Home Care Remains Cost-Effective Option For Aging in Place Seniors

Long-term care in institutional settings has continued to get more expensive in the last five years, but in-home care costs have remained flat, according to the Genworth 2013 Cost of Care Survey

For people who may require some assistance with activities of daily living but don’t need around-the-clock care or supervision, remaining at home with the help of a home care aide or home health agency could be more cost-effective than moving into an assisted living or skilled nursing facility. 

The national median hourly rate for licensed homemaker services is up just 1.39% to $18 in 2013. Licensed home health aide services have a national median rate of $19 an hour, up 2.32% from 2012.

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“Home care rates have remained flat in part because of increased competition among agencies and the availability of unskilled labor, and because the companies that provide these types of services do not incur the costs associated with maintaining stand-alone healthcare facilities,” says Genworth. 

Both home care services have seen a 1% or less growth in costs in the last five years, according to the Cost of Care survey. The cost of assisted living care, in contrast, has grown 4.26% in the last five years, while a private skilled nursing room costs 4.45% more in 2013 than in 2008.

A private unit in an assisted living community cost a national median monthly rate of $3,450, up 4.55% from 2012.

Nursing home care got more expensive, too: the national median daily rate of a private room grew 3.60% to $230, while a semi-private room is now a median $207 a day, up 3.30% from last year.

In contrast, someone needing less extensive help could hire a home health aide for four hours daily, averaging out to less than $80 a day and under $30,000 a year. 

Whether people remain at home or move into a senior care facility, more and more are expected to need long-term care, says Genworth. 

At least seven in ten people aged 65 or older will need long-term care services at some point in their lifetime, research shows, while about one in nine people in that same age range have Alzheimer’s disease. 
 
The duration of the disease makes the need for long-term care support “critical,” Genworth points out, adding that 46% of its total long-term care insurance claims in payment—and half of all claims dollars—are due to dementia. 
 
The “astronomical” costs of Alzheimer’s care, both for paid care and care from unpaid caregivers, is expected to reach $1.2 trillion by 2050, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. 
 
 
Written by Alyssa Gerace

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