Understanding the Cost of Long-Term Care

When an older loved one begins to need some extra help in their daily lives, families may circle the wagons and attempt to provide care on their own, but in many cases it quickly becomes a burden that is hard to bear with all the other responsibilities of work and raising a family. When professional long-term care becomes a necessity for an older loved one, there are two primary choices: in-home care and care in a senior living community. At this point it’s time to take a serious look at the costs of long-term care and whether it’s best to stay at home or make a move to senior living.

The cost of long-term care in the home

In-home caregivers are often the first preference when families become overwhelmed and try to hire help to supplement family care. This is understandable because it seems to be the most simple solution. What many families are not prepared for, however, is the cost of long-term care providers in the home.

According to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey the national median hourly cost for homemaker services (“hands-off” assistance like cleaning, cooking, shopping, etc.) is $26 while the cost of hands-on help from a home health aide is $27. This may seem manageable when just a little help is required but as needs increase, so too do the costs. For 20 hours a week (four hours per day for five days) the daily national median cost for homemaker services is $74 and $77 for a home health aide. Ramp that up to 40 hours over the same time period and the daily costs are $148 and $154 respectively.

It gets costlier from there. When full-time 24-hour care by a home health aide is required, the daily cost of long-term care skyrockets to $645, which is $19,656 per month and $235,872 per year.

Another important aspect to note is that the cost of long-term care at home is, like everything, going up. From 2020 to 2021 the annual median cost of in-home homemaker services jumped 10.64% and 12.50% for a home health aide.

If the costs aren’t enough to cause concern, there is another problem and that is availability. Compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, the home health aide shortage is growing and showing no signs of slowing down. According to the U.S. News & World Report article, “In an Aging America, a Looming Shortage of Home Health Care Workers,” to date the need has far outpaced the availability of home healthcare providers. As more people reach the age of need, the situation looks even more dire because the work, hours and pay for these workers offer little incentive to make it a career.

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The cost of long-term care in a senior living community

With the cost of long-term care at home escalating, senior living communities are thriving because they offer everything needed as well as many amenities that cannot be found at home. Best of all, it’s all included in one monthly fee.

As noted in the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the national median daily cost of long-term care in assisted living is just $148 and provides lovely private apartments with round-the-clock care for everything from personal hygiene to mobility to medication management. On top of that, modern senior living communities are designed to promote independence and wellness through a variety of activities that range from physical exercise to entertainment to social opportunities like games, arts, and more. One other aspect to keep in mind is that of the amazing meals – 3 per day – that are chef-inspired and can be created to meet the individual needs of each resident, and different dining options from formal to casual. Find out more in our blog, “How Assisted Living Improves Quality of Life in Retirement.”

Unlike the cost of long-term care at home, however, the cost of long-term care in senior living is not going through the roof. According to the Genworth Survey, the costs of long-term care in assisted living went up just 4.65% from 2020 to 2021, considerably less than the 12.50% cost increase for home health aides.

Another great aspect of senior living communities is the chance to build relationships with team members and residents, something that is difficult to do at home with helpers who come and go and change often. This helps residents and their families build trust and have the peace of mind that comes with living in a safe, secure home where compassion is a priority.

Get more facts in our “Family Guide to Paying for Senior Living.” Contact us today to learn more about Thrive Senior Living and schedule a tour.

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