Assisted Living: Why does a nursing home cost so much?

assisted living omahaAs we mentioned in yesterday’s blog, 60 percent of older adults underestimate the cost of living in a nursing home. As such today we’ll look at the costs associated with three common types of long-term care — nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and in-home care.

According to a 2012 MetLife market survey, a private room at a nursing home now costs more than $90,000 a year on average in the U.S. — that breaks down to about $250 a day. The cost of an assisted living facilities averaged about half as much at $42,600 a year — still a staggering amount. (And for what’s it’s worth the survey found that the average cost for a private room was $184 a day in Nebraska and $171 a day in Iowa, respectively.)

At $170 day, around-the-clock care costs about $7 an hour with 65 percent of nursing care proceeds going to staff, elder care specialist Todd Bergstrom told a CBS news affiliate in Minnesota. Even with the majority of the cost going to wages, nursing home staff usually make significantly less per hour than the equivalent job at a hospital. Naturally, if staff salaries were raised facility costs would also go up. Other factors that also up the cost include insurance, food and building maintenance.

Assisted living facilities are a viable alternative for many who can’t cover the costs of a nursing home. Still, it’s worth noting that the level of care is less than that provided by a nursing home and family caregiving help may be required. The MetLife survey found that assisted living costs are also rising year to year, up 2 percent from 2011.

A slighter cheaper option — and one the senior needing care will likely prefer — is home care. A Genworth Cost of Care Survey found that the cost of in-home care is rising at a much slower pace than other options, reported CNN. Hiring a homemaker to assist an elderly parent or loved with daily tasks like cooking, cleaning and transportation costs around $41,000 per year, a 1 percent increases from last year and just a 4 percent increase in five years. Home health aids are a little more expensive as they provide more comprehensive care such as bathing, grooming, medication management and more. Home health aides average about $45,000 a year, up just 5 percent from five years ago.

With nursing home care costs currently so high, it makes sense why home health aides are in such high demand — according to the Department of Labor it’s currently the fast growing field in the U.S. Even so, it’s best to consult with a care professional to determine what type of care best suits your loved one.

Physicians Choice Private Duty  currently serving Omaha, Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa ” provides seniors and their families a complete understanding of the available care options and helps families maneuver through the challenges of the system. All Encompass services are directed by registered nurses or social workers with no long-term contracts. Contact us today for help with your senior care needs.

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