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When it comes to the state of older adults, Illinois is largely quite representative of the nation as a whole, with Illinois having similar rates for things like the percentage of people 50 and older, diversity among older adults, household income and seniors in the workforce.
The state is an outlier, though, when it comes to the rate of increase in the median age. Today, the median age in Illinois stands at 38.3 years, which is slightly younger than the overall national median age of 38.5 years. But since 2010, the figure has risen 4.6 percent in Illinois, nearly double the rate of increase the nation as a whole recorded.
What else can data tell us about Illinois seniors, including demographics, health and financial matters? And what resources are available for seniors and their loved ones here in Illinois?
*Includes Black, Native American, Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander or individuals of one or more other races, and Hispanic/Latinx people of any race.
Living Costs for Illinois' Seniors
Illinois has a housing index of 96.20, making it one of the more affordable states to live in the country. Most other states with big cities are typically more expensive to live in, such as California and New York. So, if you want to be close to (or in) a popular city without paying ridiculous housing costs, then you may want to consider Illinois. Counties such as Dupage County, offer both the benefits of city living and affordable housing. For reference, a one bedroom apartment goes for an average of $852 a month, while a two bedroom apartment goes for around $1,028 a month here.
Wondering what the monthly senior living costs are like in The Prairie State? Let's go through some numbers.
Home health care services are available to seniors in Illinois living in their own residences. These services come in handy when the elderly need help to keep their homes clean, complete everyday errands, and prepare meals, for example. It costs on average, $4,195 a month for home health care in this state. If you don't have a designated caregiver living with you, home health aides are also available for hire. It costs around $4,290 a month in Illinois. Home health aides focus on providing extensive care for seniors at home, rather than in a facility.
Older people who need a supervised facility to spend their days while their caregivers are tending to their other obligations have the option of adult day care in Illinois. It costs an average of $1,563 to take advantage of adult day care benefits in this state. At adult day care centers, staff make sure that the elderly are properly socialized and get access to any health services and therapies they may need. Even though basic health services are provided, it's important to keep in mind that adult day care does not include extensive nursing care. Those needing this would benefit from considering nursing home care.
Assisted living facilities in Illinois operate to provide elders with more help with their everyday tasks. To receive access to health services and personal care at an assisted living facility in Illinois, you can expect to pay an average monthly cost of $3,720 a month. Again, assisted living facilities don't provide extensive nursing care. Think of assisted living as more of an intermediate form of long-term care.
Seniors who need round the clock supervision and care that their caregivers can't provide will benefit from staying at a nursing home. It is the most costly form of care, but relatives can be assured that their aging loved ones are properly taken care of, provided their medications and therapies needed, as well as skilled nursing care all day and night. A semi-private room goes for an average of $5,688 a month, while a private room goes for an average of $6,524 a month in Illinois. Compared to other states with big popular cities, Illinois' nursing home costs are on the lower side.
Illinois' Living Options for the Elderly
Retirees have plenty of living options to choose from in Illinois. Depending on individual needs and circumstances, they may opt for independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care. Not sure which one would be best for you? Read about each option below to get a better idea of which may suit your lifestyle best.
There are more than 650 independent living facilities operating in Illinois for seniors who are healthy, active, and don't require round the clock care. On average, it can cost anywhere from $576 to $3,575 a month to stay at an independent living facility in Illinois.
The most popular form of independent living is apartment living. Apartment style living allows seniors to live amongst people in their age range (55+ or 65+ depending on the community), and often provides useful amenities like gyms, walking trails, meeting rooms, and pools and jacuzzis for residents to enjoy. Some senior apartment communities may also offer some rudimentary services like transportation for those who may need it.
If you are pretty certain you want to spend your final years in Illinois and have a good idea of where in the state you'd like to settle down, it may be worthwhile to look into buying a property. Apartments are available for monthly rent, but there are also condos, townhomes, cottages, and single-family homes in senior communities throughout Illinois that can be purchased if that's what you prefer.
As far as costs go, if you want a decent home without spending too much, then you may want to look in the Carbondale – Marion area. As expected, the highest costs of living are found in the metropolitan areas like Chicago, Naperville, and Elgin.
Illinois is home to more than 820 assisted living facilities, which provide seniors with access to healthcare and social opportunities they need to thrive during their final years. Attentive and experienced caregivers are on site to help residents with housekeeping, personal transportation, laundry, meal prep, and more. Assisted living facilities are monitored all day and night to ensure safety.
