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In many ways, the commonwealth of Massachusetts is quite representative of the nation as a whole when it comes to the state of older adults. For example, the percentage of those 50 and older in Massachusetts is just over the overall U.S. rate (36.9 percent compared to 35.3 percent).
But in other ways, Massachusetts is a standout place for seniors. Life expectancy here is 80.4 years, sixth-highest in the United States, almost a full two years higher than the overall life expectancy in the U.S., and we have a relatively high percentage of those 55 and older still in the labor force.
What else can we learn from demographic, economic and health data about the state of seniors in Massachusetts and how they compare to their counterparts in the rest of the U.S.?
*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.
Massachusetts' Living Costs for Seniors
Compared to the national average, Massachusetts is an expensive state to retire. It has a housing index of 137.70. One bedroom apartments average out to $1,067 a month ($825 a month is the US average). If you desire more space, a two bedroom apartment goes for an average of $1,335 a month ($1,027 a month is the US average).
Time to take a closer look at the monthly costs of living in Massachusetts for seniors. The average home health care costs are approximately $4,814 a month. Home health care services enable seniors to live in their own homes. Service aides assist them with housekeeping duties and completing everyday errands.
Adult day care facilities exist in Massachusetts to provide day supervision for seniors while their caregivers are busy tending to their other responsibilities and errands. The cost to stay at an adult day care facility in this state averages out to $1,408 per month. Since adult day care doesn't include 24/7 skilled nursing care, it's ideal for elders who are mostly independent but could use some social activities.
Massachusetts also has assisted living facilities throughout the state for elders requiring more assistance with their day-to-day tasks. Residents can expect to pay an average of $5,599 a month to stay at an assisted living facility and receive personal care and health services.
Seniors who need round the clock supervision and care beyond the capabilities of their family caregivers may consider a nursing home in the state. Unfortunately, nursing home care is quite pricey in Massachusetts, with an average cost of $11,710 a month for a semi-private room and $12,471 for a private room. However, relatives can be assured that their aging loved one(s) have access to medication, housing, supervision, skilled nursing care 24/7, therapies, and rehabilitation at a nursing home facility.
Living Options for Seniors in Massachusetts
Elderly retirees have several living options to choose from in Massachusetts depending on individual needs: independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care. Learn more about each option below and get an idea of which one best suits you or your aging loved one's lifestyle.
Home to more than 280 independent living facilities, there is no shortage of senior living options in Massachusetts for those who are healthy, active, and don't require 24/7 nursing care. Healthy seniors can also opt for apartment living where they can live amongst others in their age range and take advantage of amenities like walking trails, fitness centers, pools, and more. The average costs of independent living facilities here range from $694 to $4,187 a month, depending on where you stay. The Worcester area is known for having more affordable facilities while the Boston – Cambridge – Newton areas are more costly.
Seniors requiring attending caregivers, healthcare, and access to local activities and social opportunities will benefit from staying at an assisted living facility in Massachusetts. For anywhere from $1,263 to $7,613 a month, elderly residents can expect to receive help with housekeeping duties, laundry, transportation, meal services, and 24-hour safety surveillance. Similar to independent living facilities, the costs vary greatly depending on location, with facilities in the metropolitan area being generally more expensive.
Memory care facilities are the best options for seniors living with Alzheimer's or dementia. There are more than 350 memory care facilities in Massachusetts, at an average cost of $91,297 per year. Memory care facilities have specialized staff who can best tend to the needs of seniors with their issues on memory loss. Staff will help patients with their day to day tasks, providing all their meals, and providing medical attention by an on-site physician when needed.
Massachusetts may be relatively small in size, but it is packed with nearly 1,000 senior living providers. Any and all health needs, mental needs, and varying levels of day to day assistance can be found here.
Adult day care centers have staff available through all hours of the day to assist seniors with their daily tasks that they may not be able to do on their own. Staff will help with medications, personal hygiene, taking walks if possible, and much more. Adult daycare centers cost $16,900 per year, with a range in cost from $1,200 a month up to $2,850 a month. Seniors will have no trouble finding a local daycare center in Massachusetts, as there are 83 facilities within the state.
Terminally ill patients will find 103 hospices to choose from in Massachusetts. Hospices help terminally ill patients to live their remaining days in a calm environment, and as pain free as possible through medications and therapy. Chaplain services are generally apart of hospices to provide spiritual support, as well as on site physicians to help with health monitoring.
Respite care facilities are in place to offer temporary care so that a family caregiver can be relieved of the stresses of caregiving responsibilities. There are many ways of utilizing respite care, from interval care where a trained professional comes to care for the senior certain hours of the day, and certain days of the week, or where the senior resides in a respite care facility for as long as needed. The average cost of respite care is $126,290 per year in Massachusetts, with costs varying hugely due to all the variables involved with respite care needs.
U.S. Census Bureau, ACS 1-Year Estimates Subject Tables (2010, 2017 and 2018)
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