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The cost of growing old

Staff Writer

Staff Artist

As we live longer, the cost of long-term care home care, assisted living and skilled-nursing care will increase. While Texans can expect to pay less than the national average, it will still be expensive.

Cost of assisted living by state

In the last decade, there has been an explosion in the number of assisted-living facilities in Dallas and nationally. Assistance levels vary. And they arent cheap. The average monthly rate at assisted living facilities is slightly lower in Dallas and Texas than the U.S. average.

Senior population
As the baby-boomer generation grows older, the average life expectancy also increases. This inates the number of people who may need long-term care. U.S. life expectancy in years
100 80 60 40 20 0 40 50 60 70 80 90 00 08

Under $3,000




Over $4,500



Decrease in nursing home residents

The number of people living in nursing homes nationwide has dropped in the last decade as other services such as home health care and assisted living have become more readily available.

Texas: $3,282 Low: Arkansas $2,218

High: D.C. $5,757

1.72 million

1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 2000

1.5 million


Nursing home costs

Daily rates for private nursing homes are more affordable in Texas than the U.S. average. Average cost of a private room:

Home health aides*

The hourly cost of hiring a home health aide varies nationally. Once again, Dallas and Texas rates are lower than the national average.

Adult day care

Centers in Texas cost much less per day than the national average and less than half that in many states.

<$200 $201250


$301- >$350 350



Minn. $29





Vt. $148

D.C. Alaska $655 Texas $188 La. $145 Texas $18 Ark. $16



Texas $40

*Home health aides provide hands-on assistance to people who need help with such things as bathing, dressing and eating.
SOURCES: Metlife; U.S. Census Bureau; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The bottom line

Who should consider a long-term care insurance policy? Not the wealthy. Not those of modest means who qualify for Medicaid. But you should consider a policy if you are in between and paying long-term care expenses would impoverish your spouse. People are staying in assisted living for a lot longer. Its a lot less institutional than nursing homes, so the appearance is better. It smells nicer, there are more cool things going on. Its a rare nursing home that will have a live band come in every week. Kay Paggi, geriatric care manager and elder care consultant, Aging Care Solutions Many believe Medicare covers long-term care, but generally, it doesnt. You must meet certain conditions for Medicare to pay for these types of care. Look at your nances, your health and whether your family has a long life expectancy. Pamela Yip, personal nance writer, The Dallas Morning News

Thomas Murphy, certied nancial planner, Murphy & Sylvest LLC