The cost of assisted living can be incredibly overwhelming for many families, so it’s helpful to start preparing before your loved one needs to go into care. The costs of this service vary throughout the United States, and many studies have been done that give an overview of what these services cost. Knowing what you can expect to pay before you start searching for an assisted living facility or caregiver can help you start to budget. In this article, we’ll cover nationwide assisted living costs for seniors in detail based on actual move-ins into assisted living facilities.
Before you start looking into assisted living, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different types of care offered and the terms you will encounter when looking for an assisted living facility. Assisted living is defined as a form of senior care where seniors receive help with their daily tasks, but do not receive medical care. The range of services offered in senior care vary widely, but often include things like help with personal grooming, cooking and cleaning services, and help walking and exercising. Although providers cannot offer medical care, they can help seniors stay healthy proactively by taking them to doctor’s appointments, reminding them to take medication, and helping them keep track of what they eat and how much they exercise.
There are a few different types of assisted living. Assisted living facilities generally resemble retirement communities in that every senior has their own suite, but care is offered daily if it is needed. Some assisted living facilities offer luxury amenities, such as spas and entertainment facilities. It’s also very common for assisted living to offer specialized dementia care services. These are services that are catered specifically to seniors who have memory issues. Finally, a big trend in senior living in recent years is board and care facilities. These are residential facilities where seniors receive assisted living style care, but they live in a house or condo, and caregivers live on site. These facilities are much smaller than other assisted living services, and may have limited amenities, but they provide a comfortable feeling of living at home.
Nationwide Assisted Living Facility Cost for 2020-2021
Costs for assisted living vary widely throughout the United States, so it is very difficult to pinpoint one average that represents the entire country. However, Genworth Financial, Inc. conducted a recent survey about the costs and types of assisted living around the US, and results found that the median monthly cost for assisted living services in a facility is $3,950. This does not include any specific extra amenities or care. However, this number is very general, and costs can run thousands of dollars under or over this figure depending on a variety of different factors. Here is a chart of state-by-state assisted living costs for this year. We have used actual facility costs based on move-ins. The chart lists average cost, top 10% more expensive facilities average cost, and 10% cheapest assisted living facilities average cost.
|State:||Average||Top 10% Cost||Bottom 10% Cost|
|District of Columbia (DC)||$5,032||$2,384||$10,786|
|New Hampshire (NH)||$4,720||$2,908||$7,701|
|New Jersey (NJ)||$5,177||$3,280||$8,151|
|New Mexico (NM)||$3,834||$2,378||$6,200|
|New York (NY)||$4,771||$2,959||$7,696|
|North Carolina (NC)||$3,843||$2,320||$6,371|
|North Dakota (ND)||$3,899||$2,146||$7,079|
|Rhode Island (RI)||$4,424||$2,731||$7,166|
|South Carolina (SC)||$3,537||$2,080||$6,007|
|South Dakota (SD)||$3,713||$2,218||$6,201|
|West Virginia (WV)||$3,522||$1,940||$6,390|
Nationwide Dementia, Alzheimer's & Memory Care Cost
Dementia care services that are offered inside assisted living facilities cost a bit more than traditional assisted living, because the services provided are much more in-depth. While dementia care still does not provide full medical services, it does provide extra help throughout the day that is specifically geared towards seniors with dementia. These patients receive extra help making decisions and communicating throughout the day, and they also stay in a more comfortable atmosphere that is designed to be very soothing instead of confusing. While bottom 10% cheapest dementia care homes near you can cost as low as $3,040 per month on average, the top 10% most expensive are $8,206 per month. The cost depends on the factors discussed earlier, like size and location of the facility, as well as what state, city and county the facility is located in. Keep in mind that these numbers don’t factor in the additional costs of medication and doctor’s visits, which are charged separately.
|State||Average||Top 10% Cost||Bottom 10% Cost|
|District of Columbia (DC)||$6,598||$3,579||$12,087|
|New Hampshire (NH)||$6,011||$4,040||$8,903|
|New Jersey (NJ)||$6,803||$4,703||$9,873|
|New Mexico (NM)||$4,687||$3,180||$6,907|
|New York (NY)||$6,097||$4,133||$9,012|
|North Carolina (NC)||$4,765||$3,142||$7,192|
|North Dakota (ND)||$4,899||$3,109||$7,736|
|Rhode Island (RI)||$5,494||$3,723||$8,120|
|South Carolina (SC)||$4,430||$2,878||$6,827|
|South Dakota (SD)||$4,572||$2,981||$6,978|
|West Virginia (WV)||$4,348||$2,670||$7,079|
Nationwide Residential Care & Board and Care Facility Costs
Board and care facilities are residential homes where seniors receive care similar to an assisted living facility. Many seniors prefer these homes because they get more personalized attention, flexibility, and the comfort of home. Since board and care facilities tend to have less than 10 residents at one time, they are often much more affordable than larger assisted living facilities. The average cost of a board and care facility is $2,994 per month. The costs will vary from $1529 (bottom 10% cheapest across the U.S.) to $5,910 (top 10% most expensive nationwide).
