even faster, having risen 25 percent since 2004 to a current average of $36,090 a year for a one-bedroom unit. Assisted living costs ranged from a high of $4,921 a month in New Jersey to a low of $1,981 a month in Arkansas.  Outside the Chicago area, a room in an assisted living facility averages $35,472 per year.

 

While the cost of in-home care by workers who are not certified by Medicare remained about the same, at an average hourly rate of $18 for homemaker services and $19 for home health aide services, the cost of a Medicare-certified home health aide rose to an average $38 an hour.

 

The survey also priced adult day care for the first time, finding that the daily cost is averaging $59, or about $15,000 a year for five days a week of care. Adult day care facilities provide care and companionship outside of the home and give the elderly a chance to interact with peers. Sometimes based in a community center, the facilities can provide social or therapeutic activities and provide supervision for participants with cognitive problems.

 

The study, which was conducted by CareScout (http://www.carescout.com/ carescoutsite) on behalf of Genworth, surveyed more than 40,000 providers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia between December 2007 and February 2008.

 

Genworth Financial sells long-term care insurance policies. Buck Stinson, president of Genworth's long-term care insurance unit, said the results of the Cost of Care survey indicate that "the expense of just a few years of long-term care in a facility or at home can very quickly wipe out a lifetime of savings."

 

In a companion report, Genworth says that the nation faces an impending caregiver shortage that could drive costs even higher.

 

Genworth's Cost of Care survey features an interactive map allowing consumers to see long-term care costs and trends in their state. For both the survey and caregiver report, go to: http://www.genworth.com/costofcare.

After reviewing the Cost of Care survey, Patricia Heibner, the Elder Care Coordinator with Habiger & Associates Elder Law Office, said "This study reflects what our clients and their family members have know for some time. It is very difficult to find and to pay for good care.  It has become a complex maze, or puzzle if you will. However, there are services out there  -  you just need to know the who, what, and where of the long term care delivery system."

 

Martha Stewart

 

In related news, homemaking guru Martha Stewart recently added a bit of flair to a Senate committee hearing on health care for the elderly.

 

Stewart, who testified by invitation, spoke in personal terms about caring for her elderly mother, Martha Kostyra, who died in November at age 93.  "My siblings and I were fortunate that she was in good health almost until she died," Stewart said. "Still, we came to know firsthand the number of issues that needed to be managed."

 

Stewart, who built her knack for homemaking into a brand, credited her experience with her mother for sparking an interest in aging issues. Last year, she opened the Martha Stewart Center for Living at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, which provides heath care and other services for older Americans and their caregivers.

 

Stewart, 66, warned lawmakers on the panel that the country is ill-prepared to care for baby boomers who will start turning 65 in the next few years. "We are on the cusp of a health and caregiving crisis that must be addressed now," she said. Senator Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin), chairman of the Special Committee on Aging, said lawmakers must start preparing to meet that challenge.

 

Richard Habiger is an elder law attorney, who focuses on Medicaid and VA benefits, Alzheimer's and life care planning.  You may contact him at 618-549-4529 or Richard@HabigerElderLaw.com.