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While Alaska may not be the first place in mind when thinking about retirement, it's certainly not ruled out of the books. It may be too chilly for some, but those who have tolerance for the cold weather would actually find some great reasons to retire here. Outside of the big cities, crime is low in Alaska. The state is also known as a tax haven because it does not levy income or sales tax on residents, and does not tax pension or Social Security income. Alaska is certainly not referred to as “America's Last Great Frontier” for nothing! Outgoing seniors will be delighted to find that there are also a surprisingly great variety of sights to explore in the state. It is home to many beautiful lakes, rivers, and unique wildlife.
Looking to find out more about Alaska's senior living costs, facilities, and benefits? We are here to provide you with the most comprehensive information on the web about Alaska's senior living options, from independent living facilities to a whole range of assisted care. Discover a wealth of information about the various support systems and amenities that each has to offer here. You can also find the closest senior living options available to you by navigating through the list of cities in Alaska below.
Looking for more information on Alaska's senior living options? Click on one of the links below to jump to each section containing in-depth information on each topic.
Picking the right living facility for yourself or an aging loved one can be a challenge. We've compiled a list of living options to consider across the state of Alaska. Check out our list of the top senior living communities in the state below.
Retiring in Alaska is generally a more costly endeavor compared to settling down in other states, because of its location. Remoteness means that food have to be transported from far away, and utility costs are often higher than elsewhere. Since it's always so cold in Alaska, most people have to keep their central heating on at all times inside the home. The electricity bill alone racks up quickly as a result. Overall, it costs approximately 34% more to live in Alaska. Utility costs are roughly 50% higher than in other parts of the United States, while food expenses come out to about 37% more according to a report by MarketWatch.
There are more affordable places in Alaska to retire, however. A city like Fairbanks is a good choice because it's not in a rural area, which means that goods don't have to be transported as far to get in. The cost of living in Fairbanks is lower than most other Alaskan cities.
Let's take a quick look at numbers to get a better idea of senior living costs in Alaska. Home health care costs average out to about $5,000 a month, while adult day care fees come out to roughly $3,642 a month. Assisted living costs are pretty high in Alaska with a median of $6,000 a month. To give some perspective, most of the other states in the U.S. have assisted living costs anywhere from $2,500 to $4,000 a month. Nursing home care is extremely costly, with a median monthly cost of $24,333. Most of the other states in the country hardly exceed $10,000 a month in this area.
Keep in mind that if you require a lot of medical attention, you'll want to make sure to pick a city where you won't have to commute too far to a hospital in case of an emergency. Most of the remote areas of the state will require you to travel quite far to get to the nearest hospital. However, there are several dispersed across Anchorage that operate 24/7, allowing the elderly to get seen by a medical professional easily when needed. Fairbanks and Juneau also have hospitals within reach. In remote areas of the state, residents have no choice but to travel in a tiny plane for hours to get to a good hospital. Not only can this become costly over time, but also inconvenient and not time-efficient especially in an emergency.
The overall cost of living may not be considered the most affordable in Alaska, but the low taxes and annual stipend from the state ($1-2k per permanent resident — more on this below) do help with the cost perspective. The U.S. News & World Report actually ranked Alaska as one of its top places for retirees from a tax perspective!
Before committing to a place to retire, it's important to see what benefits are available to you. Below are some things about Alaska worth considering when making a decision.
If you can get past the cold weather in Alaska, you'll enjoy retiring here. The residents in this state are super warm & gracious, making it easier for you to connect with other people and make friends in town. Friendly neighbors and a healthy social life is just one great benefit of retiring in Alaska!
With limited shopping opportunities in the state, people focus their time more on building and developing relationships with friends and their spouses. Less time is spent on materialistic things, which is a great way for elders (especially partners retiring together) to live out the golden years.
Despite the cold weather, there's actually a lot to see and appreciate in Alaska. Those keen on the great outdoors will love the natural beauty the state has to offer. There are more than 3 million lakes and 3,000 rivers, making it the perfect place to retire if you're an avid fisherman. Wildlife lovers can catch unique animals out and about such as but not limited to polar bears, grizzly bears, and humpback whales!
