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How Much Does Assisted Living and Home Care Cost in the US?

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Average Cost of an Assisted Living Community

The size of an assisted living facility you choose, the types of services, and amount of services you require all impact monthly fees. According to Genworth Financial, the average cost of assisted living in 2020 was $4,300 per month. Similarly, according to a National Center for Assisted Living report, the median cost for assisted living in the United States is about $4,300 per month or $51,600 annually. Over 800,000 Americans are residing in assisted living facilities, with just over half of residents being 85+ years old. These statistics go to show the importance of assisted living in the nation. In a senior living community, you start with upfront costs. Assisted living communities and independent living communities generally have a monthly cost that could range from $2,000 to $7,000, and may make certain hospitality and care services available for an additional monthly fee. If you’re looking for assisted living facilities, knowing the average cost of care across the country is a must. There is a constant debate between assisted living versus living at home among families when it comes to choosing the best option for taking good care of their senior loved ones. Many would argue that healthcare costs especially to that of senior living are really increasing rapidly. But that is not entirely true. This public perception has to be corrected by making people aware of the realities of assisted living facilities. Nowadays, many would usually prefer living at home because it is less expensive than assisted living and technology, such as medical alert systems, allow seniors to be safely monitored in their home. It can be in most cases, but the total cost of assisted living is actually significantly less than living at home. Not to mention the daily assistance being provided in assisted living which enhances the quality of life and improves a senior’s health and safety. The secret to getting your money’s worth in choosing assisted living facilities is in knowing the factors in assisted living costs because the price structures of these are dependent on the level of care that a resident requires. You must know first the location to where you plan for your loved ones to settle. Ideally, you would settle for a place near your family as well. So it is important to know the average cost of care in different states which we have provided below based on Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey. Also, you must also know the rent, utility, maintenance, meal and personal care costs. Independent living or living at home usually would focus on rent or mortgage which usually results in overlooking the other necessities for senior care. In assisted living, the expenses cover the necessary things to provide quality care. If you take a look at it, assisted living is in its essence, financially equal to living at home because the level of care assisted living facilities provide is also what families should provide for seniors even living at home. The only difference now is a question of where our seniors will be provided with daily activities and entertainment to enhance their quality of life. Living at home limits discovering opportunities for social interactions and daily activities. This is because entertainment is usually being cut back to save money. This is usually an unfortunate reality in senior living at home. There is an emphasis on this particular aspect because regular social activities are significant for seniors to stay fit and sharp. This can create the same atmosphere as when they have not retired yet and may provide the difference between surviving and thriving. If your main concern is affordability or your budget, Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey outlines the average daily, monthly and annual costs of a private one-unit in an assisted living community in each state. This can serve as a good guide of what you can expect to spend on an assisted living facility in your state.

Assisted Living Cost by State (Updated May, 2021)

State Daily Cost Monthly Cost Yearly Cost
District of Columbia$197$6,000$72,000
New Hampshire$219$6,650$79,800
New Jersey$219$6,650$79,800
New Mexico$133$4,050$48,600
New York$158$4,800$57,600
North Carolina$125$3,800$45,600
North Dakota$135$4,096$49,149
Rhode Island$163$4,950$59,400
South Carolina$131$3,988$47,850
South Dakota$120$3,638$43,650
West Virginia$132$4,000$48,000
Source: Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey Data from the National Senior Living Cost Index from Seattle-based senior living referral service: A Place for Mom also shows that senior living costs are rising at a slower rate compared to hospital service costs, health insurance premiums and real estate costs. In 2016, the cost of assisted living rose from 2.9% compared to 2.4% last 2015 while in memory care, from 2.3% in 2016 to 3% in 2015. The data revealed that the rent increased approximately $110 per month for care levels. This data is gathered based on the actual rent and care costs from the referrals of A Place for Mom community partners. A Place for Mom polled 1,000 senior-living consumers, and it was learned that their ideal communities for senior living are one which has low crime rates, closer to home, hospitals and with more walkable neighborhoods with good access to public transportation. These attributes are the influencers used in deciding to move into senior living which you can use to consider as well. If you are still undecided whether you want you or your senior loved ones to settle in an assisted facility or not, it would be best to imagine your ideal senior living first. If your ideal set up falls under the care of your own home, then it is basically good for you. But if it does not, it is time to look for a better option. There is no point in compromising a good quality of senior living especially if a lot of options are already being laid down which can suit your preferences. At the end of the day, we all deserve a good and comfortable life!

How Much Does Assisted Living Cost for a Couple?

Assisted living can be a great option for mostly self-sufficient older couples who need a bit of help, but it can be expensive. As of 2020, the average cost of assisted living was $4,300 per person. Couples typically don’t pay double, since they live in the same apartment, but will need to pay for the second person’s meals, medical care, and other expenses. Care can cost $1,000 per month or more depending on both of your needs, so it’s an important additional cost to consider.