Nationwide In-Home Care Cost
Many people opt to pay an in-home caregiver to visit their senior and care for them during the day instead of moving them to a new location. Many seniors prefer this, because it means that they don’t have to move and they can keep some of their independence. Many people believe that in-home care for seniors is cheaper than moving them to an assisted living facility, and while this is sometimes true, it doesn’t always apply. The cost of in-home health care will depend on the skill level of the caregiver and the amount of help your senior needs. Nationwide costs for in-home care range from $95 to $175 per day, which usually adds up to be about the same or slightly less than what you would pay in an assisted living facility.
Nationwide Luxury Assisted Living Costs
If you want luxury amenities in your assisted living facility, you will need to pay extra for them. Luxury assisted living facilities have much higher monthly rent costs to cover the premium services and amenities that are offered there. Some assisted living facilities may also have service packages where you can opt to pay extra for luxury amenities. While prices range widely, they tend to be upwards of $8,000 per month. Some of these luxurious senior living facilities also have entry fees, which can be nearly a million dollars. Typically, a percentage of the entrance fee will be refunded if the senior moves out or passes away.
Nationwide Continuing Care Retirement Community Cost
Continuing care retirement communities are a unique, all-inclusive form of assisted living. Continuing care retirement communities offer independent retirement living, assisted living, and skilled nursing services, and residents can transition between these different services as needed. Typically, continuing care retirement communities offer many luxury amenities and very personalized care for their residents. Many seniors like these types of senior living facilities because it allows them to get the exact care they need, and they can also stay with their spouse, even if their spouse requires a different type of care than them. However, continuing care facilities are incredibly expensive. They are sometimes covered by long-term care insurance, but not always. Typically, the senior will have to pay an entrance fee, which can range anywhere from $10,000 to $1 million, depending on the quality, location, and size of the CCRC. Upon paying the entrance fee, residents will sign a contract. Usually the contract is for the rest of the senior’s life, but it can also be for a fixed period of time with the option to extend. On top of the entrance fee, seniors usually have to pay a monthly fee as well, which can range from just a few hundred dollars up to $2,000.
Factors that Affect Assisted Living Cost
There are many different factors that affect the cost of an assisted living service. One of the biggest factors is the location of the facility. Assisted living facilities usually base their prices off of the going rent in the area to ensure that they have a profitable business model. Therefore, if you live in an expensive city, the cost of assisted living will be much more expensive than a small city, town, or rural area.
Another factor that affects assisted living costs is the quality and amount of services offered by the facility. Facilities that have top quality dementia care services or luxury amenities, for example, are going to be more expensive than assisted living facilities that offer just the basics. A large assisted living community is also typically more expensive than small board and care facilities or private assisted living homes, because larger communities have the resources to offer more amenities. These are factors to consider when looking into an assisted living facility, particularly if you are on a set budget.
Cheapest and Most Expensive Locations for Assisted Living
As previously mentioned, assisted living costs vary widely by location. The cost of assisted living in a rural area can be half as much as the cost of a similar facility in a big city. A Genworth study determined the most expensive and least expensive states for assisted living in the U.S. The five most expensive states for assisted living are Delaware, Alaska, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. With the exception of Alaska, these states are all very densely populated and either contain or are close to major metropolitan areas. Alaska is located very far away from the continental United States, which means access to resources are scarce when compared to other locations. These factors contribute to the higher cost of assisted living. The most affordable states for assisted living are Missouri, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, and North Dakota. All of these states are very rural and have general costs of living that are quite low, which contributes to the low cost of assisted living.
Is assisted living cost covered by insurance such as Medicare or Medicaid?
A question that many people have when moving to assisted living is whether or not it is covered by health insurance. This depends on your medical situation, the insurance you have, and the exact type of care you are receiving. Medicare does not usually cover assisted living on its own. However, if you are receiving medical care in the facility, it will cover those costs. Most other forms of medical insurance also do not cover assisted living. However, you can take out a long-term care insurance policy on your own. This is a different type of insurance that will cover the cost of assisted living or other forms of senior care should you end up requiring it.
Ways to Make Assisted Living More Affordable
The cost of assisted living often seems daunting to many seniors and their families, but it’s something that’s important to save up for. To ensure good quality of life even in your later years, you need to invest in physical and mental healthcare to help you. If you are worried about the cost of assisted living, there are a few things you can do to make it more affordable. First, take out a long-term care policy as early as you can. This will significantly reduce the cost of assisted living because you aren’t paying for it out of pocket. If you have a particular assisted living facility you are interested in, make sure that the assisted living facility accepts your long-term care insurance.
Another way to make assisted living more affordable is to simply look for care in a different location. Moving to a smaller town or rural area can cut the cost of assisted living down by several thousands of dollars per year, particularly if you are coming from a big city. Although moving does result in some upfront costs, the savings you’ll get from going somewhere cheaper are usually worth the extra effort. Even just looking a few suburbs over can sometimes result in major cost savings when it comes to assisted living.
If you are really struggling to pay for assisted living, there are some programs out there that can help you. Some assisted living facilities offer programs that are designed for those below a certain income and offer cheaper rent and amenities. It’s worth looking around to see if there are any financial assistance programs in your area as well that can help you. Another option is to look for government assisted housing and then hire a caretaker to come in and help several times per week.
Although assisted living can be expensive, with some planning and research, you can find an option that fits your budget. It’s important to start planning for assisted living before you reach retirement age so you have options and resources available to you when the time comes. If you have a loved one who needs assisted living help, you can help support them through the process by assisting them with budgeting and searching for the perfect assisted living facility.