Alaska is home to some of the most beautiful national parks. Located in between Anchorage and Fairbanks, Denali National Park is one of the most popular and largest ones in the United States. It encompasses North America's highest mountain. This national park has six million acres of wide river valleys, high alpine ranges, tundra, and glacier-draped mountains. Many interesting animals also live here, including elk, reindeer, grizzly bears, wolves, a variety of bird species, and more!
In addition to national parks, there are also plenty of scenic walking areas in Alaska. Campbell Creek Greenbelt is a picturesque trail in Anchorage which leads up to a lake with beautiful scenery and a variety of wildlife. Wedgewood Wildlife Sanctuary is another popular one in the states located in Fairbanks. Visitors have shared that it's a very nice, easy, and short walk, making it ideal for seniors who want to get out, get some exercise, and enjoy a gorgeous view. The trails are also wheelchair accessible which is a bonus for those who cannot get around by foot easily.
If you prefer exploring museums over enjoying the great outdoors, Anchorage Museum is a well-loved museum where people can learn about art, history, ecology, science, and ethnography in a modern unique-looking building in the heart of Anchorage, Alaska. Car fanatics in the state enjoy the Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, which features a spectacular collection of rare antique cars on display.
If you're looking to dodge taxes, you're in good hands if you retire in Alaska. Not only does Alaska impose zero sales and income tax, it also doesn't tax pension of Social Security income. On top of that, the state also pays its permanent residents to live there. The Alaska Permanent Fund pays a percentage of royalties from oil and mineral revenues earned each year back to the community. The amount paid to residents each year depends on how the fund is doing but each person usually receive annual checks averaging between one to two thousand dollars!
It's important to keep in mind that while the tax break is nice, like all great perks, it comes at a cost. Since Alaska is located in such a remote area, cost of living is higher than the national average. Utilities are almost 50% more than the U.S. average and food is 37% more expensive than in other states. Food has to be shipped into the state from far, and utility lines are harder to build and maintain.
Alaska also has a Senior Benefits Program in place where it pays cash benefits to Alaskan seniors aged 65+ and have low to moderate income. The monthly payment depends on the individual's income, and are subject to change each year as the poverty level changes. To be eligible for this, 65+ seniors have to live in Alaska permanently, have a Social Security Number, and countable income that doesn't exceed the income limits to receive benefits.
Certain cities in Alaska also gives seniors 65+ some great benefits like significant property tax breaks, sales tax exemption, and free transportation via public buses. Juneau is one of these cities, and also has a regional medical center which is ideal for those needing to get in and out of the hospital easily.
Whether you're looking for independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care, the senior living options in Alaska are ample. Learn more about each and get an idea of your options and which would suit you best below.
For Alaskan seniors living in their own home, care costs are pretty much the same across the state. They range from $22.50-$29.50 an hour, which averages out to $26.50 an hour regardless of the location. Those living in remote areas don't have to worry about higher fees — however, the cost of independent living care in Alaska is still more per hour than the other states along the Pacific. Seniors requiring medical attention will have to pay more per hour on top of the home care cost.
Seniors in the market for an apartment in Alaska can expect rent to be on the expensive side. Most of the senior communities are located in Anchorage. Here, the average rent for a one bedroom apartment is $1,120 a month, while a two bedroom apartment averages to $1,363.
Independent living in Alaska is a good choice for seniors who are healthy and independent, but just want to live with others in the same age range. On-site maintenance and housekeeping services are taken care of, so that elders can focus on their well-being and socializing with their neighbors.
Despite Alaska being the biggest state in the United States, it also has the fewest options when it comes to assisted living. Your best bet is going to be in the largest cities, Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau. These areas have the most assisted living options, but you can expect to pay more for assisted living in this state than in others. The average monthly cost in Alaska comes out to about 45% higher than in the other states in the country. For reference, in Fairbanks, assisted living can range from $4,311 – $8,050 a month! Of course, prices will vary greatly in Alaska depending on location.
