What Does Long Term Care Cost?
The cost of long-term care can vary greatly depending on where you live and the place you receive your care. The chart below can be used as a guide, but within a state the cost of care in a given area may be more or less.
At the skilled nursing level, costs differ for private and semi-private rooms. Home care on average is less than a nursing home. It is a good rule of thumb to base a plan on what is potentially the highest cost and that is a nursing home.
Nursing home costs have increased by an average 3-4% compounded annually over the last 5 years according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey. The national average is $6,844/month for skilled nursing care. At this rate, the costs of long term care could double every 15 years. That means that care today that costs $60,000/year could cost as much as $240,000/year 30 years from now.
Assisted living facilities have a nationwide average cost of $3,628/month. This is an 11% increase over 2007 with an average growth of 2% compound annual increases over the last 5 years. These rates may be increasing at a higher rate due to more people seeing this as a viable care option. There are more facilities opening in many areas.
Licensed home health aide services from non-Medicare certified agencies run an average of $19/hr nationwide. The Genworth Cost of care Survey states that the rates have gone up by an average 1% compound annual increase over the last 5 years. This is not a large increase possibly due to increased competition among agencies, availability of unskilled labor and because agencies can avoid, for the most part, the cost of maintaining a facility.
Another cost that is hard to quantify is the cost of someone needing care on the family. There is a physical and emotional toll that is paid. Many times family caregivers hold full time jobs and provide care giving at night. They often have families of their own to care for in addition to a parent.
|Length of Stay||% of Nursing
|Less than 3 months||20.0%|
|3 to 6 months||9.8%|
|Over 5 years||12.0%|
It would be wonderful to have a crystal ball so you would know how long you would need long-term care. You can look at some statistics to see what some of the industry "averages" are, but that is no guarantee that if you needed long-term care you wouldn't be "above average" or "below average".
There have been a lot of studies on the average length of a nursing home stay, but it is difficult to get studies that show how long people need are in an assisted care facility or in their home. Because of the wider range of options available, people are able to spend more time in settings other than a nursing home.
The average person will experience between 4 to 6 years of total long term care.
Source: The National Nursing Home Survey, National Center for Health Statistics, US Department of Health and Human Services. June 2008. Table 12.