Cost of Home Care Up 4.7 Percent in Alabama

Dreamstime // Pop Nukoonrat

The cost for in-home care in Alabama remains well below the national average but is rising much faster than the cost for nursing home care.

The statistics come from Genworth Financial, an insurance holding company that surveys costs of care each year.

Alabama’s average cost for homemaker services like cooking, cleaning and running errands, is the lowest for any state but is up 4.7 percent in the last 12 months. The cost for a home health aide ranks 49th but is up 5.88 percent.

The costs of assisted living and nursing home care, also among the lowest in the nation, have risen less than 2 percent in the same period.

In Alabama, annual cost for a home health aide averages $41,184, compared to $52,624 around the country.  Cost for a semi-private room in a nursing home — a cost where Alabama ranks 43rd — is $76,650, compared to $90,155 around the country.

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Rising costs reflect a shortage of skilled workers, costs of compliance with new regulations and wage laws, and a shift in post-acute Medicare reimbursement, which sends patients out of the hospital sooner.

“Aging in place has always been a popular choice, but now the costs of that care are really starting to reflect the mismatch between the supply of care workers and demand for their services as the population ages,” said Gordon Saunders, senior brand marketing manager for Genworth and manager of the firm’s Cost of Care Survey.

Not surprisingly, his advice is for families to start planning for these costs well in advance.

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