The costs of care in New Jersey for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult day care are among the highest in the nation

I recently read two interesting articles and a study on the ever-increasing costs of long-term care, both in the nation and New Jersey. The articles are found in the Houston-Chronicle and the Star-Ledger, while the study, in which researchers examined data from more than 10,000 nursing homes, assisted living facilities and in-home care providers nationwide. was released by Genworth Financial.

The study found that, in the nation, private rooms in a nursing home this year on average cost $76,460 annually, or $209 daily, a 17% increase from $65,185 in 2004. In addition, the study found that assisted living facilities this year on average cost $36,090 annually, a 25% increase from $28,763 in 2004. The study also found that Medicare-certified home health aides this year on average cost $38 per hour and that the cost has increased by 7% annually over the past four years. Non-Medicare certified in-home care providers this year on average cost $18 per hour for homemaker services and $19 per hour for home health aide services, about the same as in 2004.

However, the costs of long-term care in New Jersey were found to be substantially higher than the national average. The study showed that the annual cost of a year’s stay in a private nursing home in the 12 northernmost counties of New Jersey is $105,779. Overall, the annual cost of nursing home care in New Jersey has increased 9 percent since 2004, with those in the Newark/Edison area being the fourth most expensive in the nation, averaging $129,570 a year. For assisted living facilities, New Jersey residents pay more than $50,000 for a year’s stay in a private, one-bedroom unit. Adult day care is also higher in New Jersey, costing an average of $21,000 a year for five days a week of care. Home care turns out to be the only area of the survey where costs in New Jersey were pretty much on par with the rest of the nation. The $19.33 hourly rate for a home health aide in the suburbs surrounding New York City was comparable to the national hourly rate of $19.18. On an annual basis, the cost equates to $44,227 per year in New Jersey, compared to a national average of $43,884 for 44 hours of care per week.

Buck Stinson, president of the long-term care insurance business at Genworth, said the study indicates that the “expense of just a few years of long-term care in a facility or at home can very quickly wipe out a lifetime of savings.” He added that baby boomers “need to do more thinking about their own retirement plan and how they’re going to age.”

A companion study released by Genworth found that low wages and benefits, as well as a lack of training and career-advancement potential, have led to problems with recruitment and retention of employees in the elder care industry.