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Northwestern Mutual Unveils New Data on Long-Term Care Costs Across the Nation

Milwaukee, January 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Northwestern Mutual’s latest Cost of Long-Term Care study, released today, reveals consistently high costs for home health care, assisted living and nursing home care across the nation, underscoring the critical need to address long-term care as part of financial security planning.

Further complicating the issue, America is getting older. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are now more Americans over the age of 65 than any other age group, and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services statistics show that people reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 18.6 years (19.8 years for females and 17.1 years for males).1

“What’s interesting is that most people realize they will need care, and yet by their own admission they’re not sure how they plan for it,” said Steve Sperka, Northwestern Mutual vice president of long-term care. “The first step is very simple. Sit down with a trusted advisor to coordinate a financial plan that addresses this risk. By addressing these questions early on, you put yourself in the driver’s seat when it comes to difficult decisions down the road.”

While costs vary widely based on location and type of care, the study shows that the national average daily rate for a single occupancy, private nursing home room is $246.06 per day, or almost $90,000 for one year of care. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the average length of stay in a nursing home is 2.4 years, which equates to more than $215,000 in care alone.

Other highlights from the 2011 Cost of Long-Term Care study include:

  • Assisted Living Facilities: The National average monthly rate for a private, single occupancy room in an Assisted Living Facility in the U.S. is $3,372.41 per month. The National average monthly rate for a shared room in an Assisted Living Facility is $2,592.40 per month.
  • Home Healthcare: The National average hourly rate for Home Health Aides provided by a certified Home Healthcare Agency is $20.65 per hour. The National average hourly rate for Home Health Aides provided by a non-certified Home Healthcare Agency is $23.98 per hour.
  • Long term care costs vary considerably across the country. For example, the national average for the monthly rate for a private, single occupancy room in an Assisted Living Facility is $3,372.41 per month. Comparatively, in Washington, DC, Virginia and Maryland the cost for this same care is just over $6,600 per month and in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, an individual would pay just $1,200 per month.

“While costs vary greatly from region to region the need for long-term care planning does not,” continued Sperka. “The data is sobering, and doesn’t even include the added expenses of medical equipment, transportation, drugs and other hidden costs. Relative to other financial commitments in retirement, long-term care costs are disproportionately high and people need to think ahead to lessen the financial and emotional impact.”

Former broadcast journalist Meryl Comer knows what it means to be a caregiver to her husband, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s 17 years ago. She shared her personal story with Northwestern Mutual in this video.

Resources for Long Term Planning
Northwestern Mutual has a range of resources to help individuals think about and plan for long-term care needs:

About the Research
From August through November 2011, the Long Term Care Group, Inc. conducted customized Cost of Care research on behalf of Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company of nearly 4,400 assisted living facilities, nursing homes and home health care providers in specific regions of the United States.

About Northwestern Mutual
The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company – Milwaukee, WI (Northwestern Mutual) has helped clients achieve financial security for more than 150 years. As a mutual company with $1.2 trillion of life insurance protection in force, Northwestern Mutual shares, where possible, its gains with policyowners and delivers consistent and dependable value to clients over time. Northwestern Mutual and its subsidiaries offer a holistic approach to financial security solutions including: life insurance, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, annuities, investment products, and advisory products and services. Subsidiaries include Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC, broker-dealer, registered investment advisor, member FINRA and SIPC; the Northwestern Mutual Wealth Management Company, limited purpose federal savings bank; and Northwestern Long Term Care Insurance Company; and Russell Investments. Further information can be found at


1“A Profile of Older Americans: 2009” Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

For further information, contact:
Meredyth Naramore