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Comparing the Median Costs of Senior Care in the U.S.

Are you or a loved one facing the possibility of having to rely on elderly care? If so, you’ll need to compare the options and weigh the costs before you can make a decision that works for your needs and budget. In the infographic, we’ve highlighted the national median costs for four of the most common solutions to senior and elderly care: Nursing Home Care, Homemaker/Companion Services, Home Health Aide Services, and Assisted Living Care.

We gathered this data from the results of Genworth’s Annual Cost of Care Survey for 2016. According to the survey, the median cost of nursing home care is $225/day for a semi-private room and $253/day for a private room. That adds up to $82,125 and $92,345 per year, respectively.  Considering the average length of stay in a nursing home is over two years, the total cost of nursing home care could easily exceed $184,000 for a single individual.

Other forms of elderly care can be more affordable, but still costly.

According to Genworth’s 2016 survey, the median rate for in-home caregivers is $20/hour. When it comes to in-home (non-medical) caregivers, Genworth divided them into two main categories: Homemaker Services (those who provide services like housekeeping, companionship, etc. but maintain a “hands off” approach to personal care), and Home Health Aides (who provide a more “hands on” approach to personal care, but do not offer medical care). According to their survey findings, the median cost for both Homemaker Services and Home Health Aides is $20/hour. Even part-time care of this nature could total upwards of $400 per week. That comes out to $1,600 per month or $19,200 per year.

For Adult Day Care Services, which provides elderly people with structured activities and supervision in a community environment, Genworth found that the median cost is $68/hour. If an elderly person goes to an adult day care facility for only 10 hours per week, the total cost could come out to around $680 per week ($2,720/month; $32,640/year).

For Assisted Living Facilities, Genworth found that the median cost is $3,628/month. Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) are residential facilities similar to nursing homes; however, they generally offer a higher degree of independence for residents. ALFs provide certain levels of personal care and health services, but are generally chosen by individuals and families who believe the senior doesn’t yet need to be in a nursing home. Although they can be an ideal alternative to nursing homes, the costs may be anything but. At $3,628/month, an ALF could wind up costing more than $43,000/year.

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Using a Reverse Mortgage to Pay for Elderly Care Services

A Reverse Mortgage can help pay for or offset the costs of elderly care. With a Reverse Mortgage, the lender pays the homeowner – not the other way around – and the loan doesn’t need to be repaid until the last surviving borrower no longer uses the home as their primary residence. Therefore, a homeowner could use the Reverse Mortgage proceeds to help pay for their spouse’s elderly care – even if they are no longer living in the home. The proceeds could also be used to pay for the care of an aging parent or other relative.

To repay the loan, the home is typically sold and the homeowner’s heirs or estate (or in some cases the lender) will sell the property and use the proceeds from the sale to pay off the debt. If the sale of the home doesn’t produce enough money to pay off the loan, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) absorbs the loss. The homeowner’s heirs/estate are under no obligation to repay the loan.

Learn more about how people are using home equity conversion mortgages for purchasing homes:

Please keep in mind that the reverse mortgage industry in constantly changing and some of the information contained on this site may not be current. Please ask a licensed reverse mortgage professional for up-to-date guidelines.