Long-term care is a term that can be used to describe different things. Many people assume that it refers to care received in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility, but it can also be provided at home or in senior living communities. And because of this, the cost of long-term care can vary.
Cost may be determined in part by the amount or type of care received. The care setting can also be a factor. But one of the biggest influencers is geographic location. That’s because care costs in different parts of the country differ by quite a bit.
Long-term care costs in different parts of the US
According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey Tool, the national monthly median cost in 2021 for a nursing home was $7,908 (for a semi-private room) and $9,034 (for a private room). For assisted living in a senior living community, it was $4,500. And for a home health aide to provide care in your own home, it was $5,148.
Costs vary quite a bit from state to state. For instance, here’s how assisted living and a home health care aide compare across three states.
|home health aide||$3,851||$5,529||$6,578|
The difference between assisted living and care at home
You may be surprised to see that long-term care in assisted living is actually cheaper than long-term care provided by a home health aide in your own home. There are a few reasons for that.
First of all, it’s more efficient for senior living communities to provide care to residents who are clustered together in apartments than it is for home health care providers to serve people dispersed across a wide area. And those efficiencies often translate into savings for residents in senior living communities.
Secondly, the median cost for a home health aide that’s shown is based on 44 hours of service per month. If you don’t need that level of service, then your monthly costs will be less. The Genworth Cost of Care Survey Tool allows you to adjust these hours to come up with a monthly median cost for a home health aide that’s closer to your actual needs.
Keep in mind that we’re talking about medians or averages, so you’re still likely to find some variation in pricing among different home health care and assisted living providers.
Other things to consider
When you’re looking at care in the home, don’t forget to factor in other costs that you might not incur in assisted living. For instance, are family members having to help provide care at home? If so, what is it costing them in terms of travel expenses, time off work, lost income, etc?
Non-care-related expenses are another consideration. Our handy calculator can help you compare living expenses at home and in assisted living.
For more details on this topic, check out our free Financial Planning for Retirement Living guide.