Nursing Home Stays Deplete Seniors’ Assets

June 15, 2012 ( – There are large differences in wealth levels between seniors who enter a nursing home and those who do not.

Research from the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) found after respondents’ first entries into a nursing home, total household wealth fell steadily over a six-year period.   

For those who lived in a nursing home for six months or more, the median total household wealth was only $5,518. Median wealth falls to zero within six years after the initial nursing home entry.  

For those who experienced nursing home stays, purchase of long-term care insurance increased steadily over the last decade, but coverage remains low (14% in 2010).  

“Seniors face a number of retirement planning uncertainties like longevity risk, inflation risk, and investment risk, but perhaps none as critical to their retirement security as health risk,” EBRI said.  

The full report is published in the June 2012 EBRI Issue Brief, “Effects of Nursing Home Stays on Household Portfolios,” at