The Cost Of Long Term Care What You Can Expect To Spend And How To Afford It

The cost of long-term care for seniors rises each year. In an uncertain economy, many senior Americans are concerned about how they’ll afford to pay for the future. However, armed with the facts, you can make proactive decisions now to finance your future care. Learn about the various types of long-term care and their costs in order to make effective budgeting decisions regarding your future care.

What are Average Nursing Home Costs?

Nursing homes offer the most comprehensive long-term care, making them the most expensive. Many Americans believe that if they’re discharged from a hospital to a nursing home due to a health condition, their private insurance or Medicare will pick up the bill. Unfortunately, these sources often don’t cover nursing home costs.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, skilled nursing homes often cost up to $219 per day, adding up to more than $60,000 per year (2009). While Medicare covers up to 100 days of skilled nursing care per year, after 20 days, the patient must pay a co-insurance of around $100 per day out of pocket for the remaining 80 days.

If the stay lasts longer than 100 days in a calendar year, the patient is responsible for paying all remaining nursing home costs. A few minutes with a calculator will show that this adds up quickly—especially if you have a long-term, chronic illness or disability.

How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?

According to the Assisted Living Federation of America (2009), assisted living is the most common type of long-term care in the United States.

While this option is only a fraction of nursing home costs, it can still be quite pricey. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2009) reports that assisted living can cost anywhere from $2,400 to $3,500 per month, depending on location and amenities. For example, a shared room in assisted living will cost less than a single, private room.

These facilities focus more on helping elderly residents carry out day-to-day activities, such as taking medications, bathing, cooking and dressing. They provide social events for the residents and encourage family visits, keeping them active and engaged.

Home Care Costs

In-home care is the least expensive long-term care option available, but the most labor-intensive. Family members often provide the bulk of care for elderly patients in this scenario, enlisting help from home care nurses, cleaning staff and home health assistants where needed on an hourly basis.

These home care costs vary, depending on location and the service provided, but they range from $18 to $25 per hour, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2009).


Assisted Living Federation of America. (2002). About assisted living. Retrieved October 29, 2010, from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2009). Cost of care?Retrieved October 29, 2010, from