Navigating the rising costs of elder care: A looming challenge for American families

September 11, 2023

As the baby boomer generation ages, the financial burden of caring for older adults is becoming a pressing concern for many Americans.

The price of nursing home care has surged by an average of 2.4% each year from 2012 to 2019, according to The Hill, resulting in a substantial 20.7% overall increase.

While the increase can be attributed to personnel costs and those associated with facility regulations, it boils down to supply and demand.

Jean Spera can relate. After years of managing her husband’s care at home, an unexpected medical incident forced her to turn to a nursing home rehab center.

“I was overwhelmed,” she told The Hill. “I wasn’t able to bring him home because I didn’t know how I was physically going to take care of someone who was twice my size and on our limited income.”

Eventually, the cost of his care ate into the couple’s retirement savings.

“It took us 15 years to save that, and it was gone in six,” she said.    

After that, she brought her husband home.

The reality is daunting: The median cost for a private room in a nursing home in the U.S. is more than $9,000 a month, according to Genworth Financial.

While some experts suggest setting aside a portion of retirement savings for long-term care, this approach may not be feasible for everyone. Some states, like Washington, are taking steps to alleviate the financial burden through programs offering assistance up to $36,500 for qualifying residents.

The cost of long-term care varies from state to state. To see the cost of care where you live, use AARP’s long-term care cost calculator.

Do you have enough set aside to cover long-term care should you need it? Share with us here.