Most assisted living facilities in the state are located in Anchorage. The Yosef Family Assisted Living Home is a highly rated one in the area offering senior housing in a clean and caring setting. It's ideal for older people who can't get around easily as shopping centers, healthcare facilities, pharmacies, and churches are all nearby.
At assisted living communities, caregivers provide help with routine chores and day-to-day living, while allowing seniors to enjoy a healthy level of independence.
Alaska is home to 16 memory care facilities. Data published by Medicare indicates that the average cost of memory care facilities in the state is $95,700 annually, with costs ranging from $4,915 to $10,875 a month. Just like the other forms of health care for seniors in Alaska, memory care is on the pricier end as the national average cost for all states comes out to about $5,075 a month.
Memory care in Fairbanks is the most expensive. Prices here range from $7,031 to $13,200 per month. That averages out to $141,075 every year. If you're looking for more affordable memory care, then Anchorage will be your best bet. This area offers affordable options as well as pricier ones — costs range from $1,320 to $13,613 a month, with a median cost of $108,900.
Jewel Lake Plaza is one of the top memory care facilities in the state. Located in an upscale area, it is central to everything that one would need to live out the golden years, such as shopping centers, churches, and hospitals. These are all just a short drive away from the facility.
Memory care facilities in Alaska offer housing for seniors at various stages of Alzheimer's Disease and dementia requiring support and care for their safety.
Just like the other senior living options, nursing home costs in Alaska are quite high. A study found that for a semi-private room in a nursing home, the average cost came out to as much as $232,505 a year. Depending on location, some nursing homes may cost more than others. The ones located out of the metropolitan areas are more costly, averaging out to a hefty $285,000 per year!
Adult day care nursing homes will keep residents busy with activities like music therapy, art therapy, and more. Seniors can expect supervision, health screening, nutrition, exercise, and lots of love at nursing homes. Those suffering from Alzheimer's, dementia, stroke, PTSD, or brain tumor can take advantage of the help offered at these nursing homes in the state. Adult day care costs vary in Alaska but as mentioned above, the average came out to $3,642 a month.
Hospice care is vital for seniors who are dealing with a terminal illness. There are 6 hospice facilities in Alaska, with 3 located in Anchorage. The average cost of hospice facilities in Alaska is $55,080 a year, with costs ranging from $3,330 to $6,000 a month. Under hospice care, seniors can expect staff to provide required medications and manage pain and symptoms, as well as counseling for the family on how to best care for the elderly. Hospice nursing homes help seniors live as comfortably as possible in their final years of life.
It's only natural for caregivers to feel exhausted from taking care of their dependent elderly at some point, and that's when respite care comes in to help. Alaska is home to 10 respite care facilities that provide short-term care stays for seniors. Typical prices for respite care in this state range from $22,403 to $29,145 a month. Respite care facilities offer your everyday nursing home services and amenities, including but not limited to three nutritious meals everyday, housekeeping and laundry service, personal transportation, activities, personal assistance (bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting), medical management, and 24-hour supervision and security.
Seniors needing 24/7 care and regular access to healthcare services will benefit from staying at nursing homes in Alaska. Experienced healthcare professionals are readily available to provide medical support, stroke care, pain management, therapy, and more at nursing homes. These facilities also offer a variety of activities to keep the elderly minds stimulated — from social activities to arts & crafts.
PBS – This article goes into detail about why it's a good idea for seniors to retire in Alaska because it provides them with financial security. This resource allows you to see how Alaska performs relative to other states in the country when it comes wages and housing costs.
Alaska Department of Health & Social Services – This website includes plenty of useful information about health care services in Alaska, more on hospitals, nursing homes, and hospice care to name a few.
Alaska Department of Administration: Retirement & Benefits – Learn about retiree health and optional benefits here. Common questions are addressed as well.
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