The annual median cost of care for a private room in a nursing home hit $100,375, marking the biggest increase across all long-term care settings over the last five years.
That’s according to the 15th annual Genworth Cost of Care Survey, which contacted more than 49,000 long-term care providers across the U.S. to complete 15,000 surveys for a range of settings.
The increase in costs at nursing facility level came in at more than 3%, based on the five-year compound average growth rate (CAGR). For a private nursing home room, the five-year CAGR was 3.64%, while for a semi-private room, the figure came in at 3.44%.
“The year-over-year cost of any kind of long-term care is rising quickly, with no sign of slowing down,” Gordon Saunders, senior brand marketing manager at Genworth Financial, said in a statement announcing the survey. “Increasingly, people and their loved ones are finding that the cost of long-term care services is staggering and often they are unaware of it in advance.”
The blended annual median cost of long-term care support services increased an average of 3% from 2017 to 2018, and some of the care categories exceeded the 2.1% U.S. inflation rate by two or three times, according to the release. Assisted living facilities increased the most in cost between 2017 and 2018, clocking in at a 6.67% increase. The increase in cost of a semi-private nursing home room came in second for that time period, at 4.11%.
There are several factors driving up the cost of care, according to Genworth, a Richmond, Va.-based provider of long-term care and life insurance products. Several relate to the workforce, with a shortage of skilled workers, higher minimum wages, and changes in overtime pay rules, as well as the difficulty of attracting and keeping qualified workers.
“As the costs of labor and facilities rise, finding affordable care options becomes much harder for caregivers and families nationwide,” Jennifer Johnson, clinical director of CareScout, which conducts the Cost of Care Survey, said in the release.
The difficulties have led to some unusual steps by companies to try and help out their workers; Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX), for instance, recently launched a benefit that subsidizes senior care services for employees who have caregiving responsibilities.
Written by Maggie Flynn