The Financial Burden of Elderly Care on Long Island’s Middle Class

As Long Island’s baby boomers reach retirement age, there is an influx of adults who require long-term care and Social Security benefits. As it stands, two-thirds of Americans age 65 and over will soon fall into this category. This trend was not unexpected, but perhaps unprepared for. With limited funds supplied by Social Security and private or Medicaid insurance, the burden falls to younger family members, who, buried by inflation and the slow-moving economy, are often already struggling to make ends meet.

In the last 10 years, the cost of long-term care has risen dramatically.  According to a report by insurer Genworth Financial, the median bill for an assisted living facility is nearly $50,000 a year and for a semi-private room in a nursing home, it’s now over $100,000 a year. To lend perspective to these figures, the median household earns $52,000 in the U.S.

It’s not easy to see a parent or loved one’s health care needs rise, and even more uncomfortable to face the financial realities associated with that care. Many people turn to Medicaid to relieve some of the cost, but it is oftentimes difficult to secure the coverage necessary to support their aging loved ones. This phenomenon is particularly felt among the middle class, who feel they are left without any viable options.

More and more people rely on home healthcare for more extended periods of time. The option to hire in-home aides, although primarily out of pocket, is promising, since the cost is much lower than it is in institutionalized facilities such as nursing homes. Yet at a rate of $20 per hour (a conservative estimate), the cost of just eight hours a day of home health support tallies to $58,240 a year — an unaffordable price tag for 50 percent of American households. Round-the-clock in-home care at the same rate would come in at $174,720 per year, which only wealthier families could even consider.

If you’re unsure about the right kind of care for a loved one, or have questions about how to afford their care, contact elder care professionals at P&P Medicaid. In addition to assisting with Medicaid applications on behalf of clients, our company also provides a full range of geriatric care management services to help individuals and their families make decisions about and supervise their long-term care needs.  Please contact P&P Medicaid Consulting, Inc. at (516) 541-4770 for more information.

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