Costs of Senior Care

Page Reviewed / Updated - May 2014

How much does eldercare cost? The answer depends both on the type and extent of care required and one’s geographic location within the US.  Follows is an overview of senior care services and residential living situations and their average costs.

Did You Know?  It is estimated that average cost for an 80 year old to spend the rest of their life on a cruise ship would be $250,000.

Elder Care Costs by Type of Care

Non-Medical Home Care

Home Care Aides provide at-home, non-medical assistance to seniors such as helping with personal hygiene, laundry, cooking and transportation. Typically they visit a home several times a week for visits lasting from 2 – 8 hours. In 2014, the national average was $19 / hr with different state averages ranging from $14 - $25 / hr. Interestingly, while the cost of health care including assisted living goes up by approximately 5% per year, home care costs have remained relatively stable in recent years, increasing around 1% per year.

Freelance home care aides are 20% - 30% less expensive than caregivers hired through home care agencies.

It should be noted these are average costs from home care agencies. Private individuals can be retained to provide some of the same services with fees 20-30% lower. Search for Home Care providers.

Home Health Care

Home Health Aides offer skilled care such as checking patients’ pulse, temperature and respiration and assisting with medical equipment such as ventilators. They will visit the home as much as medically necessary but typically for shorter periods of time than Home Care Aide visits. In 2014, the national average was $20 / hr with different state averages ranging from $15 - $25 / hr.  See home care costs by state.

 

Non-Medical Adult Day Care

The average daily rate for adult day care is less than 1/2 of assisted living, 1/3 of home care and almost 1/4 of nursing home care.


Adult day care centers provide the elderly with supervision and social activities in a structured setting during daytime hours. In 2014, the national average was $65 / day with different state averages ranging from $25 - $123 / day.

Adult Day Medical Care

Adult Day Medical Care provides the supervisory and social aspects of Adult Day Care and offers more intensive health and therapeutic services for individuals with severe medical problems and those at risk of requiring nursing home care. In 2014, the national average was $65 / day with different state averages ranging from $35 - $135 / day.  Find Adult Day Care.

Assisted Living / Senior Living Costs

Assisted Living Residences provide help with activities of daily living including basic health services, recreational and social activities. Cost is usually made up of monthly rent with additional fees based on the level of attention the resident requires. In 2014, the national average amount paid was $3,500 / month and different state averages ranged from $2,500 to $6,890. Patients requiring Alzheimer’s or dementia care paid an additional $1,150 or approximately $4,650 / month. Find Assisted Living and Alzheimer's Care Communities or see residential care costs by state.

Nursing Homes

Skilled Nursing Residences offer 24/7 care by licensed health professionals including all housekeeping, medical and social needs. In 2014, the average amount paid for a shared room was $212 / day with different state averages ranging from $139 - $650 / day. A shared residence usually costs 80-90% of a private one. Find affordable skilled nursing homes.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

CCRCs are residences that provide a continuum of care from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing. These are designed to enable seniors to remain in a single residential location. This is particularly attractive for seniors with declining health conditions or couples in mixed health. While CCRCs offer much for seniors, they are the most expensive long-term-care solution available. There is a one-time entrance fee and monthly maintenance fees.  Entrance fees range from $60,000 - $120,000 and monthly maintenance fees from $400 to $2500.

The location and size of the residence and the senior’s current health accounts for some the wide range in costs. There are also three types of care contracts that play a major role in fees.

1. Extensive or Life Care Contract is the most expensive option and covers all long term care costs at no additional fees. This option offers a predictable monthly fee regardless of the needs of the individual; therefore it allows one to build a payment plan the remainder of the senior’s lifetime.

2. Modified or Continuing Care Contract is less expensive than a Life Care Contract, but restricts the total number of days one can receive long term care. Should the senior require additional care, it can be purchased at the time for a discounted rate. Therefore, while less expensive, there may be unexpected future costs.

3. Fee-For-Service Contract is the least expensive monthly rate but residents will pay separately for all long-term care. If extensive care is required, this will be very expensive.

Care Planning & Management Costs

Geriatric Care Managers (GCMs) are professionals that manage the coordination of care for an individual in need. They bill in a variety of ways, but typically their hourly rates are between $50-$200 / hr. A typical engagement involves a needs assessment, care plan creation and implementation; this might require 20-40 hours of work. Therefore retaining a care manager might cost from $1000 - $8000. Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance very rarely pay for these costs, long term care insurance might, but most often this is an out-of-pocket cost. Find Geriatric Care Managers.

In addition to the convenience and security they provide, Care Managers can save families money because their needs assessments align an individual’s present condition with only those services that are necessary at that time. This prevents unnecessary fees from home care providers and assisted living residences.

Daily, Weekly & Yearly Care Cost Reference Table

The quick reference table below shows the costs of each type of care by hour, day, month and year. Also useful is the easy-to-use, Long Term Care Cost Calculator provided by the website eCareDiary.

 

2014 Average Senior Care Costs by Type and Duration

Type of Senior Care

Hour

Day

Month

Year

Home Care Aide Cost

$19

$152 (8 hrs / day)

$3,344 (22 work days / mo.)

$38,000 (250 work days / yr.)

Home Health Aide Cost

$20

$160 (8 hrs / day)

$3,520 (22 work days / mo.)

$40,000 (250 work days / yr.)

Adult Day Care Cost

n/a

$65

$1,430 (22 work days / mo.)

$16,250 (250 work days / yr.)

Adult Day Health Care Cost

n/a

$65

$1,430 (22 work days / mo.)

$16,250 (250 work days / yr.)

Assisted Living Cost

n/a

$117

$3,500

$42,000

Skilled Nursing Home Cost

n/a

$212

$6,360

$76,320