Costs For Elder Care Increases

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Costs fornursing homes, assisted living facilities and some in-home care services haveincreased for a fifth consecutive year and might continue to increase as aresult of an expected shortage of long-term health care workers, according to astudy released on Tuesday by GenworthFinancial, the AP/HoustonChronicle reports. For the study, researchers examined data from more than10,000 nursing homes, assisted living facilities and in-home care providersnationwide.

The study found that private rooms in a nursing home this year on average cost$76,460 annually, or $209 daily, a 17% increase from $65,185 in 2004. Inaddition, the study found that assisted living facilities this year on averagecost $36,090 annually, a 25% increase from $28,763 in 2004. The study alsofound that Medicare-certified home health aides this year on average cost $38per hour and that the cost has increased by 7% annually over the past fouryears. Non-Medicare certified in-home care providers this year on average cost$18 per hour for homemaker services and $19 per hour for home health aide services,about the same as in 2004, the study found.

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Buck Stinson, president of the long-term care insurance business at Genworth,said the study indicates that the "expense of just a few years oflong-term care in a facility or at home can very quickly wipe out a lifetime ofsavings." He added that baby boomers "need to do more thinking abouttheir own retirement plan and how they're going to age."

A companion study released by Genworth found that low wages and benefits, aswell as a lack of training and career-advancement potential, have led toproblems with recruitment and retention of employees in the elder careindustry. Stinson cited a need to "recruit close to 200,000 people a yearto keep pace with the aging demographic." In addition, the companion studyfound that adult day health care this year on average cost $15,000 annually, or$59 daily (Alt Powell, AP/Houston Chronicle, 4/29).

Reprintedwith permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign upfor email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health PolicyReport is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J.Kaiser Family Foundation.

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