AARP Highlights Continued Lack of Affordable Senior Living Options

The cost of long-term services and supports is high, and senior living is still not attainable for most older adults or their families.

The most recent example of the high cost of care is courtesy of a new report from the AARP Public Policy Institute. The 24th annual report, titled “Across the States 2018: Profiles of Long-Term Services and Supports,” includes state and national data from a large number of studies and data sources.

In 2017, the national base price for assisted living was $45,000, according to the report, which draws from the annual Cost of Care Survey from insurer Genworth Financial (NYSE: GNW). The median annual cost of a nursing facility was $97,455 for a private room and $87,600 for a shared room; and the median annual cost for home health care was roughly $33,540.

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Simply put, the cost of many long-term services and supports are still out of reach to many older adults and their loved ones across all states, the report noted.

“Although the cost of care varies greatly across the states, [long-term services and support] — especially nursing facility care — is unaffordable for most middle-income families,” the report’s authors explained.

Across the States 2018: Profiles of Long-Term Services and Supports

Medicaid will cover nursing facility care once an individual has spent down their assets. However, this option is not always available for assisted living settings, which are predominantly private-pay in nature. At the same time, the number of available assisted living units varies widely throughout the U.S., from a high of 121 units per 1,000 people age 75 years or older in Oregon to a low of just 20 units for the same age group in Louisiana.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t potential fixes coming down the pike, though. Recent policy changes mean that Medicare Advantage (MA) plans could start to cover more senior living services in the years ahead, Senior Housing News has recently reported. And the senior living industry has long pondered how it could offer middle-market pricing to older adults, with ideas ranging from focusing on value and changing design convictions to creating a whole new property type that lies somewhere between active adult and independent living.

Read the full AARP Public Policy report here.

Written by Tim Regan

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