(CTN News) – According to a new study about out-of-pocket expenses for people with dementia, long-term care costs can easily consume nearly all their income.
University of Washington School of Pharmacy, Georgia State University School of Public Health and University of California San Francisco researchers analyzed data from 4,500 adults aged 70 and older to compare out-of-pocket expenses based on status and care setting.
In assisted living facilities, the median adult with spends 97% of their monthly income on long-term care. Almost 83% of the income of nursing home residents with goes towards long-term care.
American Medical Directors Association published the findings recently. In terms of long-term care funding, dementia stands out for its high cost, said Jalayne Arias.
The cost of care for people with dementia is unmanageable compared to their age-matched peers.
Jing Li, lead author and assistant professor of health economics at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy, pointed out that the new study emphasizes the financial burden care places on individuals and their families rather than highlighting aggregate costs to funders like Medicaid, which is the more common approach.
The median individual with dementia devotes nearly all of their income to long-term care,” Li said. The data confirms what we hear anecdotally, which is concerning.
In non-nursing home residential care, such as assisted living, the average out-of-pocket monthly facility payment was $3,090; in nursing homes, it was $3,849. In non-nursing home residential care, the cost is $2,801, while in nursing homes, it is $2,176.
Over three-quarters of people with hired helpers to assist them with daily living activities like dressing and bathing, as well as laundry, grocery shopping, and other errands. The study found that more than half (56%) of people with dementia paid helpers on average $1,000 per month.
As the number of older Americans increases in the coming years, researchers say their findings can inform policy.
A long-term care insurance program was established in Washington State in 2019 called WA Cares Fund. For a person living in a nursing home or assisted living facility with , the benefits cap at $36,500 adjusted for inflation, which covers just two years of out-of-pocket expenses.
PACE, or the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, provides long-term care services to nursing home-eligible seniors. Most Medicare-only beneficiaries (non-dual eligible) can’t afford it due to its high premium.
The authors suggest that funding home- and community-based care could reduce the financial burden long-term care places on older adults, particularly those with, since nursing homes and assisted living facilities are expensive.