In-Home Care Costs More Than Most People Think

As people age and strive to stay in their homes for as long as possible, in-home care becomes a common option, but four out of five adults underestimate the costs of home health care and prices are on the rise, according to the Genworth 2016 Cost of Care Survey.

The median annual cost of homemaker services is up 2.56% from 2015 and now sits at $45,760. The median cost of home health aide services increased by 1.25% since 2015 and is now $46,332 annually.

Over the past five years, costs have risen 11.1% for homemaker services and 6.6% for health aides, the study says.


“Although the high cost of long-term care in America is considered the ‘new normal,’ it does not change the reality of what is certainly one of the biggest societal issues of our time – that at least 70 percent of Americans over age 65 will need some form of long-term care services and support during their lives,” said Tom McInerney, president and CEO at Genworth.

Despite home health care being the most popular care option, nearly one-third of Americans incorrectly believe that the costs of these services is under $417 per month. In reality, the national median for an in-home aide is $3,861 and $3,813 for homemaker care.

The average American underestimates the cost of in-home care by almost 50%, according to a complementary Genworth online caregiving study.

People who are more affected by long-term care events are shown to more likely underestimate the cost of care. Those people include women (who are statistically more likely to enter caregiving roles), single adults (who may be reliant on themselves for care) and younger adults (who are more likely to deal with a parent who is in need of care).

“The data from our complementary study dramatically demonstrated the huge disparity between what consumers think costs are and what they actually are, which is why it’s so important for families to educate themselves about the costs and plan ahead for how they will pay for those costs before it’s too late,” said McInerney.

The national median cost of care rose among all care settings this year, except adult day care, which fell 1.25%, according to the Genworth analysis. Meanwhile, the cost of a private room in a nursing home went up to $7,698 per month, which is an increase of 1.24% from 2015 and the cost of assisted living also increased to $3,628 per month, which is up 0.8% from 2015.

To view the breakdown for each state, see the full results in this interactive map.

Written by Alana Stramowski

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  • Providing the statistics in this article are accurate, all of us in the reverse mortgage space can be a major help to these seniors.

    Depending on the equity in the seniors home and their qualification ability, a HECM can be their planning tool to cover these costs as time goes by.

    Those turning 62 years of age and in good health can be planning now and be paying for that long term health care policy from the proceeds of a reverse mortgage. We can be a life saver for so many in not only retirement planning but in long term home health care planning as well!

    John A. Smaldone

    • John,

      Different rules apply in different states. In California, any insurance salesperson who sells such policies and a HECM is the underlying funding source is minimally subject to loss of all commissions related to the sale but with a maximum penalty of loss their insurance sales license.

      • RMAdvisor, you also bring up a good point. I am glad to see you and lancejackson are reading these comments!

        I have always said from years way back, “I am smart enough to know, that I am NOT smart enough!!!

        Thank you both!


    • Have you taken a close look at the financial implications of purchasing LTCI using HECM proceeds versus just using the HECM proceeds directly for care, when and if it’s needed?

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