More than six million Americans age 65 and older need home or
nursing care, and their geographical locations have a lot to do
with how much they pay for that care, according to an Aug. 5 report
from MetLife Mature Market Institute in Westport, Conn.
In conducting a telephone survey of nursing homes and home care
agencies in 87 markets nationwide, MetLife researchers found that,
while the average hourly cost for a home health care aide is
$18.12, seniors living in New Orleans can expect to pay less than
half of what their peers living in Fort Worth, Texas, pay for such
The cost variation for nursing home care is even more drastic.
While the average daily cost of a private room in a nursing home
care was $181.24, seniors living in Statewide, Alaska, pay $419.80
per day for nursing home care, MetLife said. Their peers living in
Shreveport, La., pay an average of $96 per day.
Like health care costs in general, home and nursing home care
costs are rising steadily, MetLife continued. The hourly cost of a
home health care aide in the United States has increased 2.9
percent, compared to last year's hourly rate, and the daily cost of
nursing home care has increased 8 percent during the same time
period. Costs for both kinds of long-term care rose faster than the
Consumer Price Index, which, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics, rose 2.1 percent during the 12 months ended in
In light of these findings, “it is important to make sure
that we will be able to pay for care when we need it,” said
Sandra Timmermann, director of MetLife's Mature Market Institute.
Likewise, providers should prepare for the onslaught of baby
boomers, she continued. “There are 35 million people who are
over age 65 today, and that figure will reach more than 70 million
by 2030. As people get older, they are more likely to develop
chronic conditions or physical and cognitive disabilities, which
will require ongoing assistance with day-to-day
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