Understanding The Costs of Care Helps You Plan Your Parent’s Future

by Redeeming Riches on July 26, 2012

We understand the importance of saving for a rainy day.

How about saving for those days that include not only rain, but a tornado, hurricane and earthquake?

When caregiving for an aging parent begins, it can feel like your world has become one natural disaster after another. A parent requires care after a debilitating stroke or because of a diagnosis of dementia or because of frailty that accompanies advanced age. How do you begin to budget for today’s cost of care? And, how do you estimate what care could cost in the coming years?

Each year, Genworth Financial analyzes the cost of home care agencies, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Highlights from Genworth’s 2012 Cost of Care Survey include:

  • The cost to receive care in the home remained unchanged from 2011 to 2012. The median hourly cost for homemaker services and home health aide services is $18 and $19, respectively.
  • The median annual cost for care in an assisted living facility is $39,600 nationally. This represents an increase of 1.2 percent since 2011 and a 5.7 percent annual increase over each of the past five years.
  • The median annual cost for care in a private nursing home room rose 4.2 percent from 2011 to 2012 to $81,030 nationally, or 4.3 percent annual increase over each of the past five years.

Genworth also offers a free cost-of-care calculator so that you can determine the costs of home care, assisted living and nursing home today and, just as important, at a time in the future. The interactive Cost of Care Map features daily, monthly and annual rates for 437 cities and regions throughout the U.S. You can compare up to three locations and calculate projected costs for up to 30 years out.

The Cost of Care map can help you determine the best area for affordable care. For instance, perhaps you live in the Midwest, your sister lives on the East Coast and your parents live in Florida. You’re considering moving your parents but are unsure of which area (Midwest, East Coast, South) is most affordable. Use the map to compare costs in those three locations.

You also project costs in the future which can help you plan accordingly. In addition, you can check out what care may cost in 25 years so you have an idea of what your rainy day may need. NPR also recently ran a piece entitled, “Preparing For A Future That Includes Aging Parents,” which article offers additional tips and suggestions on preparing for the care your aging parents may need.

When you understand the costs associated with caregiving, you can budget and plan appropriately, helping you weather the storm of caregiving.

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