These days everything comes at a price, including living longer. That’s right: living to a ripe old age is going to cost you the allegorical “arm and a leg,” and may even levy a price against your children. Humans may be living longer than ever, thanks to advances in science, medicine, and technology; but, by extending our life span, we have the likelihood of our succumbing to physical or mental afflictions such as Alzheimer’s. In turn, the elderly have to resort to assisted-care facilities and nursing homes to obtain the help they need, which costs money.
The cost for an assisted-care facility has risen over 17% in the last five years, to the point that the average monthly rent for a facility providing help with daily activities is $3,486. Part of the reason for this increase in costs is the adoption of “bundling” by these facilities. Bundling is where the facility charges one price for a number of services lumped together, and, on average, facilities bundle together six to nine services. This means that many residents are paying for services that they do not require.
The average, annual cost for a nursing home nationally is $73,000 a person; in the Western New York area it is over $134,000. The largest increase in costs has occurred in the home-healthcare field, where spending by Medicare beneficiaries rocketed up 129% between 2000 and 2010.