Cost of Long-Term Care Continues to Rise, 2008 Survey Finds

Costs for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and some in-home care services have risen for the fifth consecutive year and might continue to rise unless more long-term care workers can be found, according to a new survey by Genworth Financial.

A private room in a nursing home now costs $76,460 a year or $209 daily, a 17 percent increase since 2004, Genworth’s 2008 Cost of Care survey found. A semiprivate room in a nursing home is now $68,408.

The cost of assisted living facilities is shooting up even faster, having risen 25 percent since 2004 to a current average of $36,090 a year for a one-bedroom unit. Assisted living costs ranged from a high of $4,921 a month in New Jersey to a low of $1,981 a month in Arkansas.

While the cost of in-home care by workers who are not certified by Medicare remained about the same, at an average hourly rate of $18 for homemaker services and $19 for home health aide services, the cost of a Medicare-certified home health aide rose to an average $38 an hour.

The survey also priced adult day care for the first time, finding that the daily cost is averaging $59, or about $15,000 a year for five days a week of care.  Adult day care facilities provide care and companionship outside of the home and give the elderly a chance to interact with peers. Sometimes based in a community center, the facilities can provide social or therapeutic activities and provide supervision for participants with cognitive problems.

The study, which was conducted by CareScout on behalf of Genworth, surveyed more than 40,000 providers in all 50 states and the District of Columbia between December 2007 and February 2008.

Genworth Financial sells long-term care insurance policies. Buck Stinson, president of Genworth’s long-term care insurance unit, said the results of the Cost of Care survey indicate that “the expense of just a few years of long-term care in a facility or at home can very quickly wipe out a lifetime of savings.”

In a companion report, Genworth says that the nation faces an impending caregiver shortage that could drive costs even higher.

Genworth’s Cost of Care survey features an interactive map allowing consumers to see long-term care costs and trends in their state. For both the survey and caregiver report, click here.

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