Cost to take care of the elderly

The cost of routine care for the elderly is not covered by Medicare. Medicaid provides nursing homes for the indigent but not for people with assets.

Elder care is truly a Macroeconomic problem. One way or the other, millions of elderly people will need care, either at home or at assisted living/ nursing facilities.

‘We Thought Within a Year, She Would Be Gone.’ When Mom’s Care Costs Over $1 Million.

Caregiving costs are rising as people live longer and their needs increase

By Clare Ansberry, The Wall Street Journal, June 21, 2023

The median net worth of people 75 and older is $254,800, according to the Federal Reserve, which is about the same amount that it would take to cover an estimated cost of nearly 14 months of 24/7 in-home care. Caregiving is becoming more expensive as people are living longer—those 85 to 99 are among the fastest-growing age segments—and have more complicated medical needs.

Payroll was the Carson family’s biggest expense, averaging more than $130,000 annually in the last five years of Violet’s life and peaking at $148,000 in 2020 with overtime costs related to the pandemic, according to family records. There were other costs, totaling more than $50,000, and not covered by Medicare, including a special handicapped-accessible van that cost about $40,000 and $20,000 for a special tub… [end quote]

The human interest subject of this article is a woman with a caring family and a kind, reliable neighbor in a low-cost area of the U.S. The old lady had dementia but lived for 10 years after her husband died, until age 88. Her care cost $1.3 million.

We can be sure that people who live in higher-cost areas and have to get care from agencies will have much more hassle and end up paying much more.

DH and I bought long-term care policies when we were 60. LTC insurance is relatively inexpensive when bought relatively young. The policies have a 3-month exclusion period up-front and max out at 3 years and $250,000.

DH, 70, has moderate COPD (and still smokes). I’m a cancer survivor (69). I figure that if either of us gets so sick that we can’t perform the activities of daily living we won’t last more than 3 years. But the future is murky. The point of the article is that people who have good medical care can live a lot longer than expected. There are new cancer drugs that extend life (and are astronomically expensive).

This is a heads-up for METARs who have aging parents and also for the many METARs who are, ourselves, aging and may need care. Especially ones without children to help.



Medicare won’t take care of you, but Medicaid will if you give away your assets. In the goid old dsys they had a three year look back. You had to last three years after your give aways. I think the requirements now are tougher but have no details.

1 Like

Was consulting with an elder lawyer this afternoon and he indicated that the lookback is 5 years.

And having a revocable trust doesn’t help. Although an irrevocable one can be used but that’s essentially signing over your assets to your beneficiaries anyway.

Personally, I look at Medicaid as a social program for the poor/indigent. So we have people trying to game the system trying to become poor. What a country!


As with every govt program people will try to take advantage of it if they can. Keeping aid going to the intended beneficiaries can be challenging. There are plenty of others out their trying to get around any barriers.

On nursing home costs. You don’t need to outrun the bear, just be wealthier than the other people on the waiting list before you go broke and Medicaid takes over. If you can afford to private pay for 2 or 3 years, that may get you to the top of the waiting list for a high quality home that accepts Medicaid once you go broke.


1 Like

Same is true with insurance. People find out they are pregnant and they rush to buy medical insurance to cover the expenses. The industry fights back by disallowing this coverage for the initial months of the policy unless this policy replaces a similar valid one in which case they do cover it.

The Captain
ex insurance agent