Nursng Home Costs Have Risen To An All-Time High
In April of this year, CNNMoney reported on new data from Genworth Financial, the Richmond, Va.-based financial-security company, that published a study on the average nursing home cost. What the researchers found is stunning. The news affects everyone getting older – in other words, all of us, and here’s the bitter pill: The median annual cost of living in a nursing home is at an all-time high of $83,950. That’s a 24 percent increase over a period of five years. Also looking at shared rooms in nursing homes, as well as care in assisted-living settings, five-year increases were double-digit – 23 percent in both cases.
According to AARP, only a third of those living in nursing homes are covering all the costs themselves. Most others are relying on Medicare. The kicker is that Medicare won’t begin until a resident has essentially exhausted his own resources, although that could happen pretty quickly at these rates. As AARP concludes, “As more people live longer and nursing home costs rise, so too does the urgency to deal with these issues.”
In-Home Aides Buck The Trend Of Skyrocketing Costs For Nursing Homes And Assisted-Living Facilities
In looking at the Genworth data, however, CNNMoney did find a bright spot – one that’s essentially changing the longer-term-care landscape. Where Genworth was spotting the rocketing rise in nursing homes and assisted living, the increase in the cost of hiring a home health aide rose just 5 percent over the same period. That news complements another Genworth finding: 78 percent of people would prefer receiving care in their own homes, versus moving into an assisted-living facility or nursing home.
There is also some flexibility in the notion of one’s home. Avoiding a nursing home or assisted-living facility does not mean the only remaining option is to remain in the home you’ve lived in for years. Rather, in-home care may be delivered to a brand-new residence. It might be time to give up a bedroom or two, or a yard that requires maintenance. You may not think twice about a flight of stairs today, but that might not be the case tomorrow. Whether it’s your generational homestead or the apartment you’ve lived in for a week, your home is where you make it.