Caregiver giving glass of water to senior woman at home

How Much Does Assisted Living Cost on Average?

There are nearly 40 million people over the age of 65 in the United States. Of these older Americans, 5.6 million of them are over the age of 85.

As we age, it’s normal to need some extra help with daily tasks and personal care. However, many elderly Americans that are still somewhat active don’t want to live in a nursing home where they would lose a lot of their independence.

Assisted living is a common solution to this scenario. When you’re first thinking about moving to one of these facilities, though, one of your first questions is likely “how much does assisted living cost?”

Let’s take the answer to this question and other related questions to help you decide if assisted living communities are right for you or your loved one.

What Are Assisted Living Facilities?

Assisted living facilities are suitable for older adults who need a little extra help with daily tasks but still desire to live independently. In this type of community, elderly adults can rent a private apartment while receiving extra amenities such as daily meals, maintenance, transportation services, and help with personal care.

How Much Does Assisted Living Cost?

What part of the country you are in has a big impact on how much elderly care costs, including assisted living facilities. For this reason, it’s important to take your location into account when budgeting for assisted living.

While the national median cost for a one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living community is a little over $4,000 a month, the cost in high cost of living areas can be much higher. For example, the average cost in New York City is $6,950 per month. On the flip side, the average cost in low cost of living areas can be much lower, for example, it costs about $2,970 a month for assisted living care in Bloomington, Indiana.

Other factors that impact the cost are the types of services offered and the size of the apartment you choose.

According to some estimates, the average cost in 2020 for assisted living was $4,300 per month. This equates to $51,600 every year. Many assisted living communities cost between $1,000 and $5,000 each month.

Senior Living Communities: What’s Included In the Cost?

Room and board are typically offered in the base package of assisted living communities. This means that each renter usually receives their own private apartment in addition to two or three hot meals daily. It is common for these facilities to be set up so that help is never far away if residents were to fall or have some type of emergency.

You will also find that many of these communities offer transportation services. This means that group outings or trips to local stores are facilitated by the assisted living community.

Utilities and basic maintenance are also usually included in the cost of assisted living.

Beyond these basics, you’ll find a lot of variety in the services offered by this type of community. Some of the services you might find offered include:

  • Life enrichment programs and events
  • Laundry and housekeeping services
  • Senior-friendly fitness activities
  • Personal care services
  • Pet care
  • Medication management
  • Barber and salon services
  • Health care services

You will need to research what is available at each local senior living community and whether or not the services cost extra or are a part of the base package. Consider your needs or the needs of your elderly loved one when choosing a facility. You will also want to anticipate the needs that your loved one might have in the future as they age.

How to Pay for Assisted Living Communities

You’re not alone if the cost of assisted living facilities and elderly care makes you do a double-take. The monthly costs are quite steep compared to owning a typical home or renting a humble apartment. However, there are a number of ways that you can fund the cost.

Veterans Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs offers financial benefits for veterans and spouses of veterans. These might be able to be used to cover some of the costs to live in this type of facility.

The Aid and Attendance benefits are the most relevant of their programs for this purpose. However, there are a number of qualifications veterans must meet in order to be eligible.

Medicaid

Millions of elderly adults use Medicaid in order to receive health insurance. Assisted living costs are not usually completely covered by Medicaid, but some portion should be covered in nearly every U.S. state.

Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage is a loan you take out in order to access some of your home equity. Seniors sometimes use this as a tool in order to bridge the financial gap between living in a home and an assisted living facility. It’s important to understand the terms of the loan before signing on, as failing to repay the mortgage could lead to property foreclosure.

Life Insurance

A senior who already has a life insurance policy might choose to close their policy early to access the cash available to them there. This is often a choice made when an individual decides it’s more advantageous to use the money to pay for their assisted living needs rather than having their heirs wait for the policy death benefit after they pass away.

Senior Living Facilities: Are They the Right Choice?

Assisted living facilities are just one of the options when it comes to senior care. There is a range of choices available that cater to older adults of all abilities and persuasions.

There are independent living communities for the most active seniors and nursing homes for those who need more care. It’s also possible to hire in-home care so your loved one can continue living in their home.

Did you find this article answering the question “how much does assisted living cost?” helpful? If so, be sure to check out the rest of our blog!