More Than Half of Americans Will Need Nursing Home Care: Study

More than half of Americans will find themselves in a nursing home at some point in their lives, a new study shows. This eclipses the 35 percent estimate used by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

nursing home

Nursing Home Care Popularity, Why?

An aging population and earlier discharges from hospitals to nursing homes for rehabilitation are increasing nursing home occupancy rates. In addition, higher incidences of dementia also contribute to the higher rates.


Most Americans will be able to afford brief nursing home care with out-of-pocket costs of about $7,300, the study found. About one-third of adults between 57 and 61 will spend money on nursing home care. And only 43 percent will have their care completely covered by private or public insurance. Furthermore, the average stay was 272 nights, and for 10 percent their stay was approximately 1,000 nights.

Cost increased dramatically for the 5 percent of older adults who needed longer stays. Their out of-pocket costs were $47,000 and higher.

Most noteworthy, nursing home stays of 21 nights or less rose from 28 percent in 1998 to nearly 34 percent in 2010. It seems that this increase may be due to efforts to control Medicare and Medicaid costs by discharging patients from hospitals to nursing homes, where rehabilitation costs are lower.

Nursing Home Care Covered By Insurance

Insurance to cover nursing home costs is not widespread.

Only 12 percent of people in their early 60s use long-term care insurance. This is due to the uncertainty as to what the policy will actually cover. Consequently, Medicaid appears to be the better option for now.

Moreover, costs can also be dramatically cut if children can and are willing to provide in-home care. Savings of 38% are possible.

How To Choose A Nursing Home

Visit facilities in advance, ask questions, and in particular ask about the number of staff available to provide care. Observe the interactions between staff and residents as it provides a clearer picture of nursing home life.

Finally, the best way to reduce the need for a nursing home is to live a healthy lifestyle. Consequently, you reduce chronic diseases that can require nursing home care.

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