Paying for Elderly Care: What You Need to Know Now
It's not always easy supporting aging parents. Rather than be shocked by unforeseen bills, it's smart to plan ahead as parents get older, whether it be for assisted living, in-home care or a nursing home. Paying for elderly care can sometimes be considered an afterthought. So make sure you start your research now so you'll have an idea of the cost. Then find programs that could help you finance and care for your aging relatives.
What Does Elderly Care Cost?
Statistics show that health care costs significantly more for those older than 65 years of age. Health care spending for seniors can be as much as $18,988 per year, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. In addition to medical costs, assisted living and nursing homes can be significant costs for families. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, average costs for long-term care for the elderly include:
- $6,235 per month for nursing home care
- $3,293 per month for assisted living care
- $21 per hour for a home health care aid
- $67 per day for an adult day health care
The actual cost facing your family depends on where you live, your health care provider and the type and length of service needed. Having a realistic idea of how much to save helps prepare you and your family members for this future. The good news is there are other options to help supplement your savings.
4 Ways to Help Pay for Elderly Care
1. Long-term care insurance
Long-term care insurance pays for various long-term services in your home or another facility. Usually, an insurance policy reimburses policyholders a limited daily amount to pay for daily assistance with bathing, eating and dressing. The policyholder's age when they purchase the policy, the daily maximum, the number of years the policy covers long-term care and the number of visits per day determine the policy's cost. AARP reports that long-term care insurance policy for a Maryland couple in their 50s can begin at $3,100 annually. However, premiums may increase unexpectedly.
2. Federal government programs
Several federal government programs like Medicare and Medicaid cover long-term elderly care costs. Each program has specific rules and requirements about who may qualify for which programs and for how long, so it's important to stay up-to-date on the latest rules. Government sites like LongTermCare.gov offer more information on these programs. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) can also provide assistance to help with aging relatives. HUD offers programs and information for elderly care housing such as reverse mortgages and the Section 202 supportive housing program.
3. State programs
The Administration for Community Living offers a Support Services and Senior Centers Program that provides grants to states and territories to fund services that let seniors stay in their own homes. Services may include transportation, personal care, chore assistance and legal services.
4. Local programs
In addition to public and state programs to help finance care for your aging relatives, you might also find local support. Search online for an area agency to see what's available. Check out church groups and neighborhood nonprofit organizations for programs for the elderly. The National Council on Aging also offers resources – just key in your zip code to find out whether your aging family members qualify for benefits covering prescriptions, health care costs and food costs.
Even if your parents are currently in good health, planning for their future can help ease the financial burden your family could face down the road. Get an idea of potential costs, consider your savings and research programs that may provide financial relief when the time comes.