A recent report finds what many of us working with older people and their families already know, which is the cost of nursing home care continues to rise. MetLife’s Mature Market Institute’s 2011 survey determined that the statewide average cost of a semi-private room in a Michigan nursing home is $220 per day or $6,600 per month. Many of our clients in nursing homes in northern Oakland County are paying more than that at about $230 to $240 per day.
The MetLife study also cites interesting U.S. Census Bureau statistics that the median age of U.S. nursing home residents is 82.7 years. Often, people who have not dealt with long-term care in their family think of nursing homes as being places for people in their 90’s or older. Moreover, many also erroneously think of nursing homes as places people move to when they are quite incapacitated and about to pass away in a few weeks or a month or so. The survey makes clear that nursing home residents are made up of people ranging in age from their 60’s to their 90’s and older. While some stays are short term, average stays in a nursing home are about 2 years.
As such, given the high costs and high chance of living in such a facility for a long time, it is important to plan ahead about how to pay for long-term care. Long-term care insurance should be considered, but many seniors wait too long to obtain such policies and then feel they cannot afford the $3,000 to $5,000 annual premiums or they may not pass the health underwriting standards for the insurance. Estate and longevity trusts or Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts should be considered, either alone or in conjunction with long-term care insurance policies.