If there’s any doubt about how massive the senior care industry has grown to be, a new report puts a precise number on it. Last year, the senior care market reached a whopping $305 billion.
Demand for all types of long-term care has continued to steadily grow across home care, hospice, nursing and assisted living, health care market research firm Kalorama Information found in its report, “The Long Term Care Market.” The market is expected to continuing growing over the next several years thanks to ever-increasing demand from baby boomers and rising life expectancy.
“Boomers represent[ed] approximately 76 million individuals in the United States in 2015,” Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information, said in a statement. “This enormous group will be making decisions about whether senior living is the right option for their aging loved ones and eventually for themselves.”
Long-term care services vary widely, from help with daily living activities to medical and personal care. Most recipients of long-term care receive services over an extended period of time across four main types of care: nursing, assisted living, home care and hospice.
Demand for long-term care services will likely be driven by women, who have longer a life expectancy and are three times more likely to be widowed later in life, the report noted. By comparison, men are twice as likely to be married and cared for by their spouse.
While demand is anticipated to rise with an estimated two out five Americans needing long-term care at some point during their lives, affordability is an issue, particularly for elderly women who live alone. In 2015, the estimated median household income for householders 65 and older was $32,000, with Social Security payments making up a large portion of this income, the report cited.
Figuring out how to pay for long-term care has become an important issue across the market, with insurance options available to seniors dwindling to just a few. Some companies are taking on the challenge by looking at developing new products for long-term care, but the cost of institutional care may still be an issue for most Americans.
Long-term care services provided by nursing homes cost more than $250 per day for a semi-private room in 2015, a Genworth study revealed. Expenses for basic care at an assisted living facility is also high, more than $3,600 per month last year. Home care costs can range around $20 per hour in many areas, but these expenses can also quickly add up to thousands per month.
Written by Amy Baxter