The skyrocketing costs of long-term adult care

For any caregiver or family member who have had to place a loved one with Alzheimer’s in a long-term care facility, the fact that this kind of care costs a lot of money comes as no surprise. But I’m not sure if the general public understands just how much out-of-pocket expenses there are, and how quickly your family’s savings can drain away to provide the needed care.


This Met Life survey sums up the 2012 average costs for nursing homes, assisted living facilities, adult day services and home care costs. The numbers are brutal. For Alzheimer’s patients in the early to middle stages of the disease, an assisted living facility might be appropriate. The average annual cost was $42,600. As the disease progresses, often a skilled nursing facility will become necessary. The average annual nursing home cost was $81,030 for a semi-private room. For Alzheimer’s patients who may be combative with other patients, a private room cost $90,520 annually. (These costs are for the U.S.)

So a family with a loved one who needs long-term residential care may need to foot a bill that comes to almost $100,000 for a year’s worth of care. I don’t believe the above rates include medications, which are billed separately (at least in my dad’s case, they were.) I had an aunt on my mom’s side who just passed away this past week. She had Alzheimer’s and had been in a nursing home for several years. The monthly cost was over $7,000 and this was a facility in a tiny, rural Southern town, not a fancy big city place.

I wonder how many people mistakenly believe that Medicare covers these costs. Sadly, I think it’s probably a pretty high number. Medicare is pretty good about covering the high cost of hospital care and surgical procedures that often become necessary as one grows older. But the lack of provisions for dementia residential care, in particular, is a heartbreaker and financially devastating for so many families.

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