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Nursing Home Costs See Biggest Increase in 13 Years

The cost of long-term care just keeps going up.  Those are the findings of the Genworth 2017 Cost of Care Survey, released last month by Genworth Financial.

“Our population is aging, living longer, and not prepared,” said David O’Leary, President and CEO of Genworth’s US Life division. (Genworth is a provider of long-term care insurance, among other products.) He said the company hopes that its annual survey will help people start planning for their long-term care needs.

The findings of the Cost of Care Survey are as follows:

Nursing Home Care

Nursing home care is much more extensive than any other type of long-term care services – and therefore is more expensive. Services include room and board, day and night supervision, medical management, therapies, rehabilitation, and around-the-clock nursing care.

  • 2017 cost: $8,121 a month, $97,455 a year.
  • Based on a private room.
  • Change from 2016: up 5.50%

Note: The cost is slightly less for a semi-private nursing home room, $7,148 a month and $85,775 a year.

One factor influencing those prices may be government oversight of hospitals, said Gordon Saunders, Senior Brand Manager at Genworth.  Hospitals are under pressure to cut costs and get patients discharged more quickly. Patients who might have spent a week in the hospital in years back may now only spend three days. Once they then go to the nursing home for rehabilitation, they are sicker and require more care — and in turn, the nursing home may have to put more staff, or more experienced staff, on duty, Saunders said.

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Assisted Living Facilities

Assisted living facilities help residents with daily living needs such as bathing, eating, dressing, and using the toilet. They generally do not provide medical care, but they do offer residents socialization, transportation, meals, and housekeeping.

  • 2017 cost: $3,750 a month, $45,000 a year.
  • Based on a private, one-bedroom unit.
  • Change from 2016: up 3.36%

Home Health Aide Services

Home health aide services are more “hands-on” but still less extensive and much cheaper than Nursing Home Care and hospital care. Services include bathing, dressing, and assistance with eating.

  • 2017 cost: $4,099 a month, $49,192 a year.
  • Based on 44 hours a week.
  • Change from 2016: up 6.17%

Homemaker Services

Homemaker services include laundry, cleaning, cooking, and running everyday errands. These are generally “hands-off” services.

  • 2017 cost: $3,994 a month, $47,943 a year.
  • Based on 44 hours a week.
  • Change from 2016: up 4.75%

Community-Based Adult Day Health Care Facilities

Community-based adult day health care facilities relieve caretakers who are not able to watch their loved ones all day due to work or other responsibilities. Services include group activities, socialization, and supervision. Depending on the facility, clients may also have access to transportation, meals, and help managing medical needs and medications.

  • 2017 cost: $1,517 a month, $18,200 a year.
  • Based on service 5 days a week.
  • Change from 2016: up 2.94%

There are several potential reasons for the hikes related to these types of care services (other than Nursing Home Care), Saunders said. They include the increasing demand for other types of care; an increase in the minimum wage in some geographical areas, making other jobs more attractive and a 2015 federal law that requires most direct care workers be paid minimum wage and overtime pay.

How Genworth Got the Numbers
Genworth's annual Cost of Care Survey is one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind, covering more than 47,000 long-term care providers nationwide who complete surveys for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day health facilities and home care providers. The survey includes 440 regions which include all Metropolitan Statistical Areas defined by the 2015 Office of Management and Budget.

Elder law attorneys have the ability to help families facing these huge long-term care expenses. But just knowing the law doesn't bring clients through the door. People need to know that an elder law attorney can help save the family a lot of money in addition to lessening the stress and heartache that this financial burden puts on families. Networking with other professionals in the geriatric care community will help get a foot in the door and bring in those clients that desperately need your help.


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