The Most and Least Affordable States for Your Aging Parents
Why the state where they live matters
by Nick Di Ulio, Caring.com Feb 21, 2018
Your parents used to be the ones taking care of you, but as they age, you are likely finding that the opposite is now true. Nearly a third of all Americans caring for an aging loved one are looking after their parents, according to a recent Caring.com survey. And as anyone who’s cared for an aging parent will attest, the cost of that care doesn’t come cheap. Whether you’re paying for an in-home care aide, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home, the financial strain of senior care -- not to mention the emotional stress -- can be heavy.
“It hasn’t always been so expensive, but the cost of caring for our parents is so out of control now that it has the capacity to actually bankrupt families,” says Jim Miller, senior advocate, author and publisher of SavvySenior.org. “I think that’s why it’s so important to consider these costs far in advance of needing to provide care so you’re prepared instead of panicked.”
To that end, Caring.com recently conducted a new study examining the overall affordability of growing old in all 50 U.S. states for adults 65 and older. Using 11 different variables—including each state’s cost of living index, the availability of senior health care programs and support for family caregivers, and the average cost of senior care—the result is a comprehensive ranking of every state from most to least affordable.
Taking a multifaceted look at various socio-economic factors, one of the report’s most interesting findings was in the frequent disparity between a state’s average senior care costs and the accessibility of programs for the elderly and their family caregivers.
For instance, Mississippi—which came in as the second-cheapest state for seniors—ranked a dismal 35th for elderly and caregiver support. Conversely, Washington state scored second for elderly and caregiver support services, but 37th for the overall affordability of senior care.
“Sometimes there’s going to be a trade-off,” says Stephan Weiler, professor of economics at Colorado State University's Regional Economic Development Institute. “In a lot of rural areas in the country you’re going to have much cheaper costs, but you’ll probably have to make sacrifices when it comes to accessing medical care and senior facilities. Conversely, vibrant and attractive coastal or urban regions are going to be expensive but also brimming with care options. That’s just the nature of the beast.”
Nonetheless, experts say a study like this can be invaluable in planning for your future caregiving needs, no matter what state you call home.
“For people preparing to care for their parents it’s important to see these cost differences, because it’s a good way for them to get a handle on what’s available in their state and to begin getting a grasp on what their costs will be,” says Jason Biddle, a senior care veteran and publisher of TheHelpingHome.com. “What are we in for? What should we expect? And are we prepared? This is a good place for them to start.”
link … Full Report
- Overall Rank -- 47th
- Cost of Senior Care Rank -- 47th
- Cost of Living Rank -- 50th
- Elderly Support Rank -- 11th
SA: Hawaii ranks as 4th most expensive state for aging parents, study finds