If you’ve shopped for long term care services lately, either for yourself or for a loved one, then the fact that nursing home costs are continuing to go up year after year won’t come as a surprise. However, since most people don’t start comparison shopping for nursing care or assisted living until an urgent need arises, these care costs can come as a shock. That’s just one take-away we discovered in this article that was just published on the website Elder Law Answers, describing the sharp rise in costs of all types of nursing home care from 2016 to 2017.
The article quotes the annual Genworth Insurance Cost of Care Survey which allows consumers to see the average costs state-by-state for Nursing Home Care (both private and semi-private rooms), Assisted Living Facilities, Adult Day Health Care facilities and Home Health Care. According to Genworth, the national median cost of a private nursing home room rose 5.5 percent from 2016 to 2017, to an eye-popping $97,455. Opt for a semi-private room and you’ll save some money, but you’re still out nearly $86,000 per year. These price hikes, which were in in the 4 to 5 percent range, are far higher than the 1 to 2 percent increase the industry saw from 2015 to 2016 – and there’s no sign of the rate of increase slowing down any time soon.
Here at AgingOptions we deal with clients, radio listeners and seminar guests every week who are shocked by the skyrocketing costs of long term care. Our advice is going to sound familiar: careful retirement planning is absolutely essential. If you hope to protect your assets in retirement, avoid becoming a burden to those you love, and escape the trap of being forced into an institution against your will, then the time to prepare is now, not at the eleventh hour when an urgent need arises. We’ll say more about the AgingOptions approach to retirement planning in a moment.
Out of curiosity, since our AgingOptions offices are located in Washington State, we went to the Genworth website to find out what the costs are here in the Evergreen State. If there’s good news, it’s in the fact that we’re not as pricey as Alaska, which is the most expensive state in the Union at an astounding nursing home rate of $292,000 annually. But Washington does rank significantly higher than the national median: compared with the U.S. average for a private nursing home room of about $97,500, we come in at more than $113,000 per year. When you contrast our state with the national median for assisted living ($3,750 per month or $45,000 annually), Washington assisted living will cost almost $4,700 per month – nearly $56,000 per year, almost 25 percent above the U.S. median. Still, there are major cost differences in various parts of each state, and the Genworth survey allows you to drill down for comparison. An example: a semi-private nursing home room in Seattle costs about $9,700 per month, compared with $7,450 in Longview and $7,750 in Bellingham. So it not only pays to shop around, it might also pay to move around.
For an overview of costs of care, we also found this helpful summary report from Genworth, a 5-page brief that explains how the company arrived at their findings. The Genworth report represents data from more than 47,000 care providers in all 50 states, including interviews with over 4,000 home health care providers, not to mention surveys and interviews covering more than 6,300 assisted living facilities and 15,000 nursing homes. We think some of these findings will be extremely helpful in your retirement planning as you project care costs. Here are a few more relevant facts:
- The median hourly rate in the U.S. for home health care workers stands at $21, a cost that has been rising at an average annual rate of more than 3 percent over the past 5 years
- Adult Day Care nationally costs an average of $70 daily (based on a 6-8 hour day)
- The nationwide average for Nursing Home care in a semi-private room is currently $235 per day – a sobering statistic considering the high costs of long-term care insurance.
All these costs have been rising at an average rate of at least 3 percent annually since 2012. If you’re ten years away from needing long-term care, you can do the math: you could be facing costs at least thirty percent higher in a decade than they are today.
When it comes to retirement planning, you can see how your housing choices and your financial planning have to fit seamlessly together. But at AgingOptions, our LifePlanning approach takes even more into account. Along with financial and housing facets we also make sure your legal affairs are carefully placed in order and your medical insurance needs are thoroughly covered. On top of these, we also make sure your family is fully on board with your plans, since few things can unravel a carefully-crafted retirement plan faster than a family fight over your estate.
We encourage you to investigate the power of an AgingOptions LifePlan for yourself. Why not plan now to attend a free AgingOptions LifePlanning Seminar in your area? In just a few short hours spent with Rajiv Nagaich you’ll come away with a fresh new insight into the process of preparing for a fruitful and secure retirement. We assure you it will be time very well spent. For all the details, including online registration, click here for our Upcoming Events page, or call us for information during the week. Don’t let your fears of the “retirement unknowns” paralyze you! Take action soon, at an AgingOptions LifePlanning Seminar. We’ll look forward to meeting you soon.