As older adults live longer and their adult children assume a bigger share of their care, the issue of senior care costs in the area where their parents live becomes increasingly important.
“One of the most frequent questions we hear from adult children looking for senior care for a parent is ‘How much will it cost?’ followed by, ‘How do we pay for it?’,” Tim Sullivan, vice president of Caring.com, a senior care resource for family caregivers, said in a statement.
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Forty-four percent of family caregivers spend $5,000 or more annually on caregiving, according to a new Caring.com survey of 2,767 family caregivers, and close to half rely on family funds to cover costs.
Moreover, 38% of respondents also spend upward of 30 hours a week on caregiving. Caring for a loved one, the study notes, has become a full-time unpaid job for many.
Caring.com recently examined the overall affordability of growing old in all 50 U.S. states for adults 65 and older.
Researchers considered 11 different variables, including each state’s cost of living index, the availability of senior health care programs and support for family caregivers, and the average cost of senior care.
In several instances, there was no correlation between a state’s senior care costs and supportive policies and programs for the elderly and caregivers.
For example, Mississippi, one of the cheapest states for seniors, ranked 35th for elderly and caregiver support, while Massachusetts, one of the priciest states for senior care and cost of living, scored third for such programs.
“Sometimes there’s going to be a trade-off,” Stephan Weiler, professor of economics at Colorado State University’s Regional Economic Development Institute, said in an article that accompanied the study.
“In a lot of rural areas in the country, you’re going to have much cheaper costs, but you’ll probably have to make sacrifices when it comes to accessing medical care and senior facilities. Conversely, vibrant and attractive coastal or urban regions are going to be expensive but also brimming with care options. That’s just the nature of the beast.”
Following are the 10 best and 10 worst states for elder care, according to Caring.com: