Annual study examines cost of elder care at home, compared to in facilities

Homemaker costs nationally have risen just 0.8 percent annually over the past five years and home health aide services have risen 1.0 percent annually over the past five years.
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Photo: Source: Genworth 2013 Cost of Care Survey, www.genworth.com, License: N/A

On a national level, the survey shows a dramatic increase in facility-based care such as an assisted living facility or nursing home, while the cost to receive care at home through homemaker services or a home health aide is rising at a much more gradual pace.

In its 10th year, the Genworth (NYSE: GNW) 2013 Cost of Care Survey shows the cost to receive care at home in Pennsylvania through a home health aide increased over the past five years. On a national level, the survey shows a dramatic increase in facility-based care such as an assisted living facility or nursing home, while the cost to receive care at home through homemaker services or a home health aide is rising at a much more gradual pace.
“There are many factors that go into rising care costs, from the number of available skilled professionals to real estate prices,” said Pat Foley, president of distribution and marketing for Genworth. “If you look at national private nursing home costs over the past 10 years that we’ve done this study, the median annual costs have gone up from $65,200 to $83,950, increasing at more than four percent a year. But since 70 percent of Genworth’s first time long term care claimants choose in-home care, these costs have remained more manageable.”
Nationally, the 2013 median hourly cost of homemaker services and home health aide services is $18 and $19 respectively. Homemaker costs nationally have risen just 0.8 percent annually over the past five years and home health aide services have risen 1.0 percent annually over the past five years. In Pennsylvania, the median hourly cost of homemaker services is $19 and the median hourly cost of home health aide services is $20. The median hourly cost for homemaker services in Pennsylvania has increased 1.4 percent annually over the past five years and the hourly cost of home health aide services has increased 1.1 percent over the same period of time.
By comparison, the median annual cost for care in an assisted living facility is $41,400 nationally and $38,100 in Pennsylvania. The national yearly cost of assisted living has increased 4.3 percent a year over the past five years and increased 3.3 percent over the same time period in Pennsylvania. The comparable cost for a private nursing home room rose 4.5 percent annualized over the past five years to $83,950 nationally, and increased 4.8 percent over the past five years to $104,390 in Pennsylvania.
Bob Bua, vice president of Genworth and business leader of its wholly owned subsidiary, CareScout, explains, “Since we first did this study, we have seen a steady move away from traditional nursing home care to less expensive options that include in-home care, assisted care facilities and adult day care. In addition to being the kind of care most people prefer to receive, the difference in the relative cost of these services versus private residential nursing care can be dramatic.”
“We have never met a person who did not prefer to have care in their own home” said Roger Baumgart, chief executive officer, Home Instead Senior Care, one of the nation’s leading providers of home care services for seniors. “It’s encouraging to see that home care costs have grown more slowly compared to full service residential long term care expenses. The vast majority of Americans want to age in their own homes, but sometimes there are physical or cognitive issues that can make that difficult. Every day, we see the emotional and financial challenges that seniors and their caregivers and families face in making decisions about care. Genworth’s Cost of Care survey provides a wealth of data to help families work through the costs and begin the planning process for how they will care for their loved ones,” said Baumgart.
Regardless of the kind of care a person might receive, it remains critically important to make a plan. Wendy Boglioli, Genworth’s national spokesperson, offers several tips on beginning the planning process:
“First, close the care knowledge gap. The more a person knows about the cost and impact of long term care choices, the more apparent it will become to start planning today.
Second, build a team. Just as a football head coach surrounds himself with savvy coordinators who are tasked with specific coaching duties, consumers should bring in outside professionals to fill in the long term care gaps.
Third, put it in writing. It isn’t just identifying where the money is coming from. The plan should include a hardcopy and an electronic version of who your team is, their roles and contact information.”
Consumers can find out what the cost of care is in 437 regions across all 50 states, including 15 in Pennsylvania by visiting Genworth’s Cost of Care website, www.genworth.com/costofcare.

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