Shortage of Caregivers Driving Long-Term Care Cost Hike

April 29, 2008 ( - Genworth Financial's annual cost of care research has found that the prices of most long-term care services are rising at a faster rate than inflation.

A press release said Genworth found that by 2050, the nation’s bill for providing long-term care services is expected to top $379 billion. In 2008, the average annual price of a private nursing home room reached $76,460 nationally – more than one and a half times the average annual household income in the U.S. of $48,201, according to the release.

A complement to the Cost of Care Survey entitled “A Workforce to Care for Our Aging” identifies an imminent shortage of caregivers as the driver of increasing long-term care costs. The additional research indicates that by 2030, the number of Americans 65 years and older will double, and the U.S. will need to recruit 200,000 new direct-care workers each year to meet future demand among our aging population.

Genworth found the turnover rate for paraprofessional long-term care workers in the U.S. is 13% to 18% higher than the turnover for the overall labor workforce and 20% higher than that for other service workers.

The key findings of Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey, according to the news release, were:

  • Nursing Homes: The national average annual cost of a private room in a nursing home is $76,460 or $209 per day, a 17% increase over 2004 rates. This remains the most costly option. The most expensive average per day room rate was found in Alaska ($515) and the least expensive average per day room rate was found in Louisiana ($125).
  • Assisted Living Facilities (ALF): A private one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility has an average annual cost of $36,090 in the U.S., a jump of 25 percent since 2004. The most expensive average unit was found in New Jersey ($4,921 per month) and the least expensive average unit was found in Arkansas ($1,981 per month).
  • Home Care: Nationally, the average hourly rate for a non-Medicare certified, state licensed home health aide is $19.18, a cost that translates to $43,884 per year for 44 hours per week of care. That’s only a 4% increase over the hourly rate for a non-Medicare certified home health aide in 2004 of $18.43.
  • Adult Day Health Care: First year research findings indicate the average annual cost across the country for five days a week in an adult day health care facility is $15,236.

Conducted by CareScout between December 2007 and February 2008, the 2008 Cost of Care Survey provides national, state, and local cost information. The survey report and the research paper “A Workforce to Care for Our Aging” are at .