Aging Life Care Managers Find Solutions to Challenging Aging Life Care Questions

Understanding the Costs of Aging

by Heather Imhoff, MSW, LMSW – Aging life Care Association™ Member


With Parents Living Longer, the Costs of Aging Can Be Devastating to Families. How Can You Prevent this for Your Family?

The costs of aging can be an unexpected source of frustration, heartache, and can limit the options available to families and their loved ones. As people live longer, more care is needed over a longer period of time – increasing expenses dramatically. What also comes as a surprise to many families is that some types of assistance an aging adult may require are not covered by Medicare, the primary insurance for the majority of people over age 65.

The best way to ensure that you and your family are prepared to handle the cost of elder care and avoid upsetting confusion is to become familiar with the financial landscape of senior care. Meet  with an Aging Life Care Professional™ to break down what services are available, the average cost of services, and how services can be paid for.

Types of Care Services and Average Costs

Non-Medical Home Care: Home Care Aides provide at-home, non-medical assistance to aging adults such as helping with personal hygiene, laundry, cooking, and transportation. Typically they visit a home several times a week for visits lasting from 2 to 8 hours. In 2014, the national average was $19 per hour with different state averages ranging from $14 to $25 per hour.

Home Health Care: Home Health Providers offer skilled care such as checking patients’ pulse, temperature, and respiration and assisting with medical equipment such as nebulizers. They will visit the home as much as medically necessary but typically for shorter periods of time than Home Care Aide visits. In 2014, the national average was $20  per hour with different state averages ranging from $15 to $25 per hour.

Adult Day Care: Adult day care centers provide aging adults with supervision and social activities in a structured setting during daytime hours. Adult Day Medical Care provides the supervisory and social aspects of Adult Day Care with more intensive health and therapeutic services for individuals with severe medical problems and those at risk of requiring nursing home care. In 2014, the national average was $65 per day with different state averages ranging from $35 to $135 per day.

Residential Care: There are several options available for care facilities, each with their own level of care and cost range. The location and size of the residence and the senior’s current health accounts for some the wide range in costs.

  • Assisted Living Residences provide help with activities of daily living including basic health services, recreational and social activities. In 2014, the national average amount paid was $3,500 per month and different state averages ranged from $2,500 to $6,890. Patients requiring Alzheimer’s or dementia care paid an additional $1,150 or approximately $4,650 per month.
  • Skilled Nursing Residences offer 24/7 care by licensed health professionals including all housekeeping, medical, and social needs. In 2014, the average amount paid for a shared room was $212 per day with different state averages ranging from $139 to $650 per day. A shared residence usually costs 80 to 90% of a private one.
  • Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) are residences that provide a continuum of care from independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing. These are designed to enable seniors to remain in a single residential location. While CCRCs offer much for seniors, they are the most expensive long-term care solution available. There is a one-time entrance fee and monthly maintenance fees. Entrance fees range from $60,000 to $120,000 and monthly maintenance fees from $400 to $2,500.
Paying For Care
Understanding the costs of
An Aging Life Care Professional™ can help you understand the financial landscape of senior care. Image Copyright: Keith Bell, Shutterstock. 

Depending on the level of support needed and whether the care is provided in the home or at a care facility, the costs can vary dramatically. Today in the United States, nearly all money spent on home care, assisted living, and nursing home care comes from one of the following four sources.
Government Programs:  Medicaid, Veterans’ Benefits, and Social Security
Insurance Coverage:  Life, Long-Term Care, Medicare, and other Health Insurance
Private Assistance: Non-Profits, Foundations, and Pharmaceutical Companies
Personal Property:  A Family’s Resources, Private Loans, and Home Equity

Within these four categories, there are many hundreds of options. Some provide assistance, financial and otherwise, for any purpose and others are specifically designed to help with certain types of care such as home care or assisted living or for specific conditions such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s.

Care Planning and Managing Costs

Aging Life Care Professionals (also known as geriatric care managers) are professionals who manage the coordination of care for an individual in need. In addition to the convenience and security they provide, Aging Life Care Professionals can save families money by conducting a needs assessment and  aligning an individual’s present condition with only those services that are necessary at that time. This prevents unnecessary fees from home care providers and assisted living residences.

For information specific to your situation and geographical location, contact an Aging Life Care Professional for expert information on local resources and guidance with securing the appropriate help needed.  Visit for a directory of experts.

Additional source: For more information on the cost of long-term care, visit Paying for Senior Care – a website sponsored by the American Elder Care Research Organization.

About the author: About the author: Heather Imhoff, MSW, LMSW has eight years of experience as an Aging Life Care Professional in both publicly and privately funded sectors.  She is currently a care manager at EGIS Care & Support in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Follow Heather on Twitter at @egis_care or email her at

This blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute, nor is it intended to be a substitute for, professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Information on this blog does not necessarily reflect official positions of the Aging Life Care Association™ and is provided “as is” without warranty. Always consult with a qualified professional with any particular questions you may have regarding your or a family member’s needs.

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