Private nursing home costs are rising fast, so much so that it’s now twice as much as college tuition in most states. On average, these costs have increased by 25 percent over the past few years with the average cost now at $83,948. The costs for semi-private accommodations aren’t much better, they come in at just $10,000 less annually. The costs of private nursing homes are high, but there are even more increases on the horizon for those living in assisted living facilities, as well.
As baby boomers continue to enter into retirement, the need for these types of facilities will grow. Unfortunately, the outlook isn’t promising and, while efforts are being made to find solutions, there are those who say we’re nearing a crisis.
Home health care is an option for allowing seniors to “age in place”. That’s always the ideal solution, but again, there are concerns that diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, which are also on the rise, will prevent this from being a viable option for many. Even for those health care providers that provide live in or around the clock care, the costs for those types of services can be as high as $50,000 a year. Medicare and Medicaid play a role, but neither is designed for this type of aggressive care.
Elderly and Private Nursing Homes
In 2012, there were 58,000 long-term care services providers who cared for close about 8 million seniors and elderly Americans. That means on any given day, 273,200 people are enrolled in adult day services centers, 1.4 million residents in nursing homes and 713,300 residents in residential care communities. The remaining numbers account for those receiving some type of home health care. This begs the questions: how can families first, offset some of the costs, and second, help ensure their family members are receiving the attention and proper care from the medical sector?
Proper estate planning can play a role in meeting those objectives. With carefully planned trusts, the costs can be offset to some degree. Long term care policies also have proven beneficial and have historically helped protect against the rising costs. Placing assets into trusts can provide some protection.
Long Term Repercussions
There are long term realities many aren’t considering. A full twenty five percent of Americans over the age of 65 will file for bankruptcy and half of us will be forced to delay our retirement due to financial restraints or in order to keep our health insurance. While such actions may be a band-aid, it’s not a solution.
The Costs vs. Salaries
Home health aides often earn minimum wage or just slightly more than minimum wage. Despite the increases in costs, the last ones to see the benefits are the very ones caring for our elderly. Employee turnover is high as a result and that too leads to less than ideal care for our loved ones.
Aging in Place
No one wants to leave their home. We’ve worked hard to pay for it, raised our children and hopefully, have been fortunate enough to build memories with our grandchildren. Technology plays a big role for those wishing to remain in their homes. Some solutions include telemonitoring, which allows alerts to be sent to the proper authorities if there’s trouble. This has proven to be a workable solution for countless seniors, and it’s worth the investment.
Ultimately, a multi-prong approach is the best option. Putting the proper legal documents, via estate planning, into place along with technology and commitment from the family can offset some of the concerns about the future. If you’d like to learn more about how to offset the growing costs of assisted living and nursing homes, contact our offices today.