Long Term Care Cost Calculator - AARP

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Homemaker or personal care services: These workers help with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing an older adult, cleaning the home, running errands, shopping for food and cooking meals.
Home health aide services: Some tasks done in nursing homes can be provided at home, more cheaply and conveniently. Some may require a doctor’s prescription. Services include hands-on, nonmedical personal care. Some services may be paid for by Medicare.
Adult day care: More than 5,000 adult day care service centers operate across the United States, offering supervised care outside the home. Many centers offer transportation to the center, meals, snacks, personal care and exercise.
Assisted living residences are largely nonmedical facilities for older adults who need some help with daily life and can no longer live on their own. They remain healthy and active enough that they don’t need to be in nursing homes. But they often need help with medication and housekeeping.
Residents have their own single rooms or apartments. They often eat in dining rooms and can attend on-site exercise classes and movies.
Nursing homes give residents supervision 24 hours a day. They typically provide nursing care, three daily meals, help with personal care and rehabilitation services, which usually include physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Some residents need only short-term rehabilitation after a hospital stay or injury. But most nursing home residents have long-term physical or mental health conditions that require that they remain for long periods, or permanently, in private or semiprivate rooms.
The calculator helps families compute the costs of long-term care. It estimates the cost in your area for nursing homes. It provides prices for assisted living facilities. Finally, it measures the costs of services that allow older adults to age in their own homes, via adult day care and with home health aides and homemaker services.
The calculator estimates median costs in your area based on a nationwide cost-of-care survey. The survey, produced by Genworth Financial, includes research from 435 cities in 50 states.
Long-term care takes many forms in today’s society. Most often, it is provided at home by family, friends or paid caregivers. Some people need more intense, 24-hour care of the kind offered in nursing homes and other residential settings, such as assisted living homes.
COVID-19 continues to affect residential and nonresidential long-term care. AARP offers the latest news and guidance about nursing homes and care at home.
These facilities vary widely in the care offered, costs and the people they serve:
Nursing homes give residents supervision 24 hours a day. They typically provide nursing care, three daily meals, help with personal care and rehabilitation services, which usually include physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Some residents need only short-term rehabilitation after a hospital stay or injury. But most nursing home residents have long-term physical or mental health conditions that require that they remain for long periods, or permanently, in private or semiprivate rooms.
One easy way to assess nursing home quality is through Nursing Home Compare, maintained by the federal government. Families should also visit homes and review federal and state files.
Assisted living residences are largely nonmedical facilities for older adults who need some help with daily life and can no longer live on their own. They remain healthy and active enough that they don’t need to be in nursing homes. But they often need help with medication and housekeeping.
Residents have their own single rooms or apartments. They often eat in dining rooms and can attend on-site exercise classes and movies.
Residential care homes are a smaller form of assisted living, normally with room for 10 or fewer older adults, often in residential neighborhoods, and are similar in cost.
Memory care is typically provided in units attached to assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Such units care for older adults diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease who can no longer live on their own. They usually have locked doors to prevent residents from wandering.
Continuing care retirement communities combine different levels of care on one campus.
The advantage is that you can stay in one place as you age. The disadvantage is the cost, with entry fees averaging more than $300,000, AARP has reported.
Veterans receive a range of benefits for long-term care. They may stay at regular nursing homes on contract with the Department of Veterans Affairs or at homes operated by the VA. They may also be able to use certain funds to pay for assisted living and home care.
Long-term care includes ways to stay in your own home. Fully 33 percent of the nation’s long-term care workers provide in-home help or care close by. And 90 percent of older adults prefer to age in place, according to AARP.
Services include:
Many adults will start paying with their own savings, a retirement fund or the money from selling a home. Most will pay with Medicaid, often by spending down their assets to reach its guidelines.
Some 62 or older may be able to apply for reverse mortgages, in which they convert part of the home’s value into cash. Beware, some plans are offered by scammers.
Long-term care is expensive. Genworth puts national monthly 2020 costs at $8,821 for a private nursing home room and $4,300 for a one-bedroom unit in assisted living. A home health aide costs $4,576 per month.
Long-term care insurance helps pay for long-term care services of several types, from homemaker services to nursing homes. It can step in where government programs leave off.
For instance, Medicare pays for a nursing home only up to 100 days, or an average of 22 days. It pays only for limited home health care. Medicaid pays for the bulk of long-term care services but is pegged to an older adult’s income and assets, often requiring “spending down” to qualify.
Most policies allow you to use your benefits in nursing homes, assisted living, memory care, hospice care or adult day care centers and for care at home.
Most people buy it in their mid-50s to their mid-60s and are typically screened by companies to ensure medical eligibility. Average annual premiums in 2020 could range from $1,700 at age 55 for a single man to $3,100 at age 65 for a single woman with health issues, with couples paying less per person.
Some employers offer long-term care insurance, and such insurance bought at group rates can require answering some health-related questions, but it may be easier to qualify through work than if you buy it on your own.
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