Most people think of long-term care as a form of institutionalization. The truth is that there are varying degrees of long-term care depending on the situation of the person involved. The venue of choice for most people is their home. A majority of the time people will stay in their home as long as possible either out of choice or out of necessity. The main purpose of long-term care insurance is to not only make it a choice but a choice that has as little affect on the friends and family as possible.
Let’s take a look at the different types of long-term care and costs…
Nursing homes are institutional settings for long-term care in which care may be provided in skilled care facilities, intermediate care facilities, or custodial care facilities.
- A skilled care facility provides a professional type of nursing assistance performed by trained medical personnel under the supervision of a physician or other qualified medical personnel. Skilled nursing care is the only type of nursing home care eligible for reimbursement under Medicare.
- An intermediate care facility provides occasional nursing and rehabilitative care that can be performed by, or under the supervision of, skilled medical personnel only. This care must be based on a doctor’s orders.
- A custodial care facility provides care that is primarily for the purpose of meeting personal needs and assistance with the activities of daily living. Custodial care generally involves help with bathing, walking, dressing, eating, or taking medication. It may be provided by someone without medical skills or training, but the care must be according to doctor’s orders.
According to the 2008 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home and Assisted Living Costs, the average annual cost for a private room in a nursing home is $77,380. The national average annual cost for a semiprivate room in a nursing home is only slightly lower at $69,715.
Home Health Care
Home health care is a long-term care program of professional, paraprofessional, and skilled care that is normally provided through a home health care agency to an individual at home. The care can include nursing services and physical, speech, respiratory, and occupational therapy.
The average hourly cost for home health care aides is just as location-dependent and varies from $14 per hour to about double that. The current average cost per hour for a home health aide visit is about $20.
Assisted Living Facility
An assisted living facility (ALF) is a residence for individuals requiring some long-term care services but not as many services as individuals who would normally qualify for a nursing home. It provides a generally less expensive alternative to custodial care.
Assisted living facility average annual rates generally range from $23,000 to $56,000 per year, depending on the region of the country, with an average of $36,372.
Adult Day Care Facility
An adult day care facility is a long-term care institution designated to provide custodial or minimum health-care assistance to individuals unable to remain alone. Typically, adult day care is provided during working hours when the primary caregiver is employed.
Average adult day care costs range from about $40 per day to $140 per day, depending on location, and currently average about $64.
Hospice care is long-term care designed principally to control the pain and symptoms of the terminally ill but may also provide support services to family members.
The Future of Long-Term Care
Projections for the future costs of long-term care services are staggering. The current costs are quite significant. This could easily mean exhausting all other assets and family help. Then relying on state and federal programs for the indigent. With proper planning and/or the use of long-term care insurance, there is no reason to be forced to rely on welfare but instead have choices and flexibility with your options.