How Much Does Assisted Living and Home Care Cost in the US?
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 2018 was $4,000 per month.
Similarly, according to a National Center for Assisted Living report, the median cost for assisted living in the United States is about $4,000 per month or $48,000 annually. Over 800,000 Americans are residing in assisted living facilities, with the majority 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 the Genworth's 2016 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 to 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 to 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. Often, having an environment for our senior loved ones that create the same atmosphere as when they have not retired yet and equals 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 which could be another good option for those seeking worthy assisted living experience for their loved ones.
Assisted Living Cost by State (Updated October, 2019)
|State||Daily Cost||Monthly Cost||Yearly Cost|
|District of Columbia||$220||$6,700||$80,400|
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/ According to Charlie Severn, the Vice-President of Brand Marketing in A Place for Mom that the Senior Living Cost Index is the only index to measure consumers' actual pay that makes it a reliable data source.
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 to Pay for Assisted Living Costs
Paying for assisted living costs can seem like an overwhelming need for many people. Most people turn to assisted living once they begin to need help. It can be hard to obtain a new health insurance policy at this point to assist in covering these costs. However, if possible, always purchase health insurance policies that offer coverage for long-term care and assisted living care. Many policies do offer this coverage, and this typically is the least expensive option.
Paying Out of Pocket
It is very common for individuals to pay at least some of the cost of assisted living care out of their pocket. Some pay all of it out of pocket. This may come from retirement accounts, investments, savings accounts, or other sources of income. Rates vary significantly, though, making it somewhat difficult for seniors to make payment like this. Paying out of pocket can be an option for those who have a significant retirement account 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 seniors 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 the senior owns the home outright. If there is still a mortgage on the property, for example, this can make it more difficult for seniors 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.
Be aware that reverse mortgages are not a good idea in this situation. In a reverse mortgage, the senior will obtain a mortgage that pays them each month or in a lump sum. The funds continue to come to you month to month (in most cases) to use as you would like to. At the time of a senior moving out or dying, the lender presents the family with an opportunity to purchase the home or it is sold. Keep in mind that this happens as soon as the last homeowner leaves the home – including moving into assisted living.
In some situations, the Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Pension can be a source of help for paying for assisted living. Individuals who qualify will need to have under $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.
Medicaid can provide a financial tool for seniors to pay for assisted living if they meet income requirements. These qualifications differ from one state to the next. However, many seniors will be approved for the program.
Depending on the type of advantage plan a senior has, it may include long-term care choices. These are separate, paid-out-of-pocket programs. Medicare itself does not pay for the room and board or any non-medical services for the individual. If you have Original Medicare, it does not provide coverage for assisted living. If you have an extended advantage plan, consult that plan specifically to learn the type and amount of coverage available to you.
Is There Assisted Living Near Me?
Nearly every state has several assisted living communities available. 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.