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The Cost of Care as We Get Older

Posted 5 years 353 days ago ago by Danielle Streed

Many family members confuse the various terminology relating to long term care.  It is important to understand the difference because the costs vary considerably between the levels of care.  In a 2015 survey, one of the most comprehensive of its kind, it not only established the different levels of care, but also the costs associated with those levels.  Understanding the terminology also helps you understand what typical services you can expect from that level of care.  Home care usually involves a home health aid that will help with bathing, dressing and toileting.  The home health aid will typically not get involved with catheters or injections or any medical services.  Most of the agencies that provide home care will also include assistance with shopping, cooking, errands and transportation.  The home care agency may have another level of medical assistance but the most basic home care is a home health aid.   In Michigan, you can anticipate to spend approximately $21.00 an hour for home health aid assistance. 

Adult day care is designed to meet the needs of adults who are functionally or severely cognitively impaired.  Many of the programs of adult day care are structured and comprehensive and take place in a very protective setting that promotes a variety of health, social and other support services.   This service is designed to provide relief for family caregivers.  In Michigan, adult day care cost is typically $80.00 per day and can usually range from approximately 7 to 9 hours of care.

An assisted living facility is a comprehensive term for some sort of assisted care.  Many of these are also called residential care facilities.  At an assisted living facility, they provide full time living arrangements for an individual and in many of the assisted living facilities there are different levels of care.  The basic level of care may include the actual apartment, a certain number of meals per day, laundry and/or having the apartment cleaned.  The basic level of care may not provide for any assistance with taking medications or medical assistance.  In many of the assisted living facilities, they will provide transportation to various medical facilities such as the doctor or the dentist.  Many assisted living facilities will allow for multiple levels of care where medication can be monitored along with other health care services.  In Michigan, the average cost of assisted living facilities is $3,250.00 per month. 

The final level of care that we are all worried about is the nursing home care.  Nursing home care is typically referred to as the need for skilled care.  When an individual cannot perform at lease two of the five activities of daily living, they are considered nursing home qualified.  The five activities of daily living are bathing, toileting, dressing, getting in and out of bed and feeding oneself.  A nursing home setting will also provide room and board and laundry as well as much more hands on medical assistance such as basic nurse supervision.  There are single occupancy private rooms and semi-private rooms which provide for double occupancy.  The average cost in Michigan for a semi-private nursing home room is $249.00 per day.  The average cost of a private nursing home room is $272.00 per day. 

As you can see, the cost of care as we get older only continues to increase.  Making sure that you have made provisions financially for this level of care is extremely important, but it is equally important to discuss with your medical and financial powers of attorney what your wishes are with regard to assisted living, nursing home and home care requests.  For some patients, there are not a lot of options but for some home care may be an option rather than going straight into a nursing home.   Reviewing your financial situation with your advisor making sure you have the necessary income and/or preplanning with long term care insurance is something you should do sooner and not when a crisis occurs.  

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