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More Assisted Living Facilities: MetLife Mature Market Institute Study

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61% Of Assisted Living Facilities Provide Dementia Care, Half At Extra Cost

36% Of Nursing Homes Have Seperate Dementia Units, Few Charge Extra

Westport, CT -- February 6, 2006 -- A survey by the MetLife Mature Market Institute® shows that 61% of assisted living facilities in the U.S. provide specialized care for those suffering from dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease, with fully 50% charging extra for the service. Of those with additional costs, rates ranged considerably, from $50 to $3,000 per month with the majority reporting additional costs of up to $1,000 per month.

Of nursing homes surveyed, 36% had separate dementia units and 80% charged no additional fees. Of those with special units, fees ranged from $10 to $25 per day.

The findings also indicated that 71% of agencies offering home health aide services provided their staff with training specific to caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or a similar disorder.

The study is part of MetLife’s research and education efforts about Alzheimer’s disease and healthy aging.

"Care for those with Alzheimer’s disease is an increasing concern for families as the population ages," said Sandra Timmermann, Ed.D, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute. "This new research contributes to our previous findings indicating that many assisted living facilities, nursing homes and home care agencies are addressing Alzheimer’s care through specialized services, staff training and the creation of living units designed specifically for those who have Alzheimer’s disease. And the number of facilities providing dementia care is bound to grow in the years ahead.

"The financial impact of Alzheimer’s disease can be staggering, as well. According to our annual market surveys of nursing homes and assisted living facilities, the overall cost of long-term care is increasing each year at rates greater than inflation," said Timmermann. "Because individuals with Alzheimer’s may live from 8 to 10 years and even up to 20 years with the disease, families may need to pay for care over a long period of time. While we found that many facilities do not charge extra for Alzheimer’s care, or charge only small additional fees, the generally high cost of long-term care, the duration of the disease and the hidden costs associated with the need for 24-hour supervision can lead to very high expenditures over time."

The average price in 2005 for a private room in a nursing home in the U.S. was $74,095 annually and $34,860 for an assisted living facility, according to the Mature Market Institute. For care received through a home care agency in 2005, the national average for home health aide service was $19 per hour, $17 for homemaker or companion services, also according to the Institute. Assisted living costs increased 15% from 2004 to 2005 while nursing home costs rose 5.7%; home health care aide costs were up 5.5% over the same period.

Alzheimer’s disease, first diagnosed by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906, is a progressive, degenerative disease that attacks the thought, memory and language parts of the brain, and results in permanent loss of mental capabilities.

The Alzheimer’s Association and the National Institute on Aging estimate that the national direct and indirect annual costs of caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease are at least $100 billion. It has also been estimated that Alzheimer’s disease costs American business $61 billion a year, according to a report commissioned by the Alzheimer’s Association. Of that figure, $24.6 billion covers Alzheimer health care and $36.5 billion covers costs related to caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s, including lost productivity, absenteeism, and worker replacement.

The data regarding additional costs for dementia patients at assisted living facilities and nursing homes was part of additional questioning posed for the 2005 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home & Home Care Costs and the 2005 MetLife Market Survey of Assisted Living Costs. The studies were conducted for the MetLife Mature Market Institute® by LifePlans, Inc., a risk management consulting firm providing data analysis and information. The 87 geographic areas surveyed within the 50 states and the District of Columbia were chosen on the basis of population to obtain a reasonably balanced sampling.

The MetLife Mature Market Institute is MetLife’s information and policy resource center on issues related to aging, retirement, long-term care and the mature market. The Institute, staffed by gerontologists, provides research, training and education, consultation and information to support MetLife, its corporate customers and business partners.

MetLife, a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET) is a leading provider of insurance and other financial services to millions of individual and institutional customers throughout the United States. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. offers life insurance, annuities, automobile and homeowner’s insurance and retail banking services to individuals, as well as group insurance, reinsurance and retirement and savings products and services to corporations and other institutions. Outside the U.S., the MetLife companies have direct insurance operations in Asia Pacific, Latin America and Europe.

For more information related to caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease, or if you need assistance in identifying resources, you can obtain the Since You Care Guide: Alzheimer’s Disease -- Caregiving Challenges, which was produced by the MetLife Mature Market Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving. It is one in a series of guides specifically written to assist individuals in need of long-term care and the families who are caring for them. The guide includes a listing of Web sites, books, and other resources related to Alzheimer’s disease.

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