Elder Care Costs Continue To Rise

The MetLife Mature Market Institute just published an annual survey of assisted living, nursing home, and other elder-care costs. Researchers surveyed elder care facilities throughout the U.S. on cost and levels of care between April and August of 2012 They survey found that average rates for long-term care throughout the U.S. continue to rise.

The most important thing the survey determined is that location matters. The average rate charged nationwide for a nursing home private room is $248 per day, which adds up to $90,520 per year. The cost varies widely from state to state, though, with the same room costing more than $400 per day in Connecticut, but only $157 per day in Louisiana. If you are an older resident of California, your nursing home costs will very well be exorbitant in the San Francisco Bay Area, but is closer to the national average if you are further south, such as Los Angeles or San Diego.

And when additional care comes into the play, the cost skyrockets. The average cost nationwide for 20 hours each week of home-health aide care in your own home will cost you more than $21,000 for the year. Living in an assisted living facility will cost you just over $42,000. If you want or need a private nursing home room, that will cost you an average of $90,520 each year.

And, if you or your loved one has dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, that will likely increase your cost. The MetLife survey looks at costs for Alzheimer’s and dementia care nationally and found that a mere 20 percent of nursing homes surveyed will charge extra for dementia care, while 61 percent of assisted-living facilities will charge extra. The additional care at a nursing home will increases costs by some 5 percent. The extra care at an assisted living facility will increase the cost by as much as 35 percent.

How long will you need elder care, and will you need it at all? According to experts, fewer than 50 percent of U.S. citizens who are now 65 will need nursing home care for any length of time, while less than10 percent will need nursing home care for more than five years. The issue is that you never know ahead of time if you will need that care. It is best to plan for any eventuality, to ensure that you are safe and cared for in your later years.

John Hale is a Dallas elder law attorney and Dallas estate planning lawyer with The Hale Law Firm. To learn more visit http://www.thehalelawfirm.com.

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