Americans Are Vastly Underestimating Long-Term Home Care Costs
By Valerie VanBooven, RN BSN, Editor in Chief of HomeCareDaily.com
While it’s no surprise that home care is one of the most affordable options for seniors and disabled adults, there is a major discrepancy between what people know about it and what they think they know. In fact, according to a Genworth 2016 Cost of Care Study, it was determined that most Americans underestimate the cost of long-term in home care by nearly 50 percent.
That may not seem like a significant issue for some, but when savings are considered thin and the economy teetering on the edge of another recession, it could have some serious implications, so much so that some may be overwhelmed by the cost or feel that there’s no other options for an aging loved on aside from nursing home or other government funded care.
The Genworth study also discovered that 80 percent, or four out of five, adults in the U.S. underestimate what it would cost for some type of basic home health care. However, at the same time, it’s also the preferred option with regard to long-term care, especially in comparison to nursing homes or other similar options.
In the Forbes article, Americans’ Estimates [o]f Long-Term Care Costs Are Wildly Off, written by Richard Eisenberg:
“Nearly a third of Americans (30%) believe home health care expenses are under $417 a month, but according to Genworth’s number-crunching, the national median rate is about nine times that: $3,861 per month for an in-home aide or $3,813 per month for homemaker care (that’s hiring someone to handle household tasks such as cooking, cleaning and running errands). Genworth assumes 44 hours a week of home care in its calculations.”
There are some theories as to how this has happened and one has to do with a lack of any direct experience people generally have with home care. When someone doesn’t require home care, either for themselves or a loved one, such as an aging parent, they have little need to understand options or costs.
Another theory revolves around the idea that since in-home care providers are considered highly underpaid (as portrayed through media), it’s assumed that the cost of this level of care is generally low.
The study also determined that women are more likely to be the ones who underestimate the cost of in-home care, even though they comprise 80 percent of the care providers or family members who find the right level of care and support for a loved one.
If people underestimate the cost of long-term home care, they are more likely to be unprepared for it in the event that they or someone else in their family requires significant long-term care in the future.