Americans can't afford to grow old as nursing home costs soar
It seems not all industries are suffering from the recession. Even though Americans are paying less on everything from hotel rooms to holiday gifts, and small businesses are fighting to hang on to their dwindling credit, the recession-inspired rollback theme hasn't quite made it to the long-term health care industry.
According to the MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs, private room nursing home rates rose 3.3% to a whopping $219 a day, or $79,935 per year. Quite a hike.
Assisted living costs also surged ahead by 3.3% to $3,131 per month.
Home health care aides also got a raise. Currently, they're pulling in an average $21 per hour, up 5%.
Meanwhile, teachers in Hawaii have seen their paycheck shrink by a fifth, being forced to work four-day weeks as a result of the economic woes. Earlier this year, Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons imposed a 6% pay cut for all state workers and teachers.
"These across the board-the-board increases may be surprising to many given the economy," said Sandra Timmerman, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. "But while the Consumer Price Index (CPI) decreased overall during the past year, costs for medical care are 3.3% higher, which parallels our finding on long-term care."
There is a bit of good news. Your location factors heavily into just how much seniors are coughing up for long-term or assisted living care.
The highest nursing home private rooms are in Alaska, where residents shell out an average $584 per day. Louisiana comes in at the opposite end of the spectrum at a modest (by comparison) $132 per day.
Consumers beware. Timmerman suggests just like if you were in the market for a new vehicle or home, shop around. "Compare prices at all long-term care facilities and consider both the base price and the "add-ons" for additional services."