Americans are living longer than earlier generations and according to the the Administration for Community Living’s 2020 Profile of Older Americans, a child born in 2019 could expect to live 78.8 years, more than 30 years longer than a child born in 1900. It’s impossible for you to predict if you’ll need long-term care because of living longer. Comparing long-term care costs at home or in a senior living community can help with planning ahead for a time when long-term care may be needed. Here’s a look at long-term care costs today.
In-home versus assisted living
As you age it’s natural to ask family members for occasional assistance; however, when the need for help becomes greater, your family may not be able to provide routine assistance. In addition to helping with the home maintenance, you may find yourself needing help with your personal care (e.g. bathing, medication management, daily meal preparation and safety checks to ensure you’re fine at home).
Assistance with your personal care will likely require outside help whether that be from home-based care providers or an assisted living facility. When researching both options, you may be surprised to find home-based long-term care costs can be as much or more than assisted living. According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the national monthly median costs for homemaker services is $4,957 and $5,148 for home health aide services. In Maryland, the monthly median cost for homemaker and home health aide services is $5,148. Plus, you still have all the other home expenses. Conversely, the monthly median long-term care costs in a Maryland assisted living facility is $4, 900, which includes 24/7 care, nutritious meals, activities, amenities and transportation all for one price.
Additionally, with there being more older Americans than ever and 7 out of 10 requiring long-term care, demand for long-term care will increase but available qualified home-based care providers is expected to be limited. According to the UDS Foundation’s What to Know About the In-Home Caregiver Shortage, the national caregiver deficit is projected to reach 151,000 by 2030 and 355,000 by 2040.
In-home versus memory care
If you find yourself in need of memory care support, for a condition like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, the level of care needed can quickly grow from a few hours a day to round-the-clock care and supervision. At home, this care can become unmanageable for families. The Genworth Survey shows long-term care costs in Maryland can range from $2,340 for 20 hours a month for homemaker services to $19,656 for 168 hours a month (i.e. 24 hours of care, 7 days a week), which may be necessary as the condition worsens. And again, that’s on top of the standard costs of living at home.
When tallying up the long-term care costs, memory care support can be a much better solution because it provides security, company from others and constant care including treatments and therapies to help slow the condition’s progression and activities to help with memory loss in an effort to remain as independent as possible. For more details about memory care, including the costs, view AARP’s Memory Care: Specialized Support for People with Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
In-home versus skilled nursing
Skilled nursing provides hands-on care by licensed heath care professionals as well as help with daily living activities including personal hygiene and medication management. Long-term care costs of this type of home-based care can swiftly escalate. According to salary.com, home care registered nurses earn an average of $39 per hour, but depending on education, certifications and experience, the rate can be as high as $50 per hour. They may also require a home health care aide to be there with them if you are bed ridden or unable to care for yourself without help.
The national monthly median skilled nursing long-term care costs range from $7,908 for a semi-private room to $9,034 for a private room, based on the Genworth Survey. In Maryland, the monthly median cost is $10,342 for a semi-private room and $12,167 for a private room. In addition to round-the-clock medical care, meals and activities are also provided. This is often the best solution especially when you’re in need of short-term skilled nursing to recover from an illness or injury.
If you’re ever in the position of needing long-term care, you’ll be glad you planned ahead. You’ll be less stressed and make decisions knowing which are the most and least costly options and provide greater care.