The cost of long-term care such as nursing homes and at-home care continues to climb in Virginia, though assisted living costs are down slightly this year, according to one survey.
An annual cost-of-care survey conducted by Henrico County-based Genworth Financial Inc. shows that costs for care continue to increase nationwide. Costs were up an average of 3 percent from 2017 to 2018, with some care categories exceeding two to three times the 2.1 percent U.S. inflation rate.
Genworth, which sells long-term care insurance, has been publishing an annual report on costs for 15 years. It is intended to be useful as a tool for long-term care planning, said Gordon Saunders, senior brand marketing manager for Genworth.
“It is a benchmark to understand, as I age or as a family member ages, what I can expect the cost is going to be,” Saunders said.
Costs for long-term care have been rising since the study started, ranging from 19 percent to 67 percent.
In Virginia, costs rose from 2017 to 2018 for homemaker services, home health aides, adult day care and nursing home care.
The largest increase was for a private room in a nursing home facility, which rose nearly 7.7 percent in Virginia to a median annual cost of $102,200.
Nationally, costs for a private room in a nursing home rose 3 percent to $100,375.
The one category where costs declined in Virginia from 2017 to 2018 was for assisted living facilities, where costs dropped 1.25 percent to a median of $53,415.
That was still higher than the median national cost of $48,000, though costs rose nationally by almost 6.7 percent from 2017 to 2018.
Costs for home health aides rose about 1.3 percent in Virginia to a median annual cost of $48,048, compared with a national increase of 2.3 percent to $50,336.
The cost of adult day care services rose about 3.1 percent in Virginia to $18,200, compared with a 2.8 percent increase nationally to $18,720.
Several factors are driving up the cost of care across all care options, Saunders said.
A shortage of skilled workers in the industry is one factor.
“The availability of the type of workers to work in these settings is making it challenging,” he said.
The increasing incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia also is requiring more specialized care with higher hourly wages. Aging Americans are generally needing more specialized care as a result of waiting too long to receive professional care.
Nationally, costs for assisted living facilities are rising partly because of higher demand for facilities with better amenities, Saunders said.
Genworth got its data from surveying about 49,000 long-term care providers nationwide.