Pro Tip: Want to learn more about assisted living costs for couples? Take a look at our guide to senior living for couples for more details.

Of course, these costs vary greatly depending on the area of the country the facility is located in, the size of your living quarters, how luxurious the facility is, which amenities are included, and many other factors. In addition, if one or both of you need medical care, memory care, or other services, the price will rise.

Is Assisted Living Tax-Deductible?

Like everything having to do with the IRS, it depends.1 If you or a qualified dependent are in an assisted living facility primarily for medical care, you can typically deduct the entire expense. Otherwise, only the cost of medical services at the facility is deductible. You must itemize your taxes to claim this deduction, and there may be limits based on income. Learn more from the IRS Medical and Dental Expenses publication.

How to Pay for Assisted Living

There are many different ways to pay for assisted living, from writing an out-of-pocket check each month to getting help from your insurance company. Many long-term care insurance policies offer assisted living coverage, and this is typically the least expensive option. Just remember that these policies usually need to be purchased long before you need them, so it may be difficult to obtain a new policy if you’re looking to move to assisted living soon. Let’s go through some of the most popular ways to pay for assisted living in more detail.

Paying Out of Pocket

It is very common for individuals to pay at least some of the cost of assisted living care out of pocket. This may come from retirement accounts, investments, savings accounts, or other sources of income. Paying out of pocket can be an option for those who have significant retirement savings or financial support otherwise. Paying out of pocket also means that seniors can keep the assets they own.

Selling a Home

In some situations, seniors who are moving into an assisted living community will no longer be able to live at home. Downsizing like this can provide an opportunity for older adults to use the funds from the sale of their home to cover the cost of assisted living community care. It is important to realize that this option depends on whether or not you own the home outright. If there is still a mortgage on the property, for example, it may be more difficult to sell the home for enough to pay for long-term care. Any mortgage on the home must be paid off before the remaining value can be used to pay for care.

Does Insurance Cover Assisted Living?

In general, private health insurance does not cover assisted living.2 Of course, every plan is different, so it never hurts to call your insurer and ask. You may get at least some coverage for medical care provided by the assisted living facility. Some Medicare Advantage, and most long-term care insurance plans, cover assisted living costs, but again, it varies greatly by plan. It’s best to call your provider for coverage details.

Does Long-Term Care Insurance Cover Assisted Living?

In general, yes; long-term care insurance covers assisted living costs. The specifics depend on your policy and provider, but long-term care insurance is specifically designed to cover the costs associated with aging or chronic disability. In most cases, it’s flexible enough to cover some or all of the costs of assisted living. However, you may need to meet certain qualifications, such as needing help with at least two activities of daily living (ADLS).

Does Medicare Pay for Assisted Living?

Medicare does not cover room and board or assistance with ADLs at an assisted living facility. However, it may pay for medical services rendered by the facility, as well as home health services such as physical and occupational therapy, skilled nursing care, or medical social services. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may have more coverage. Consult that plan specifically to learn the type and amount of coverage available to you.

Does Medicaid Pay for Assisted Living?

Medicaid is administered by the states, so exactly what is covered will vary. In many cases, nursing services and personal care assistance are covered. However, states are not legally allowed to use Medicaid funds to cover room and board. Some states have alternative programs to help Medicaid recipients pay for these costs, while others do not. Visit your state’s Medicaid website for more details about what funding might be available.

Does the VA Pay for Assisted Living?

The VA does not pay for rent and basic services in an assisted living facility. However, in some situations, the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Pension can be a source of help for paying for assisted living. Individuals who qualify must have less than $80,000 in assets. This program can pay out a significant sum per month to help cover these costs. Veterans programs – both state and federal-level programs – aside from this may also be helpful. Those with VA health benefits may also be eligible for coverage for specific services, such as medical care provided within the facility.

Is There Assisted Living Near Me?

Nearly every state has several assisted living communities available.3 To find one close to home, use our database. This directory makes it easy for you to find assisted living communities located throughout the state and community you are in. Nearly all areas will offer a few choices for seniors including some for those with special needs, limited budgets, or specific desires in programming and services.
Reviewed By

Scott Witt

Elder Home Care Expert

Scott founded Select Home Care Portland in 2009 and has been helping seniors live their best life at home or in their local senior community ever since. As an advocate for seniors, the primary philosophy has been to listen, educate and provide… Learn More About Scott Witt

Written By

Jeff Hoyt

Editor in Chief

Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt

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  1. IRS. (2021). Medical, Nursing Home, Special Care Expenses.

  2. (2021). Long-Term Care.

  3. U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. (2021). Geriatrics and Extended Care.