At least in five Americans has to care for an older family member, but nearly two thirds of them don’t have a plan for paying the costs over the next five years. This has become astronomically expensive, so it’s important to consider what you and your aging parents will be able to afford.
Once your parents show signs that they might need help with daily activities, you’re faced with a difficult decision: Taking on their care yourself might involve more time and energy than you can spare, but the cost to hire help will blow your mind.
Get a load of these median monthly prices for different types of elder care, according to Genworth:
- Private room in a full-service nursing home: $8,121
- Semiprivate room in a full-service nursing home: $7,148
- Private one-bedroom in an assisted living facility: $3,750
- Adult day health care: $1,517
- In-home health aide: $4,099
- Home-maker services: $3,994
Most Affordable States
Perhaps there’s some consolation in the fact that prices vary from one part of the U.S. to the next, especially for the more involved services.
Apparently the state of Oklahoma has the most affordable options for adults 65 and over, according to Caring.com. After that comes Mississippi, Missouri, Wisconsin, Idaho, South Carolina and Tennessee.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, the most expensive states for senior care are North Dakota, Hawaii, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wyoming. More details on affordability appear at the table at the bottom of this article — compiled by Caring.com — which ranks them based on the average cost of living and available elder care services.
Children Shoulder the Costs
These costs end up on the shoulders of adult children because of insufficient insurance coverage on elder parent’s end of things: Medicare only pays for a very small amount of long-term care, although Medicaid does make up for some of the difference.
While the solution to the situation is to get long-term care insurance, by the time people think of taking out this type of coverage, the premiums are already too steep to be affordable.
That means the costs of caregiving end up interfering or at least impacting the adult children’s ability to plan for their own financial future, according to a survey by Aging Care.
Sacrificing Self Care
Over a third of caregivers pay at least $300 a month to pay for their elder parents’ expenses, and more than half have sacrificed spending money on themselves in order to cover these costs.
What’s worse, the situation can impact caregivers’ current employment: one in four have either had to quit their jobs or been fired from them as a result of the caregiving. Nearly half are earning less money because of having to spend time caregiving.
In fact, 59% of Americans feel that having to care for two seniors is more challenging than caring for two toddlers, according to a survey by Northwestern Mutual.
The survey found that one third of caregivers feel sadness and anxiety all the time and nearly half feel tired. At the same time, just under half feel that it’s an opportunity to return the care given to them in childhood — and 81% say they would do it again if given the chance.
Part of what makes caring for older parents challenging is that even if you can afford to hire someone to do it for you, the parents still may have the ability to refuse the outsider providing the help, making it fall back onto the adult child.
Readers, do you currently care for an aging relative, and if so, how is it impacting your finances? What kind of plans do you have for your future finances?
Can Your Aging Parents Afford to Live in Your State?
|State||Overall Rank||Cost of Senior Care Rank||Cost of Living Rank||Elderly Support Rank|
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