Affording Long-Term Care at Home

By Katie Gilbert

Is your loved one approaching an age where long-term care may be on the horizon? Or have they recently been diagnosed with an illnesses or injury that could require extensive care? We know that both of these events can be overwhelming for many. To help you prepare for long-term care it can be essential to plan ahead. To help, you can begin by learning about the different ways to afford any long-term care services you or your family decide on.

Costs of Long-Term Care

Long-term care is a range of services to fit the needs of a senior. In other words, it means that someone simply isn't able to take care of themselves anymore. Think bathing independently, driving on your own, cooking eggs in the morning, or going out to get the newspaper from the porch. These tasks seem routine, but for someone who has developed a chronic medical condition, these tasks can become impossible. This is why families and their loved one needs to be able to understand some key facts about long-term care.

There are many options for long-term care. You may consider home care, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living centers, adult day care services, or independent living communities. However, this care can be costly.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reports that in 2010, the average costs of care were:

  • Semi-private room in a nursing home: $205 dollars a day

  • Private room in a nursing home: $229 dollars a day

  • Assisted living facility: $4,293 dollars a month

  • Home health aide: $21 dollars an hour

  • Homemaker services: $19 dollars an hour

  • Adult day health care center: $67 dollars a day

It's also important to factor in the age, gender, and overall health of a senior. Women will need care for longer than men. The average amount of care they will receive will last 3.7 years, while the average length of care for men is about 2.2 years. When it comes to age, 70% of those over 65 will need long-term care at some point in their lives

By planning ahead on how you will begin to afford long-term care you can help create a sense a peace of mind that when the time for long-term care approaches, you will be prepared. This can be a tremendous help to make the transition smooth for you or an aging loved when the time comes for senior care.

Paying for Long-Term Care

To help budget for long-term care, you can consider these 5 payment options.


Medicare is a short-term option that will help pay for a portion of the costs of skilled nursing care for up to 100 days. It focuses on medical acute care and conditions that are expected to improve. The type of care that Medicare will cover includes care by a specialist or facility upon referral by a primary physician for severe injuries, episodes of illness, urgent medical conditions, or recovery from a surgery. Medicare will help cover care for those over the age of 65 with certain disabilities and people of all ages with end-stage renal disease

Learn more about what Medicare will and will not cover in our blog post: Turning 65: What You Need to Know About Medicare & Long-Term Care.


Medicaid will help those with low incomes and minimal assets pay for their long-term care at home. In the same vein as Medicare, you have to qualify for help from Medicaid. You must have limited assets or income, be 65-years or older, or have a disability.


Life insurance is a policy you can buy that will provide a benefit amount upon death. If you need long-term care, some policies allow you to cash in on the benefit at a reduced amount. The process is called receiving your accelerated death benefits. The advance is available for those with terminal illnesses, a life-threatening diagnosis, or long-term care services for an extended period of time Life Insurance. If you decide that you no longer want your life insurance, you may alternatively sell your policy to an investor to pay for long-term care.

Reverse Mortgage

If you are over 62-years-old you can take out a reverse mortgage. Taking out a reverse mortgage sounds pretty terrible, we know, but reverse mortgages allow you to obtain cash against the value of your home without selling it or giving up ownership and the title. Instead, the amount you owe is due when you or the last borrower dies, sells, or permanently moves out of the home. The only requirement is that your home has to be your place of permanent residence.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance is an option that will reimburse you a daily amount for long-term care services. Then you will be able to choose a range of care options and benefits that will help you receive care. Qualification for long-term care insurance largely depends on the company selling you the policy. Some will disqualify those already receiving long-term care services, those with certain disabilities, or those with pre-existing conditions

Remember, the cost of long-term care will depend on which senior care option that your or your family chooses. To help, it can beneficial to discuss these options with a financial adviser or sit down with your family to further discuss your long-term care options.

For more information and resources on long-term care, refer to our Quick and Easy Guide to Long-Term Care. For more information, reach out to your local Caring office.

Quick and easy guide to long-term care - Download Now

Tags: Long-Term Care