March 13, 2013
The Basics: Long-Term Care Options for Elders and Their Families
According to a report issued by AP, there are about 10 million seniors currently relying on others for daily care, such as help preparing meals, getting dressed, and administering medication. As most of the country’s 78 million baby-boomers begin to enter old age, that number will drastically increase, and nearly 7 in 10 people will need long-term care in some form, according to the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute.
There are various options that seniors can explore as their need for assistance increases. Nursing homes are the most intensive form of long-term care, and also the most expensive: the average cost of a semi-private room last year was $81,000, according to a MetLife Insurance survey. A private room can cost upwards of $90,500.
Another option is a home-care service that can offer help with meals and household chores. However, like nursing homes, home-care service is not covered by Medicare or private insurance. Insurance policies for long-term care do exist, but only 5% of U.S. adults have them. This small number is partly because most people do not anticipate having to pay for long-term care, and often the need arises unexpectedly, such as when a senior suffers an accident or heart attack. Further, policies can run between $1,000 and $8,000 per year depending on the seniors’ age and health, among other factors. For this reason, those who can actually afford long-term care insurance often have a substantial enough income that they don’t even really need it.
Because long-term care will be an increasingly relevant issue in the near future, it is wise to begin planning financially and to explore senior care services. a few to consider:
Adult Day Care. Adult day care usually operates from Monday through Friday during business hours. It provides care, activities, and meals for seniors. This option can provide your primary caregiver (such as a spouse or child) time off from assisting you so that they can go to work or run errands. Adult day care costs, on average, $70 per day or about $18,000 per year, and more than 5,000 centers run programs throughout the United States. They can be found through groups like National Adult Day SErvices Association. For more information, visit: http://www.nadsa.org/consumers/sit-visit-checklist.
Medical Alert Systems. Services like Philips Lifeline and Life Alert provide a necklace or wristband with an emergency button. When the button is pressed, a dispatcher switch access to the senior’s medical history is called, and depending on the situation, a neighbor, family member, or medical center will be called. This service is perhaps one of the cheapest options, and plan generally cost between $30 and $50 per month. For more information, visit: http://www.lifelinesys.com/content/home .
Home Visiting Services: Many seniors wish to stay in their homes, where they feel most comfortable and secure. Visiting services can provide assistance with a variety of tasks, including preparing meals, physical therapy, and household chores. Homecare services runs about $20,800 per year at a rate of 20 hours per week. The government offers a website for finding local eldercare services. For more information, visit: http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx.
See Other Blog Posts:
Seven Way to Assist Financing Short Term Senior Care
How to Choose a Nursing Home