It can cost anywhere from $1,048 to $6,500 a month to stay at an assisted living facility in Illinois. Similar to independent living, the cheaper facilities are going to be located in the suburban towns while the expensive ones are in the metropolitan areas of the state.
Memory care has become increasingly important as more and more seniors are developing dementia related ailments. Memory care provides a facility that is designed in an easy-to-navigate manner, helping to prevent seniors from getting lost easily and then emotionally distraught from not remembering where to go. Staff at memory care facilities are highly trained on how to properly calm down seniors who fall into bouts of helplessness, and how to help seniors get through their daily tasks like personal grooming, taking medications, and meeting all their daily nutrition needs.
Memory care costs vary from area to area, such as the Chicago metropolitan area where memory care has an average cost of $96,921 a year. Carbondale and Marion have the lowest average costs in the state, at $59,677 per year. Overall, the state average is $66,198 per year.
A major issue facing Illinois is the fact that older generations will be facing difficulties to age in place, due to many towns being spread out and not well serviced by public transportation and other services that seniors would need to remain mostly independent. This will lead to seniors in Illinois needing more involved care, like nursing homes, especially as the senior population continues to grow rapidly, over 8% in the past decade, with no signs of slowing down for the next few decades. A few of the nursing home options are described in greater detail below.
Adult Day Care Facilities
Adult day care centers in Illinois provide a sorely needed service by providing a fully equipped facility for seniors to be cared for during the day. Adult day care is most beneficial for seniors who live with family that can care for them in the evenings, but are at work or elsewhere in the daytime.
Adult day care centers in Illinois provide nutritious meals to seniors during their time there, usually during all weekdays. Some facilities extend into the weekends as well. Seniors will also be able to socialize and make lasting friendships with other seniors through group activities like puzzles, bingo, live entertainers, and art classes. This is a fantastic way for seniors to not feel alone or depressed, as families are often too busy in the day to properly tend to their elderly loved one in the same manner an adult day care center can.
The costs of adult day care centers in Illinois are not terrible, showing an average cost of $17,290 a year, which is lower than the national average of $23,400. However, the 100+ adult day care centers in Illinois can vary significantly, depending on factors such as location and overall quality of the facility. Rockford has the highest average cost for adult day care, coming in at $23,465 a year, while Decatur has the lowest average cost at $13,000 a year. Some adult day care centers have extra amenities that can be paid for a la carte, like salon services and massages.
With nearly 150 hospice care facilities in the state, Illinois is taking proactive measures to ensure terminally ill seniors get the care they need to live out their final stage of life with dignity and peace. Hospices approach care for terminally ill seniors from several angles. First, there is of course the medical side, to reduce pain through professionally administered medications. An on-site physician is usually around to ensure treatments are going well and that seniors are experienced reduced pain levels. Secondly, there is the emotional side that seniors must face with knowing they're in their final stage of life. Grief counseling and therapeutic classes are offered to help seniors and their families constructively reconcile their feelings and learn how to best handle this trying time of life. Lastly, there is spiritual support, offered through chaplain services.
One of the most useful aspects of hospice care is that it is often free of charge to the senior. This is because of the Medicare Hospice Benefit that covers all, or nearly all, of the costs. Medicaid will often cover the costs for low income seniors, and seniors with private insurances will sometimes have a hospice benefit to take advantage of. The main barrier to hospice care is that a doctor must diagnose the senior with less than 6 months to live due to their terminal illness.
Given how most of the towns in Illinois are spread out, families caring for their elderly loved one at home will find it quite burdensome to provide complete care without outside help. Respite care can be done in many different ways, from providing a professional caregiver to come to the home of the senior on a regular basis, or for the senior to live in a respite care facility for however long is necessary. This way, a primary caregiver does not get overwhelmed with running errands for the senior under their care, which that alone could take up half a day or more, but instead can delegate those duties to someone else. This prevents caregiver depression and keeps everything happy, rather than growing resentment.
Respite care in Illinois has an average cost of $62,050 a year. The frequency of care, the level of care, and the location can all drastically affect the overall costs. To give a better idea, the monthly costs can range from $5,003 a month up to $16,313, but again keep in mind respite care can be just a one day thing, such as after a surgery. Most insurances do not cover respite care costs. All in all, the 800+ respite care facilities in Illinois have been a lifesaver for many seniors and their families.
Annual rental cost, Zillow Rent Index, States
Job openings, pulled from Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com in April 2020
Employment and wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019 publication
Household income and population figures, U.S. Census Bureau, most recent publications on all topics