At Lifeline, we’ve talked with thousands of families about preparing for long-term care. Let’s face it – when you’re in your 30s and 40s, you probably don’t give a lot of thought to the care you will receive after age 65. Chances are that unless you have a family member in need of long-term care, you haven’t even thought about home care.

Even if you’re not ready to retire, planning now can help ensure that you and your loved ones have all the help you need in the future.

The first step you can take to get retirement ready is to understand the costs of home care, and what your options may be to pay for needed services.

Understanding the Costs of Non-Medical Home Care

MetLife and Genworth Financial have conducted multi-year studies on the costs of non-medical home care and how it compares to the cost of placement and care in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. The studies also provide useful information on the average hour rates for caregivers. This information may help you understand the typical costs for non-medical home care and help you plan for care now or in the future.

The national average hourly rate for homemaker/companions was $20 in 2012, according to the 2012 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services and Home Care Costs.  Other resources list the hourly cost between $15 and $25 depending on where you live.

If you’re weighing the pros and cons of in-home care and continuing care (assisted living, nursing home), consider the results of a 2014 survey published by Genworth Financial.

– Nursing homes average $240 dollars per day for a private room; $212 for a semi private room
– Assisted living facilities (typically include at least two meals per day, housekeeping, and personal care assistance, for a one-bedroom apartment or private rooms with private baths in assisted living communities) average $3,500 per month.
– In-home care averages $20 per hour for health aides; $19 per hour for homemaker/companion.

In-home care can be a lower cost solution to assisted living depending on the kind of care you need, and how many daily hours of care are needed.

We encourage you to explore and compare home care costs to other types of care using one of these resources:

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information
The Federal Long-Term Care Insurance Program
2014 Genworth Financial Cost of Care Across America Tool
2013 John Hancock Cost of Care Survey Results

Knowing what your options are for long-term care is the first step to making sure your future is safe, secure and happy.  Then, you can effectively work with your financial advisor on a plan that includes saving for care in retirement.