//Lambert > Cost of Nursing Home Care Skyrockets

Lambert > Cost of Nursing Home Care Skyrockets

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Bob Lambert, Valdosta Today Legal Contributor

Nursing home expenses continue to rise with the nationwide average increasing to $91,250 per year for private and just over $80,000 for semi private rooms.
How much should you be saving for future nursing home care? Unfortunately, the cost is going up and people are grappling with how to pay for it.

As reported recently by the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in “Average Rates for Nursing Homes Rise Nationwide,” you can expect to pay $91,250 a year for private nursing care at present!

Of course, given the law of supply and demand, these costs likely will continue to rise in the coming years.

Many people fail to take nursing home and other retirement costs into account when creating their estate plans. As a result, there may be little or no “estate” left when they pass away. In fact, there may even be debt.

In some cases, people who create their own gifting plans can later learn that they have given away money they actually needed to meet their later-in-life expenses, such as nursing home care.

While in Georgia we are fortunate to be below the nationwide average the costs are rising in similar proportions. I do find that nursing home costs can vary even across south Georgia. According to the 2014 Guide to Georgia Nursing Homes, the nursing home care in the Atlanta area averages $59,808 per year for semi private rooms, and $66,928 per year for private rooms. The rest of the state is a little cheaper at $53,756 per year for semi private rooms, and $56,248 per year for private rooms. My personal experience is that the costs in Valdosta are more in line with the nationwide averages at $65,000 to $80,000 per year.

Assisted living and personal care home costs are rising as well. The nationwide median is about $42,000 per year. These figures also vary in south Georgia as do the costs for home health care which runs $15.00 to $19.00 per hour for unskilled home health workers.

This is another reason that you should always seek the help of a professional to create your estate plan. You need to make sure that your life and your estate are both planned for properly. I encourage my clients to consider allowing me to create and implement a comprehensive life care plan, that allows you spend your assets on long term care in a progressive manner as function becomes more limited. First and foremost, allowing you to stay at home as long as feasible utilizing private care givers, then trained home health care. Once that is no longer possible, the plan will examine assisted living facilities which are chosen by the Senior, not his children, agent or Guardian. Finally Nursing home care becomes the last resort, as does the need to apply for and qualify for Medicaid. Those who fail to plan in such a manner usually stay at home, and then usually because of some trauma–fall, stroke, heart attack–are forced into a nursing home. The nursing home should not be your first option as it is usually the most expensive and least desirable for most seniors.

How long do you think your money will last if you go directly to the nursing home spending the nationwide averages of $80,000 to $91,000 per year?

Instead, consider what a life care plan can do. Assume you spend $15,000 upfront to make your home more accessible therefore allowing you to stay there 3, 5, 8 years longer than you would have otherwise? Then when you start become frail, mentally or physically, you use your money for home health care, say $15,000 to $28,000 per year for several years? Are you starting to see how your money can last you a lot longer and you can stay at home maybe even until you die? Now for those wanting to leave something to their posterity….do you now see that a dollar saved, and not spent, may very well be available to pass on to your heirs.

Why not contact me today to explore the possibly of a life care plan and discuss all your options with advanced planning at 229-292-8989. For more information, please visit my website at www.legaladviceforseniors.com and register for one of our free workshops. I also want to encourage all of my readers to register for my class this fall with Valdosta State University’s Learning in Retirement Program called: “Avoiding the Nursing Home for Baby Boomers”.

Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (April 12, 2015) “Average Rates for Nursing Homes Rise Nationwide.” Genworth 2014 Cost of Care Survey; www.guidetonursinghomes.com

val2daybioBob Lambert is an Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney who has practiced law in Valdosta for 25 years. His practice is focused mostly toward those Seniors who are 50 years of age and older where there is a need for advanced long term care planning. He utilizes a holistic approach which brings financial planners, home health care, assisted living and nursing home professionals and other experts together for comprehensive life care planning with the goal Medicaid eligibility when needed, asset protection and reallocation combined with traditional estate planning wealth transfer strategies.

An Alabama native raised in Texas, he received his B.A. degree from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Government and English, and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Mississippi where he graduated 4th in his class. He is a member of both the Georgia Bar and the Texas Bar; a member of the Elder law section of the State Bar of Georgia; and a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys including the Trust and Medicaid planning sections. He regularly and eagerly provides complimentary seminars to civic groups, churches and other organizations on long term care planning and Medicaid eligibility. His primary focus is to help all seniors 50 years of age and older understand the necessity and importance, and implement , advance planning to preserve assets for enhanced quality of life in advanced age.

More information can be found at his website where you subscribe to his weekly blogs on Elder law and estate planning issues at www.legaladviceforseniors.com.