The Cost of Nursing Home Care

nursing home costsAverage costs of nursing homes are on the rise. Learn how you can make the situation work for you.

No one knows exactly how much long term care will cost for them or their loved ones. The unknowns surrounding your loved one’s health and length of life make it impossible to predict just what paying for nursing home care will take. But you can still prepare by learning what the average costs of nursing homes and other senior living facilities are. And you can offset the cost of nursing home care by taking advantage of the aid and insurance programs available to you or your loved one.

The True Cost of Nursing Home Care

Unfortunately there is no set cost structure in the long-term care industry. One skilled nursing facility might charge yearly lump sums, while another utilizes a complicated a la carte menu, and yet another charges a hefty start-up fee and smaller monthly installments. In addition, cost-of-living differences make average costs of nursing homes vary distinctly across the nation. Regardless, this list should help shape your expectations about the cost of nursing home care.

Though your costs will vary from the norm more or less, we’ve nevertheless scoured different sources of long-term care cost information and came up with the following rough estimate of the cost of nursing home care:*

  • Home Health Costs
    • In-home registered nurse assistance: $50 to $100 per hour
    • In-home practical or vocational nurse assistance: $35 to $75 per hour
    • home health aid assistance: $10 to $20 per hour
    • senior companion assistance: $7 to $15 per hour
    • adult day care: average $64 per day

  • Independent Living Costs: $10,000 to $100,000 initial fee, home purchase price, and varying a la carte service costs
  • Assisted Living Costs: average $36,000 per year
    • Assisted Living Costs with Memory Care: over $51,000 per year

  • Intermediate Care Costs: $53,000 to $142,000 per year
  • Skilled Nursing Home Costs: $70,000 to $178,000 per year

Help Paying for Nursing Home Care

Skilled Nursing Medicare

Medicare is a federal government program for seniors aged 65 or older, designed to help with hospital and medical costs. Medicare Part A is "hospital" insurance, and Medicare Part B is optional supplementary medical insurance available for a small monthly premium. See our Skilled Nursing Medicare article to learn more about how Medicare can help with paying for nursing home care.

Medicaid Nursing Homes

Medicaid is another program sponsored by the federal government that helps low-income seniors with medical and long-term care costs. Medicaid contracts with privately-owned nursing facilities and helps with the cost of nursing home care for those who qualify. See our Medicaid Nursing Home article to learn more about qualifying for and using Medicaid to help fund your nursing care costs.

Income and Assets When Paying For Nursing Home Care

Getting a good idea of your loved one’s assets and income will help you determine how to utilize them in paying for nursing home care. Income and assets come into play during Medicaid qualification, and can be dealt with in such a way as to maximize the dollars you have to put toward the cost of nursing home care. See our Income and Assets Planning article to learn how.

Long-Term Care Insurance

As you can see, the average costs of nursing homes are prohibitively high for many people. Long-term care insurance is an option for those who can afford hefty premiums now, but doubt whether they’ll have the funds to cover the full cost of nursing home care later. Learn more in our Long-Term Care Insurance article.

Long Term Care: How to Plan and Pay for It, by Joseph L. Matthews, 2004
MetLife Assisted Living General Costs study, 2008