The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that total expenditures for long-term care services for the elderly in 2004 - excluding the value of donated care - totalled about $135 billion, or roughly $15,000 per impaired senior.
Despite the amount of money currently spent on long-term care, the vast majority of long-term care is provided by family and friends; more specifically, women and daughters.
In 2004, the average cost of long-term care provided by a nursing home in the United States was $70,000 per year. This cost is expected to rise by 5% every year. So if you are 50 years old now, by the time you are 80, you can expect to pay up to $260,000 per year for the long-term care you stand a 50% chance of needing at some point in your life.
And while more desirable forms of long-term care such as home-based care, or care in an assisted living facility can be less expensive, they are generally not available once your own assets are exhausted.