Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture released results of a study that found the cost of raising a child to the age of 18 is approximately $233,610. While that number may seem astronomical to some, the cost of taking care of an elderly parent or loved one regularly exceeds that of raising a child. The reason is often because while the government provides a broad range of assistance and free services for children, it offers only limited benefits for those needing long-term supports and services. And even in those cases, the services are often only for the elderly who are very ill and impoverished.
The costs for an elderly individual to receive quality assistance have proven burdensome. For instance, the cost of receiving non-medical home care from an aide averages $22 an hour. Services provided by non-medical home care aides include helping with the activities of daily living such as walking, bathing and toileting as well as personal hygiene and some laundry and cooking. These aides typically visit the home several times a week, with visits lasting anywhere from 4-8 hours but can be 24/7.
Nursing homes are also an option in caring for the elderly. In a nursing home, care is provided by licensed health care professionals and often includes all housekeeping, medical, and social needs for the individual. Nationally, the average cost of a shared room in a nursing home is $220 a day. In New York, the cost can be more than $600 a day.
Due to of the growing costs of receiving quality care, often families make the decision to have their aging parents or loved ones live with them. In that case, the out-of-pocket expenses of family members increases. On average, families spend $140,000 nationally over a four-year period in caring for an elder.
In caring for children, there are tax credits such as Earned Income Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) that are available to offset the cost of raising children. When it comes to health care, there are additional services such as the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) that helps provide families the funding necessary to raise their children. However, the same programs are not available to caring for the elderly. While elderly individuals may plan in advance to qualify for Medicaid long-term care, some do not, and therefore the out-of-pocket expenses can become overwhelming.
If you are a family member caring for an elderly individual, or would like to plan for the future, visiting an attorney skilled in the area of elder law can help you plan in advance or even in a crisis and therefore ease the burden of long-term care. At Tully Law, P.C. we understand that funding the long-term care of a loved one can be difficult. The New York elder care and estate planning lawyers at our firm will assist you in developing a comprehensive estate plan that protects your rights and assets, including the development of important legal documents, as well as Medicaid applications to cover costs of long-term care. For more information, call (631) 424-2800.