Average Cost of Assisted Living
As you are researching different assisted living options for yourself or your loved one, a top question you will want to know is: “How much does an assisted living community cost?”
To help, we have put together this guide so that you have a better idea of what assisted living can cost and some ways you can pay for it.
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How Much Does Assisted Living Cost in the United States?
The price of assisted living can seem overwhelming at first glance, often ranging from around $3,000 to $7,000. However, it should be compared to the cost of other senior care types. For instance, the industry standard of 44 hours of in-home care per week comes in at $5,00 per month. And the average monthly cost of a semi-private room at a nursing facility is $7,900. Meanwhile, according to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the national average monthly cost for assisted living is $4,500.
When you consider assisted living includes various amenities like private living quarters, three daily meals, 24-hour support with activities of daily living (ADLs), and social activities, it can be a remarkably affordable and convenient senior living option.
Here is how the average cost of assisted living breaks down on the state level:
Average Monthly Cost for Assisted Living by State
Average Monthly Cost:
Keep in mind the above numbers are just averages. The actual price of an assisted living residence will vary dramatically, even within the same city.
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Let’s look at some of the most important factors that influence the price of assisted living and some ways you can cover the cost.
Local Advisors for Assisted Living
Figuring out the when, how, and where of assisted living placement can be an overwhelming challenge. But you’re not alone. Assisted Living Locators local advisors can help guide you through every step of the decision-making process.
Unlike national placing agents, local care advisors actually live and work in your community and can provide expert advice about local care options centered on your specific needs. They’ll tour local communities with you, help you find the best match, and simplify your loved one’s transition into assisted living.Connect Now for Help
Common Assisted Living Services & Amenities
Assisted living facilities are for seniors who may require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as:
- Assistance with bathing, dressing, and grooming
- Escort and transfer assistance
- Medication management or medication reminders
- 24-hour support services
- Emergency call system
- Assistance available for any activity of daily living
- Beauty shop services
While no longer able to live completely independently, assisted living residents also don’t have serious medical or cognitive issues requiring specialized memory care or skilled nursing services. Amenities will vary across locations, but here are some of the standard services you should expect to see when evaluating an assisted living community:
- On-site dining that includes three square meals a day
- Assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs)
- Basic housekeeping and linen/laundry service
- Transportation options for medical appointments, shopping, and entertainment
- Health and wellness programs
- A community social calendar
- Common areas for socializing and special events
- 24/7 staff supervision for emergencies
Factors That Influence the Cost of Assisted Living
Level of Care
Many assisted living properties base their pricing structure on the level of care needed, where a higher care level equals a higher price point. Seniors that only need minor support can expect to pay less than residents who need extensive or specialized assistance. In this type of pricing structure, the amount you pay each month might fluctuate as your loved one’s needs change over time. The assisted living community should provide a detailed list of pricing for different care services and regularly update you on any potential changes in care.
Another important cost factor of assisted living is the size of the resident’s living quarters. Like any other apartment building, the specific unit’s square footage, proximity to amenities, view, etc., is calculated in the price point. Sometimes seniors will choose to live with a roommate to enjoy a larger apartment (such as with two bathrooms) at a lower per-person cost.
Also, take into account the location of the assisted living community. Urban assisted living facilities are typically more expensive than their suburban and rural counterparts. As highlighted in the average monthly cost table above, swapping states can also dramatically impact the cost. For instance, moving from New Jersey to Pennsylvania drops the average monthly cost of assisted living from $6,495 to $4,100.
Finally, consider property amenities. For instance, luxury assisted living communities might include features like concierge services, extensive grounds, gourmet dining, fully equipped exercise centers, a private shuttle service, etc. As you might expect, these kinds of community perks do come with a higher price tag.
Tips and Ways on How To Finance Assisted Living Costs
It is very common for seniors and families to pay at least some cost of assisted living care out of pocket. Funding might come from retirement accounts, investments, and pooling other sources of income. However, out of pocket isn’t the only option — here are tips and ideas for additional ways to help finance assisted living.
Often, seniors move into an assisted living community because they can no longer manage at home by themselves. After all, maintaining a house takes a lot of work. Downsizing and converting their home value into usable capital can be a way to fund their long-term care needs. This can be in various ways, such as selling the home, renting it out for monthly income, applying for a reverse mortgage, or using the property as collateral for a home equity line of credit (HELOC) loan.
Long-term care (LTC) insurance is specifically designed to cover the costs associated with aging or chronic disability. In most cases, plans will help cover some or all of the costs of assisted living — though the specifics depend on your policy. For example, you might need to meet certain care qualifications, such as needing help with two or more ADLs. Another caveat is that LTC policies usually need to be purchased many years in advance, so it may be difficult to obtain coverage if you’re looking to move to assisted living soon.
Life Insurance Conversion
Another option to pay for assisted living is to convert a life insurance policy into a life-term care benefit plan. Rather than surrendering a life insurance policy for a pre-determined lump sum, it is sold to a third party in exchange for a defined monthly benefit stipend to pay for long-term care services. If the policyholder should pass before the defined amount of senior care services has been exhausted, any remaining money is paid to their designated beneficiaries.
Bridge loans (also called swing loans or GAP financing) are short-term, high-interest loans of approximately 6-12 months that are used to help temporarily provide financing until you can secure a more permanent solution. For example, your loved one needs to move into assisted living immediately, but they don’t have financing in place to pay the cost. Bridge loans provide a line of credit to finance assisted living costs in the short term while your loved one sells their home, obtains veterans benefits, or takes other actions to free up funding.
Medicaid can be another way eligible seniors can help pay for assisted living (on a state-by-state basis). For instance, many states offer “Home and Community Based Services (HCBS)” waivers, which help cover many of the long-term care services provided by assisted living. However, while Medicaid programs may help pay for personal care and medical services at an assisted living facility, in most cases, residents are still responsible for room and board expenses. Moreover, not all assisted living facilities accept Medicaid benefits.
There are several possible ways that veteran benefits can be used to help veterans finance assisted living. For example, the Aid and Attendance program will help qualified veterans pay for assistance with ADLs and other care services provided at a residential assisted living facility.
Many people are surprised to learn that standard Medicare will not pay for residential assisted living — including assistance with ADLs. However, this doesn’t mean it can’t still help defray some senior care costs. For instance, under some circumstances, Medicare will help pay for short-term, medically necessary home health services, such as physical and occupational therapy, medical social services, skilled nursing care, etc.
Local assisted living locators will be able to help you find the perfect assisted living community in your area.
It depends, but the cost of medical services provided at an assisted living facility is generally deductible. You can learn more from the IRS tax topic on medical and dental expenses.
Yes, a local care advisor can answer questions about assisted living costs in their area.