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What does long-term care really cost?

On Behalf of | Dec 19, 2019 | Elder Law

Most people understand that, as they age, they get closer and closer to a point where they may need long-term care. Maybe you remember your grandparents living in a nursing home when you were younger. You went to visit them with your parents. Surely, your parents are well aware that they could find themselves in the same position.

What worries you is that they have not taken any financial steps to plan for it. When they talk about planning for retirement, it’s just that: What they want to do after they retire. They talk about taking trips and seeing the world. When they talk about estate planning, they focus on what they need to do to pass on assets when they pass away.

While you’re glad that they’re thinking about you and your siblings, you feel like they’re skipping over an important step. There may well be a long period between retirement and that day when they do pass away and their estate plan kicks in. Are they ready? What have they saved? What does it really cost?

The real costs

The problem, in many cases, is that people just underestimate what this is going to cost. They know the day may come, and they decide they’ll figure it out when they get there. That’s often impossible without advance planning. Here are some government numbers to help show the real costs:

  • A health aide, regardless of the wages the aide earns, can cost an elderly person around $20.50 per hour
  • A single day in a semi-private nursing home room can run around $225. A full month in the same room could cost $6,844.
  • A fully private room in the same home is more expensive, averaging around $7,698 each month or $253 per day.
  • Even simply hiring homemaker services — which can help an elderly person live safely in their own home — can cost around $20 per hour.
  • Assisted living facilities are less intensive and less expensive than nursing homes, but they still cost $119 per day, and they can run about $3,628 a month.
  • Sometimes, people consider turning to adult day health care centers as an alternative. These can save money, but they still cost $68 per day, and they don’t provide many services.

These numbers come from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and they are accurate. However, the true cost varies significantly from one center to another. Not all nursing homes and assisted living centers are equal. The cost to your parents could be far more.

If you feel concerned about their ability to pay or the planning they have done so far, it may be time to start looking into all of the options there are to get ready in advance.