Home health care has become the preferred option among aging seniors. It is far more appealing to an elderly person than spending significant time in a hospital setting or nursing home environment. It is also considered in many circles to be the far more affordable option.
However, according to some research, that affordability could be called into question, especially for seniors who may require significant health care on a regular and consistent basis.
Researchers at the Urban Institute’s Income and Benefits Policy Center in Washington, DC determined that while nearly three-quarters of aging seniors would be able to afford some level of home care for a couple of years, the percentage dropped as more direct care was needed on a daily and regular basis.
As noted by WebMD in its blog, Could You Afford Home Health Care? Maybe Not, written by Dennis Thompson:
“The researchers broke paid home care down into three scenarios: limited care of 25 hours each month costing $475; moderate care of 90 hours a month costing $1,170; and extensive care of 250 hours per month costing $4,750 per month.
Initial results looked promising.
The investigators found that 74% of all seniors aged 65 and older could afford at least two years of moderate home care if they cashed in all their assets, and 58% could afford two years of extensive home care.
Then the researchers turned their attention to people most likely to need home care — those suffering from severe dementia or who require help with two or more activities of daily living. These activities can include eating, bathing, dressing, using the toilet, getting out of a chair or walking across a room, Johnson said.”
In fact, just 57% of those seniors considered the most frail would be able to afford moderate home care for two years. The number dropped even more, to 40%, when extensive home care was required for two years.
This research indicates it’s not short-term, temporary in-home care that can financially decimate a growing number of seniors, but prolonged, long-term in-home health care support.
This may raise concerns as the baby boomer generation retires and account for a much higher percentage of the overall population in the country. As these seniors move through their 70s and approach 80, the risk of more significant and chronic health issues will also increase, which may leave some unable to afford even the best option, which is home care for an extended length of time.