Aging Parents 101: How Much Does Long-Term Care for Aging Parents Really Cost?

Find out what it's really going to cost to care for Mom and Dad.

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Caring for your parents is an emotional and stressful time, especially if your parents suddenly require intensive care. In addition to the emotional toll, there are big financial obligations that accompany caring for an aging parent. Let's dig into some of the biggest ticket items.

Nursing Homes

It's no surprise that around the clock care in a nursing home is a very expensive option. Prices vary widely based on your location and the quality of the facility. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the average cost of care for a private room in a nursing home is $6,965 a month (approx. $229 a day). The price drops to an average $205 per day for a shared room.

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Assisted Living Facilities

For aging parents who are still able to live somewhat independently but need help with meals or taking medications on time could benefit from an apartment or one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility. Here they will have staff to check on them regularly, but they can maintain their typical daily routines. Average costs for a one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility are $3,293 a month.

Home Health Aide

For those who are determined to stay in their current home for as long as possible, visits from a Home Health Aide may extend their independence. A typical visit is scheduled in 2-hour or 4-hour time blocks and cost an average of $21 an hour. The price will be higher for evening, weekend, and holiday visits.

Adult Day Services

Grown children who provide most of the long-term care for their aging parents may be interested in adult day health services to help monitor their parents while they are away at work. The average cost for services in an adult day health care center is $67 a day.

Fortunately, there may be resources available to help you offset the costs of these care expenses, such as long-term care insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veteran benefits for qualified recipients. Unfortunately, there are also high insurance premiums and prescription costs for seniors.

Medicare Premiums

If your parents are enrolled in the traditional Medicare plan (Part A, B, & D), you could be paying more than $3,000 a year in premiums. According the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the average cost of a hospital stay is more than $2,000 a day, so you'll quickly meet the deductible if anyone has a hospital stay.

Supplemental Insurance

Medicare doesn't cover everything. Many seniors supplement their coverage with private health care insurance. Depending on the coverage, monthly supplemental insurance premiums can range from $161-$213 in most states. Private, full-coverage health insurance can be as high as $10,000-17,000 in annual premiums.

Prescription Costs

The cost of an individual's prescriptions is as varied as their conditions. The American Society of Consultant Pharmacists reports that on average, individuals 65 to 69 years old take nearly 14 prescriptions per year and individuals aged 80 to 84 take an average of 18 prescriptions per year. The costs of those prescriptions can add up fast, especially if they're ongoing maintenance drugs.

In addition to prescription drugs, seniors take more over-the-counter medications and often require glasses and/or hearing aids. Medical supplies, such as walkers, compression hose, and adult diapers may need to be factored into an annual budget.

Non-Medical Expenses

Expenses incurred by caring for your aging parents reaches beyond medical and personal care. Consider moving costs if you have to move a long-distance relative to be closer to you, or you move to be closer to them. If an aging relative moves into your home, there may be some home improvement projects that need to be completed to make your home more accessible.

There are also costs associated with purging their assets if you're charged with downsizing their home of 50 years to move them into an assisted living apartment. Although an estate sale, may help offset some of those moving costs.

Many caregivers also miss time at work to care for an aging parent, which can impact earning potential and their ability to contribute financially to their parents' care.

Resources

Yes, caring for your parents may seem financially daunting. But you're not in this alone. There are many online and community resources that can assist you as you prepare to care for your parents.

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