Hi! I have the same decision making problem as a lot of others here on this forum.
Right now I am doing a prerequ. course at VCC in (Community!) and it is tough but great! I love it. There is going to be a lot of changes in the LPN program in the future and it may be wise for you to look into this.
I have looked at some of the private colleges and like you, I am in my 40's as well and time doesn't seem to be working for us. Same as you, I don't want to spend 4 years of schooling (and that doesn't account for any upgrading prereques. to get into this) and would be very happy being an LPN.
The waitlist at VCC is long but there is a very good reason for it. It is a quality school and worth the wait. I love it there even though it is an extremely far distance for me to go. Check this out and compare it with private schools. I have been tempted by private schools but with all the change in the wind for the scope of practice, you will be paying more to upgrade and those private schools may not offer the upgrading and in turn, the public schools may not acknowlege any creditation from a private school. Something to keep in mind or ask when you are hunting for a college. Don't go by their word, get it in writing. They can tell you whatever they want to make you happy, but in the long run, it may be wise for you to stick with public.
You say you are 48 yo but you will be more every year anyway just like the rest of us!! Don't worry about that part but I know when you want to get on with it, you just want to for sure!!!! I am in the same boat as you but please do your research and do it well!! You don't want to waste your time and money if you have to upgrade and you can't.
Happy trails with your research and let us know her what you choose. I too have been thinking of the care aide as I can't wait to help people out and love the environment of the hospital setting.