Aging Options

How will long term care affect you?

Save as PDF
Has this ever happened to you?  Have you woken up one day and seen someone you loved as someone you would be caring for in the future?  I don’t mean the knowledge that some day it will happen like when you look at your toddling daughter and know that you’re going to need a shotgun when she hits puberty.  I mean the gut wrenching knowledge that someday is nearly here and you’re wondering what kind of changes you’ll need to make to either your parents’ home or your own and whether you have enough time to suddenly become organized or patient or whatever it is you’ll need to be when the need comes screaming down the pike. 

Genworth Financial has published an annual survey of long term care costs for the past 10 years.  The survey attempts to determine the true cost of long term care costs, not just the monetary costs of care but the entire toll for care recipients, primary and secondary caregivers and the community.

The largest recipients of care (34 percent) tend to be mothers receiving care from their children.  That’s likely a result of women’s longer life spans and that men tend to have spousal care as a result of it.   Illness and age-related frailty made up 87 percent of the reason care was needed (dementia, by contrast, made up 23 percent). Care recipients experienced increased stress with their spouse and with their children.  One likely reason for the stress is the financial impact from their care.  More than half the people in the survey reported that they were forced to cut back on other expenses and that their long term care costs reduced their savings significantly (an average of 61 percent).  Nearly 90 percent of the recipients found that their household income was reduced by more than a third.

You might think that the impact was so sharp because these people simply didn’t plan for long term care needs and while 49 percent agreed that they had not considered the possibility of needing long term care, the most likely reason for the impact is that nearly 30 percent needed care for three years or more.  On this website, we write often about the costs of long term care and what we tend to mean are the costs associated with hiring an individual to provide care or the costs of placing someone in a facility to provide them with care but even if your loved one does not move, likely there will be other costs associated with their care such as the costs for home modifications such as ramps or grab bars or the cost to provide care while a caregiver is away or the lost income when instead of going to work, a caregiver is taking someone to an appointment.

As you can imagine, it’s very costly to be a caregiver.  We know that as there are plenty of stories on just how expensive it is on either our time or our resources, to our job prospects and to our careers.  It doesn’t matter whether you’re well off or whether you pinch pennies, caregiving will make you scramble.  For instance, in 2008, the median annual rate for a private nursing home room was $67,525 but five short years later, the same care rose to $83,950, a 4.45 percent compound annual growth rate over that period.  (You can see a table of annual costs in Washington state at the bottom of this article.)  Caregivers report that they’ve dipped into savings accounts, taken out loans, sold possessions including their home and borrowed money to pay for costs associated with providing for a family member.

Americans tend to ad lib when it comes to the care puzzle.  But this is one time when doing something by the seat of our pants costs us money.  The Genworth survey estimates it costs around $11,000 annually in out of pocket expenses when we put off planning for long term care.  On top of those costs, individuals in the survey indicated that when planning had been undertaken, family members experienced less stress.

If you’re thinking about the repercussions of being a caregiver, start by talking to a good elder law attorney and determine if it makes sense for you to get long term care insurance.



Median Annual Care   Costs in 2013


5-Yr Annual Growth

Home Care

Homemaker services  $49,192 1%
Home health aide  $51,366 2%

Adult Day Health Care

Adult Day Health Care  $17,563 4%

Asisted Living Facility

Private one bedroom  $51,000 7%

Nursing Home Care

Semi-private room  $88,633 3%
Private room  $95,995 4%


Need assistance planning for your successful retirement? Give us a call! 1.877.762.4464

Learn how 70% of retirement plan fails and find out how you can avoid this

Find out more about LifePlanning

Your Cart is empty!

It looks like you haven't added any items to your cart yet.

Browse Products
Powered by Caddy
Skip to content