WSJ: Seniors Living Longer, Paying the Price as Care Costs Rise

People are living longer, and that means many will need senior care services for an extended period of time. Not only must seniors and their children choose an appropriate setting to receive that care, but they also need to figure out how to pay for it—and for most, it won’t be cheap.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

A growing number of families are wrestling with the same dilemma: rising costs for long-term care and a mind-boggling array of options.

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Nationwide, long-term-care costs in a number of categories have risen faster than inflation over the past year, according to research to be released Tuesday by insurer MetLife’s Mature Market Institute. At the same time, care providers are changing the types of services available or bundling services in new and at times confusing ways.

But there are strategies that can help. People who identify the specific services their loved ones need, haggle aggressively on price and explore alternative-care options can save money—or at least get more care for the money they do spend, experts say.

The broad category of “long-term care” includes a variety of health and daily-living services, either in facilities or in people’s homes, for people with chronic illnesses or disabilities.

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Costs are rising for most kinds of care, according to the MetLife study, which surveyed nearly 6,700 long-term-care providers and is the first to analyze the ways providers have started bundling together various add-on services, such as transportation or extra meals, in their fee structures. 

The article goes on to discuss several levels of care settings, including assisted living, independent living, and home healthcare, before delving into some alternative options such as adult “day care” services, respite care programs at residential care communities, and hospice care.

Read the full piece at the Wall Street Journal

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Written by Alyssa Gerace