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Another Inflation Stress: Rising Costs of Senior-Living Homes Strain Families
Inflation is fueling cost increases at nursing homes and assisted-living and independent-living facilities, which is tough for seniors on fixed incomes.
Eldercare facilities are raising prices and adding new fees, straining older Americans and their families who step in to help.
Dan Gallo recently received a letter saying a new inflation-related daily fee of $25 will be added to his 92-year-old mother’s bill at Sunrise Senior Living for the remainder of the year.
“How many seniors can afford an immediate $750 a month additional to their monthly fixed budget?” says Mr. Gallo, whose mother, Vera Gallo, has dementia and lives in a Sunrise memory-care unit in Wheaton, Ill.
Dan Gallo visits his mother frequently and says her caregivers are wonderful, but he is concerned about rising rates and fees.
The new fee, announced in a letter he received in late August and effective Sept. 15, comes on top of a 10.2% increase in this year’s monthly bill for his mother’s care, he says, and another 9.7% rise slated for 2023.
Rates at many long-term-care providers, which include nursing homes and assisted-living and independent-living facilities, surged this year as providers dealt with higher costs of food, utilities, insurance, wages and supplies for managing and preventing Covid-19. The increases varied by region and type of care, but in some cases exceeded 10%, above recent annual rises of 3% to 5%, according to family members and service providers, who themselves have seen costs rise by double digits.
One recent study concluded that by 2033, more than 11 million middle-income seniors age 75 and older might not be able to pay for assisted living and are also unlikely to qualify for Medicaid, according to the research organization NORC at the University of Chicago. That would leave them more dependent on family, care experts say.
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