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Survey shows cost of long-term care in PA

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Each year Genworth surveys long-term care providers in 440 regions nationwide to determine the cost of various services. This year it received over 15,000 completed surveys. The resulting information can help consumers anticipate and plan for the high cost of care in their preferred location and care setting.

This week Genworth issued its survey report for 2015.

What is Long-Term Care

Long-term care refers to the types of assistance you need if you have a prolonged physical illness, disability or severe cognitive impairment (such as Alzheimer’s disease) and require ongoing support. These limitations may prevent you from carrying out basic self-care tasks, such as bathing, dressing or eating, which are called “Activities of Daily Living” (ADLs). And you may need assistance with “Instrumental Activities of Daily Living” (IADLs), including meal preparation, money management, house cleaning, medication management, and transportation.

The support may be provided in various settings including the care recipient’s home, a personal care facility, or a nursing home. The care required can range from only limited in-home support all the way to 24 hour care provided by professional nurses and trained staff in licensed nursing facilities. About 70 percent of people age 65 or older will need some long-term care services and supports at some point in their lifetime.

Initially long-term care support may be provided by uncompensated family members. But a loved one’s care needs can easily overwhelm family caregivers and additional paid support is required. Unfortunately, the costs of paid long-term care services and supports are typically not covered by Medicare or other health insurance. They can easily bankrupt the recipient and destroy a family’s financial security.

The Genworth survey provides both national and local cost of care information that can help families understand, prepare for, and perhaps limit the potentially catastrophic financial impacts of long-term care.

Care Costs for the Williamsport and Scranton Areas

Long-term care is provided in a variety of settings. Costs vary by setting and by geographic location. The Genworth survey provides a list of costs for several types of services in various settings and localities in each state.

In Pennsylvania, Williamsport and Scranton/Wilkes-Barre are placed in separate regions and the average costs of similar services do vary somewhat between those regions. The median annual costs for various support services in the Williamsport and the Scranton areas are as follows:

Homemaker Services (based on 44 hours per week)
$45,646 Williamsport
$43,472 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Home Health Aide Services (based on 44 hours per week)
$45,646  Williamsport
$45,760  Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Assisted Living Facility (based on 12 months, private, one bedroom)
$45,870 Williamsport
$36,000 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Nursing Home (semi-private room) (based on 365 days of care)
$89,973 Williamsport
$100,367   Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

Nursing Home (private room) (based on 365 days of care)
$122,275 Williamsport
$102,200   Scranton/Wilkes-Barre

The above costs are staggering. Fortunately, there are a few programs including Medicaid and Veterans Benefits (for veterans and their spouses) that can often help.

Planning, preparation, and expert assistance are critically important. Pennsylvania residents can meet with an experienced elder law attorney at Marshall, Parker and Weber to set up a plan that will help you find the most appropriate care and pay for it without bankrupting your family.

In addition, Marshall, Parker and Weber offers care management services that help families get the long-term care information and support needed to best manage health and personal care issues. Our care managers can help you ensure that your loved one will get the best possible care whether at home or another location. And they can help relieve the enormous burdens and stress you face in being a caregiver.

Contact our care managers Karen Griswold (Williamsport/State College Area) and Kelsey Pazanski Wargo (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Area) for more information on how professional care planning can benefit your family. You can call them at 1-800-401-4552.