Grand Rapids Is Costliest City For Nursing Home Care


    While the values of homes and investment portfolios have fallen greatly, the baby boom generation in the state is also facing rising costs for long-term care at a rate higher than the national average.

    And Grand Rapids was the costliest city for a year’s stay at a nursing home among the Michigan markets surveyed in April by Genworth Financial, an insurance firm that offers long-term coverage and surveys the cost of care each year.

    The annual average cost for a private room in a nursing home nationwide was $74,208, a figure that marked an increase of 4 percent from 2005.

    Genworth Financial reported that hike reflected a growth rate nearly twice that of the median annual inflation rate of 2.3 percent over the same period of time, when the nursing home increase was compared to the core Consumer Price Index compiled by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The core index doesn’t include food and fuel prices.

    In Grand Rapids, the study found the same charge was $87,053, or almost $13,000 more a year than the national average. The new rate represented a 6 percent increase from 2005. A semi-private room in the local market averaged $78,689, also a 6 percent rise from 2005.

    A private room was cheaper at nursing homes in other Michigan cities.

    For example, the annual average cost was $67,525 in Benton Harbor, $73,000 in Detroit, $74,825 in the Lansing area and $83,038 in Kalamazoo. The cost for a semi-private room in Kalamazoo was $72,270, more than $6,000 a year less than in Grand Rapids.

    “Many Michigan residents who had planned to tap their hard-earned nest egg to cover future long-term care costs are finding this may no longer be a viable option, given the economic downturn,” said Buck Stinson, president of insurance products at Genworth Financial.

    “Two-thirds of people over age 65 will need long-term care in their lifetimes,” he added.

    As for assisted living, the national average annual cost for a one-bedroom apartment was $33,903, which marked a 5 percent increase over the past five years. That cost was slightly lower in Grand Rapids at $33,600, a 4 percent rise over the same timeframe. The same charge was $32,400 in Detroit, $30,000 in the Lansing area and just $21,600 in Kalamazoo.

    The Genworth Financial 2009 Cost of Care Survey covered more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted-living facilities in 331 regions in the U.S. and eight in Michigan. The survey was conducted in January, February and March.  HQ

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