When you have your finger on the pulse of the elder law issues of the day, the thing that really gets your attention in a broad sense is the fact that the country is getting older. The “Baby Boomers” are now becoming seniors, birth rates are on the decline, and of course medical technology is capable of more amazing things every day. Many people are stunned when they hear that the most rapidly growing segment of American society is the senior population, and the portion that is 85 years old and above is growing fastest of all.
This demographic trend has far reaching implications for estate planning professionals. More people living longer is going to result in an increase in the number of people living in nursing homes and assisted living communities. When you look at the costs associated with these facilities the need to plan ahead becomes very clear.
MetLife conducts an annual study that dissects the costs of long-term care, and the results of this year’s probe are telling. The national average cost for a private room in a nursing home in 2010 was $83,585; in 2009 it was $79,935, so that is an increase of 4.6%. For a semi-private room the cost in 2009 was $198 a day, which winds up being $72,270 per year. In 2010 the average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home in the United States was $74,825, which is an increase of 3.5% over 2009 rates.
As you might expect, nursing home costs in New York are much higher than the national averages. The average rate for a private room in 2010 was $350, and the average cost for a semi-private room was $336. So we are talking about almost $128,000 per year to live in a private room in a nursing home. This is a considerable amount of money, and it is something to pay close attention to when you are making your long term plans.