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Life Health > Long-Term Care Planning

Elder Care Costs Surge

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Nursing home and assisted living rates rose significantly from 2009 to 2010, the MetLife Mature Market Institute (MMMI) reports.

A market survey of long term care costs by MMMI, Westport, Conn., found private room nursing home rates rose 4.6% to $229 per day, or $83,585 per year. Assisted living facilities rose 5.2% on average to $3,293 per month, or $39,516 per year.

In contrast, the 2010 inflation rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was 1.1%.

The increases for elder care come on top of increases of 3.3% from 2008 to 2009 for both nursing home and assisted living costs, says MMMI, a research group sponsored by MetLife Inc. (NYSE: MET), New York.

Costs for home health aides and adult day services were unchanged in the past year. Home health aide costs remained at an average price of $21 per hour, while adult day services costs were still $67 per day.

Alaska continued to be the costliest place to stay at a nursing home. Daily rates there averaged $687 a day for a private room and $610 for a semiprivate room, MMMI found. Costs were lowest in Louisiana, outside the Baton Rouge and Shreveport metropolitan statistical areas (MSA), at an average of $138 per day for a private room.

For assisted living, the Washington, D.C. area had the highest average monthly base rate at $5,231, while Arkansas, outside of the Little Rock MSA, had the lowest average monthly rate of $2,073.

The increase in costs of care in nursing homes and assisted living outpaced medical care inflation of about 3%, said Sandra Timmermann, MMMI director.

MMMI found 86% of all nursing homes were freestanding facilities, and 18% had an associated assisted living unit or wing. Of the nursing homes surveyed, 35% had separate Alzheimer’s units or wings.

The study found the national average daily rate for a private room in an Alzheimer’s entity is $228, or $83,220 annually. The national average daily rate for a semi-private room in an Alzheimer’s unit was $206, or $75,190 annually.

Costs of private day care for adults remained unchanged from 2009, at $67 a day, MMMI found.

In 2010, the Montgomery, Ala. area had the lowest average daily rate for private-pay adult day services at $31, while Vermont had the highest average daily rate among areas studied at $140.

Rates for adult care centers varied widely, often due to differences in licensing and other regulations among different localities, MMMI said.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2009, 68% of nursing home residents were women, and only 16% of all residents were under the age of 65. The median age of residents was 83 years.

MMMI’s survey included nursing homes, assisted living communities, home care agencies, and adult day services in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It was conducted by telephone between May and August by LifePlans, Inc.


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