Virtually every week in our office the topic of assisted living, or an alternative to it, comes up in conversation with our clients or their families. A high percentage of people who live long enough to become senior citizens are going to need living assistance at some point in time.
When you think about assisted living, the first things that probably come to mind are nursing homes and assisted-living communities. Many people do eventually reside in these facilities, but it is important to recognize just how expensive they have become.
According to a survey that was conducted by the MetLife Mature Market Institute, the average annual cost for a private room in a nursing home in the United States in 2011 was $87,200. The length of stay is going to vary, of course, and it could only be a matter of months in some cases. But the United States Department of Health and Human Services tells us that 10% of the people who reside in nursing homes do so for at least five years. In our experience, the more affluent stay longer than the less affluent. Given this statistic, it is possible that you could be looking at an enormous expense late in your life.
The average charge for a year in an assisted living community in the United States in 2011 was $41,700. The average stay is between two and four years. In our part of the world, middle America, it’s a little more. In a meeting last week with a client and a few family members I was told they pay $160 per day, or about $60,000 per year. Remember, that’s in after-tax money.
An alternative to these options would be to pay for in-home care. This care may be less expensive and it may be all that you need. A home health aide that is employed by a licensed agency will cost you $21 an hour on average in the United States at the present time. Even at that rate, you pay $168 per day for eight hours of care. Even though it might cost the same amount, it is a much more palatable expense to many because you get the added benefit of being able to remain within the friendly surroundings of your own home.
We learned that it’s extremely important to plan in advance and analyze all options. To create an intelligently conceived long-term plan with the realities of long-term care costs in mind take action right now to arrange for a consultation with a licensed and experienced Oklahoma City elder law attorney.
Author, President and Founding Attorney
Parman & Easterday
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