If your elderly parent got sick, could you afford to take care of them?
It’s a problem an increasing number of Jersey Baby Boomers are facing. An elderly parent gets sick, has an accident or develops a condition and suddenly they’re no longer able to take care of themselves.
Some seniors can get by with a home health aide, but others need full-time and long term care and most Jersey residents have no idea how costly either option can be.
“The average cost of a nursing home, one year, is pretty staggering," said Joe Caldwell, director of long-term services and support policy at the National Council on Aging.
The $80,000 to $90,000 annual price tag "pretty much wipes out any sort of savings pretty quickly."
“I think it’s a shock to most people because it is really expensive and most people don’t realize that Medicare doesn’t cover a lot of the cost of long term care.”
Caldwell said Medicare only covers a little short term nursing home care after a hospitalization, about 100 days, “so if you need ongoing care it won’t be covered.”
But even if your mom or dad doesn’t need full-time long-term care, other options are very expensive as well.
A survey conducted by Genworth Financial found the median annual cost of placing a parent in an assisted living community is around $44,000 a year, and bringing in a home-health aide to assist with non-medical issues like shopping, bathing and dressing an elderly person averages more than $46,000 annually, while sending a parent to adult daycare can typically run $200 to $400 a week.
Caldwell stressed if you are looking for any type of long term care situation in Jersey, check out different options because “the costs do vary a lot depending on what people need.”
“It’s a hard issue. People don’t like to think about it and families don’t like to talk about it, but you should plan ahead,” he said.
He recommended investigating long term care insurance.
“But they shouldn’t wait till they're in their 50s or 60s because it will be extremely expensive at that point.”
Caldwell says an estimated 70 percent of people will need some sore of long-term care.
"If you live long enough, you’re going to develop a disability or a condition, and we’re not just talking about the elderly because you know this can happen to anybody, I mean you can get into an accident or have a condition or something earlier. It’s hard to predict, but some people will need long term care for a really long time.”