I need to make a care decision about my frail and aging dad, but the choices out there are so many, and they all seem so confusing – especially regarding costs. I don’t really know which way to go. -Henry, Babylon, NY
I wish I could give you the instant answer you’re looking for; but the fact is, this decision involves so many different variables, it’s difficult for anyone to know for sure that they’re making the right move. How much can you and your dad afford? What level of care does he need? Can he basically function okay on his own, or does he need assistance 24/7? It all comes down to lifestyle priorities, Henry – yours and his – vs. the realities of available income. And remember, no decision is a permanent one. As time goes by, the variables change, and your choices will need to be reconsidered.
Here’s some recent cost information I came across that might help your decision making process. An independent study was recently conducted comparing the average costs of today’s senior living options.* It found that the national average annual cost for care in a private room at a Medicare-certified nursing home is slightly more than $90,000. The report also found that a single-occupancy room in an Assisted Living facility averages $3,300 per month. Finally, the report indicated that the national average hourly rate for a home health aide provided by a certified home health care agency is $22.14 per hour.
So, again, Henry, the question remains: What do you and your dad need most, and which option gets you closest there? As for me, whenever it’s possible, my preference is Assisted Living, provided the individual can function well and just needs help with ADLs – Activities of Daily Living. At the better Assisted Living communities, the care provided is exceptional, the lifestyle is enjoyable and there’s always staff working 24/7 should any emergency arise. And, when most people crunch the numbers, Assisted Living usually comes out much more affordable than they imagined. Hope this information has helped you, Henry. It’s not always easy for families to come by it, and it might shed some light on your options.
*Source: McKnight’s Online; August 13, 2010