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Private Nursing Home Room Costs $76,460 A Year: Genworth

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An annual survey by Genworth Inc. finds most kinds of long term care costs rising faster than inflation.

The cost of care from facility-based providers has steadily risen, while non-skilled home care costs remained relatively flat, Genworth found.

The company’s annual survey of more than 10,000 nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and home care providers nationwide this year added a cost analysis of adult day health care.

In 2008, the average annual price of a private nursing home room reached $76,460 nationally, up 2% over $74,806 in 2007.

The increase corresponds to a 4% compound annual growth over the past 5-year period. This translates into an additional $10,000 more per year than it had cost 5 years ago for a private room, points out Genworth, Richmond, Va.

The price of a private room now costs more than 150% of the average annual household income in the U.S. of $48,201, Genworth adds.

The cost of a semiprivate room rose to $68,408 this year, up almost 4% from $65,985 in 2007. That cost also has been increasing at an annual 4% rate over the past 5 years.

The monthly rate for a 1-bedroom unit within a licensed assisted-living residence increased 11% over 2007, to $3,008 per month or $36,090 a year in 2008. This cost has increased almost 6% annually over 5 years, Genworth reports.

The cost of home care performed by a non-skilled home health aide remained flat in most regions of the country at an hourly rate of $19, Genworth found. Although this cost increased 3% over 2007, its average increase over the past 5 years has been just 1%.

Possible reasons for the recent low growth for non-skilled care costs may include increased competition among agencies providing these services and the wide availability of unskilled labor, Genworth says.

For skilled (Medicare certified) care, the average cost was $38 an hour this year, up 18% from about $32 in 2007. The average annual increase over the past 4 years, when Genworth has measured skilled-care costs, has been 7%.

Adult day health care facilities, which provide community-based care for less than 24 hours a day, had an average daily rate of $59, the first year Genworth calculated that cost.

Adult day health care facilities are increasingly used to help seniors with functional or cognitive impairments live independently while receiving necessary health, social and other services. Often, family members place disabled loved ones in an ADH for part of a day to gain some relief from daily caregiving duties.

LTC costs in general varied widely by region, with costs in urban areas averaging 16% more than non-urban areas. In certain urban areas of New York and Missouri, costs were more than 40% higher, Genworth found.