How much does long-term care cost?

Average annual costs for long term care vary widely, depending on geography and the type of care received. The monthly base rate for Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) averaged $3,100 in 2009.1 However, only a limited number of services are included in that based rate. For example, the average annual cost of ALF care for Alzheimer’s or dementia was $53,200.2 Skilled nursing care ranged from $48,900 (in Louisiana) to $213,200 (in Alaska) annually, with a nationwide average of $79,900.3 The map below shows average costs of care in 2009.4

Home- and community-based care costs also vary depending on the type and frequency of care required. The MetLife Mature Market Institute found that the average hourly cost of home health care aides ranges from a low of $13 per hour in Shreveport, LA ($14 per hour in Jackson, MS and Birmingham, AL) to a high of $25 per hour in Phoenix, AZ, Rochester, MN, and Madison WI.5 At this rate, as little as 20 hours of assistance each week could cost from $13,500 to $26,000. (A study by the National Alliance for Caregiving found that on average, family caregivers provide 19 hours of care per week.6)


1 “The MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home and Assisted Living Costs,” October, 2009, (Westport, CT: MetLife MatureMarket Institute),25. Internet, January 4, 2010. Available:
2 Ibid, 9.
3 Ibid, 14-19. Cost is statewide average cost of a private room in a skilled nursing facility.
4 Ibid, 14-19.
5 Ibid, 26-31.
6 “Caregiving in the U.S. 2009,” (n.p.: National Alliance for Caregiving in collaboration with AARP, November 2009), 5. Internet, August 17, 2010. Available: