As elder law attorneys, we focus on legal and financial subjects that are of interest to senior citizens. The most pressing elder law issue of the day is the matter of long term care. If you would like to learn about the subject, you may want to visit LongTermCare.gov, which is an informative website that is maintained by the United States Department of Health and Human Services. When you start to look into the facts, you will see that seven out of 10 Americans that are 65 years of age or older will someday require assistance with their activities of daily living.
Of course, some people can receive the help that they need from family members, neighbors, and friends as they remain in their own homes. Unfortunately, this is not possible for many, and there are those that ultimately require nursing home care after staying at home for a number of years.
Many elders in nursing homes have Alzheimer’s disease, and you may be surprised to hear that 13 percent of all seniors have contracted Alzheimer’s. The number swells to 40 percent for people who are 85 years of age or older. It is worthwhile to point out the fact that the demographic subset comprised of people between 85 and 94 years old is the most rapidly growing group.
According to the Social Security Administration, it is likely that you will live until you are at least 85 once you reach the age of 67. When you combine all of these figures, you can see that the possibility of contracting Alzheimer’s disease at some point in time is very real indeed.
If you work and pay taxes for at least ten years, you will qualify for Medicare coverage when you reach the age of 65 as the laws stand today. It is important to understand the fact that this health insurance will be of great assistance, but there are some significant out-of-pocket expenses that go along with it. These would include deductibles, copayments, and monthly premiums, so you should definitely factor in these expenses when you are planning for retirement.
Though there are some costs that you have to cover yourself, they are manageable for most people. However, there is one very huge gap in Medicare coverage. The program will pay for convalescent care after an accident or injury, but it will not pick up the tab for custodial care. This is the type of assistance you would receive in a nursing home or an assisted living community. As we have established, it is likely that you will need some type of long-term care eventually, and you may well reside in a nursing home during your twilight years.
The fact that Medicare will not pay for long term care is a very big deal unless you are extremely wealthy. Genworth Financial is a company that provides financial products for senior citizens, and they conduct ongoing research into the current state of long-term care costs in the United States.
Nationally, the median cost for a year a private room in a nursing home in 2017 was $97,452. For a semi-private room the figure was almost $86,000. The median annual charge for a one bedroom unit in an assisted living facility was $45,000, and the charge for a home health aide was $4100 per month.
As you can see, these are some rather large numbers, and people often spend multiple years in these facilities. Genworth also drills down to provide the statistics for individual states, and larger cities within the states. They have examined the state of long-term care costs in the Detroit area, and the results are not encouraging.
Last year the median annual charge for a private room in a nursing home in our area was just over $104,000. It cost almost $95,000 for a semi-private room, and the median cost for a year in an assisted living facility was $43,800. The services of a home health aide in our area would actually cost more than a stay in an assisted living community. The median charge for a home health aide in 2017 was $51,480 a year.
If you would like to learn how you can prepare yourself to address these costs, we would be more than glad to help. You can give us a call at 586-493-7661 to set up a nursing home asset protection consultation, and you can alternately reach out through our contact page.