The cost of elderly care can be difficult if you don’t even know the difference between assisted living and a nursing home. My hope is by the end of this post you will understand the difference of all the different kinds of care and the costs.
When I was taking care of my mom in 2011, I was faced with the decision of where would she stay. She had a traumatic brain injury with complications. I, of course wanted her to be happy. But I also wanted her to have all the care she needed. Being happy meant she would be in her home, but that meant the cost of having in home care probably 24 hours a day. I could cut the cost in half and I would take care of her at night. Or she could stay at a skilled nursing facility(a nursing home).
The cost of elderly care for my Mom
24 hour care for her at home would be $15 an hour during the day and $21 an hour at night for Home Health Aide. That is $432 per day, more if I needed someone more skilled than an aide. If I decided to take care of her at night the cost would have been $180 per day. Now, this care is only the very basic care, bathing, feeding, dressing, mobility, positioning, grooming. A skilled nursing facility was at the time charging $240 per day. A skilled nursing facility would provide the basic care, but they also had skilled nurses, physical therapy on site and quick access to doctors and hospitals. With the condition she was in and how much care she needed, having these things on site were a huge plus.
The decision I made and why
Every family’s situation is different, here is why I (we) made the decision to keep her in a skilled nursing facility. My initial plan was to have my mom undergo the therapy she needed in the skilled nursing facility and as she got stronger possibility moving her to her own home or to our home. Because of the way insurance was handled she could receive her therapy in the skilled nursing facility and not at home. Or I should say that she would receive more hours in the facility vs. at home because of the costs of a traveling therapists.
Placing her at home would have also meant uprooting my family and moving 8 hours away from where we live. We would had to have done something with our house, closed it up or rent it out. Figure out what to do with our zoo of animals (goats, chickens, and dogs ) My husband would had to have commuted 7 hours home on his days off instead of 2 hours. My son was 6 years old at the time and he would have to had gone to a different school.
All of this was very doable but what really made me decide to keep her in the nursing facility was she needed therapy and she would get more hours on her insurance than she would have if I took her home. It was for her health and recovery.
In the end
What I ended up doing was home schooling my son and we traveled back and forth from our house to where my mom was (8 hour drive). I stayed 2 weeks at home and 1 week with mom. I was home for my husband when he was off work and I saw Mom on a regular basis. I also hired someone($20 per hour) to visit her 3 times a week to read to her and be her companion and my mom’s cousin would visit her about every other day or so. I also had my Geriatric Care Manager(read more here and here). She would visit and check her status as her advocate. Making sure that the facility was doing their job as they were reporting it to me. The cost varied month to month depending on what she did for us but on average her bill was about $300 per month.
Every situation is different
Here are some elderly care options and the costs.
We talked about having your elderly loved one at home. Did you know it is possible to get paid for taking care of them in your home? Like, anything there is some red tape to see if you are eligible but it is worth a try. Read more here. Also there are some very reputable companies that can provided Home Health Aides. I used Comfort Keepers to hire the companion for my Mom when I was not able to be with her. She was a wonderful sweet lady that would read to my Mom and watch Jeopardy with her.
A nursing home by definition is a private institution providing residential accommodations with health care, especially for elderly people. The research I have done show the average daily rate is $240 per day. It also depends on the kind of facility it is and what kind of care is provided. So the cost can be different.
I have not talked about this option yet. What is it? An assisted living residence is a long-term elderly care. It provides personal care support such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing and transportation. This is for a senior, who is more active than one that would be in a nursing home. They just need help with some day to day living. They also can be a great place for seniors to socialize and make new friends. The cost of these very depending on the type of room/apartment, meal plans and services provided but the average is $3500 a month.
Adult Day Care
I am including this option because I know not everyone can take care of an elderly loved one full time. They have to work and this is a perfectly viable option to you for many reasons. The average cost in the U.S. is $64 per day, depending on location and services provided. I plan on going into this subject deeper in a later post. But until then here is the web site for National Adult Day Services Association. This site can give you an idea of services provided, activities, and types of Adult Day Care.
In conclusion, the cost of elderly care can vary greatly. It depends on a lot of factors. In my experience the cost was a factor but also the welfare of my Mom was the biggest part of my decision. Since her passing in September of 2012, I have thought a lot about what I went through and if there was anything I would do differently. Maybe, but I know in my heart that I did the best I could for her, and was so thankful I had that time with her. I love you MOM and miss you with all my heart.
Wow! that was a long post. I sincerely hope it has provided you with information on the cost of elderly care that is helpful to you and your loved ones.
Thanks for stopping by.