Although most people prefer to age in place, the need for long-term care becomes more likely as people get older. The U.S. Department of Health estimates that 70% of people over 65 can expect to use some type of long-term care. Eventually, home-based support may not be enough. Or, it may become too expensive.
At that point, it is necessary to transition to a senior care community. When the time comes to choose a senior care facility, many people feel overwhelmed. Not only is it difficult to give up your independence and privacy; but, there are so many options to choose from.
Senior care is an enormous industry. There are thousands of senior care providers across the U.S. These centers are not one size fits all. Centers provide different levels of care in a variety of settings at different price-points. It’s important to understand the options available before making a decision. You will want to consider your loved one’s needs, comfort level, and their ability to pay for services.
This chart depicts the different options relative to scope of care. The bottom left corner represents a senior who is completely independent. She has full cognitive abilities and physical independence. She lives on her own and has no care costs.
The upper right corner represents a senior with the highest care needs. She requires a full range of private care on a twenty-four-hour basis. She receives one-to-one assistance, often in her home. This is the most expensive level of care.
Between those two options are a variety of intermediate and advanced care levels. As you move from left to right and bottom to top, both the scope and cost of care increases.
Often, an assisted living facility is the first community families consider. Assisted living supports individuals who experience declines in cognitive functioning and/or physical independence. The goal of these facilities is to provide residents the support they need to continue living as independently as possible.
Staff helps with activities of daily living (ADLs). These include dressing, hygiene, feeding, toileting, and medication management. Assisted living providers also offer housekeeping and laundry services. But assisted living facilities are not medical providers and residents do not receive ongoing medical support from the assisted living facility, but may through access to medical providers affiliated with the facility.
Even if you think assisted living is the best option for your loved one it is still important to learn about other care options. Over time, your loved one may experience further declines in cognitive abilities or physical mobility. At that time, advanced medical care may become necessary.
Sometimes, an assisting living facility can accommodate advanced care services through third-party providers. Many assisted living facilities offer memory care, home health aides, and hospice. Other times, it will be necessary to transition to a separate facility.
The average cost of assisted living is $135 per day. But there are many other options available for you or your loved one.
Scope of Care
Senior care exists on a continuum. At one end, you have entirely independent living. On the other, you have intensive 24/7 one-to-one care. In between, there are a variety of services. You can find the full spectrum of Sugarbush Living services here.
Seniors live alone and take care of themselves. They manage all the activities of daily living without help. Seniors may remain in their homes or move to an independent living or retirement community.
When seniors need help with some daily tasks but don’t need professional care, they often rely on caregivers for help. Informal caregivers include spouses, children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, and close friends. This trusted network can help seniors remain in their own homes by assisting with ADLs and providing transportation to doctor’s appointments and other errands.
If a senior does not have any family or friends close by, or if they need a little more help than caregivers can provide, paid care is an option. Home health aides average between $18-23 per hour.
Adult Day Care
These centers provide daily care for seniors unable to stay alone. Seniors often live with a caregiver and attend daycare when the caregiver is away from home. There are over 4,000 adult daycare centers in the U.S. The average cost is $70 per day.
This is a temporary service that provides care to seniors who live at home. A temporary caregiver can provide care in the home. Or, the senior can briefly stay in an assisted living facility. This averages between $12-24 for in-home care and $300 for residential care.
Memory care provides intensive, specialized care for people with dementia or Alzheimers. It offers a safe and structured environment with routines designed to minimize stress for patients. Specially trained staff provide all the services associated with assisted living, and extra supports designed to reduce confusion. The average cost is an additional up to $4,000 per month.
Rehabilitation is a short-term care solution prescribed for seniors recovering from illness or injury. The goal of rehabilitation is to help seniors return to their maximum functional potential after suffering a life-altering event.
Skilled Nursing Care
Skilled nursing provides nursing and medical care to seniors. Chronic conditions such as diabetes, kidney disease, or heart disease require skilled nursing. Patients who need wound care or IV also need nursing care. An individual can receive skilled nursing care in their home, or more commonly, in a long-term care facility. The average cost of skilled nursing is $280 per day. Medicare may be available for skilled nursing fees.
This is the highest level of care available. It provides help with ADLs, memory care, and skilled nursing twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This one-to-one assistance often occurs at home. Although, sometimes, the patient resides in a long-term care facility. Round the clock in-home support averages $480 per day.
Cost Comparison Across the Spectrum of Care
There are many options for senior care. Since the cost varies greatly, and increases as the level of care becomes more intensive, it is important to select the least intensive option that meets the needs of your loved one.
According to the Genworth Cost of Care study 2019, the national median cost for assisted living is $4,051 a month, totaling $48,612 per year. Compared to the cost of skilled nursing, assisted living is a bargain. The median cost for a nursing home is $8,517 per month, which amounts to $102,204 annually. Skilled nursing care is more than twice as much as assisted living.
In-home care is more expensive than residential care. The Genworth study found the average cost of home health to be $4,385 per month, totaling $52,624 per year, based on 44 hours per week, 52 weeks of the year. It costs more to provide care in the home than it does in an assisted living facility.
Despite seniors’ desire to remain at home, it is more cost-effective to transition to a senior living community.
Determining the Right Level of Care
At Sugarbush Living we are committed to providing the proper scope of care for you or your loved one. Our comprehensive assessment will help determine current levels of cognitive abilities and physical independence. From there we can identify the scope of care necessary to provide full support.