Metlife: Most Expensive States for Skilled Nursing & Assisted Living Care

Skilled nursing and assisted living have both gotten more expensive in the past year, reveals the MetLife Mature Market Institute in its 2012 market survey, while at-home care costs remained unchanged for home health aides and adult day services.

The cost of a private room in a nursing home rose 3.8% to a national average rate of $248 a day, or $90,520 a year. The expense for a semi-private room increased 3.7% to  $222 a day, and an average yearly rate of $81,030.

More than half (56%) of nursing homes surveyed provide memory care, and out of those approximately 80% charge the same rate for caring for residents with memory impairments. However, for those that charge more for memory care services, the annual rate for a private rooms increases to an average of $95,265, and $83,950 a year for a semi-private room.

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Assisted living costs grew 2.1% to an average monthly rate of $3,550, or $42,600 a year. Slightly more than half (51%) of assisted living communities offer memory care services for residents. In nearly two-thirds of communities (61%), that comes at an additional cost, averaging $57,684 a year.

Generally speaking, monthly rates were higher on the East Coast and in the New England region.

States with the highest average monthly rates for assisted living:

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  1. Washington, D.C. – $5,933
  2. Delaware – $5,249
  3. New Hampshire – $5,086
  4. Connecticut – $4,935
  5. Maine – $4,881

States with the highest average daily rates for nursing homes (private rooms):

  1. Alaska – $687
  2. Connecticut – $406
  3. Hawaii – $384
  4. New York – $368
  5. Massachusetts – $360

The average age of an assisted living resident is 86.4 years old, according to the MetLife survey. A growing number of states have begun covering the cost of assisted living for low-income seniors who qualify through Medicaid waiver programs, the market researcher notes, but most assisted living residents still pay for their care privately or through long-term care insurance policies.

Only 8% of nursing homes and 16% of assisted living communities are part of a CCRC. The majority of assisted living communities (79%) are stand-alone, while 19% are connected to a nursing home.

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Home care continues to play a growing role in the senior care industry.

Although rates for adult day services ($70 a day) and home health aides ($21 an hour) remained unchanged from 2011 levels, wages for “homemakers” on the home care services side grew the most out of any long-term care service surveyed by MetLife, increasing 5.3% to $20 an hour.

“The desire for families and friends to remain at home, or “age in place,” has created a diverse and dynamic home care service industry and a variety of service providers,” says MetLife.

View MetLife’s Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs for 2012.

Ed. note: A previous version of this article listed the nursing home rates as monthly when in fact they are the daily rates.

Written by Alyssa Gerace