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Less than half a million Montana residents have reached at least age 50. While this seems like quite a small number, it actually equates to nearly two in five of all people living in the state, which puts Montana at No. 8 among all states for the relative size of the senior population.
The state’s median age is also among the highest, 40.1 (No. 10), almost two years higher than the overall U.S. median age. What else can we learn from demographic, economic and health metrics about seniors in Montana and their quality of life?
While the state does have a high percentage of people who are eligible for senior discounts at their favorite shops, life expectancy in Montana is about average, and median income for senior-led households is below average, as is the diversity of the Montana senior population.
*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.
Montana's Senior Living Costs
Having a housing index of 102.80, Montana is not the cheapest place to retire as it is slightly over the US average when it comes to cost of living. However, it's also not expensive. The state offers many delights that may make it worthwhile for some seniors to retire here if budget allows. One-bedroom apartments in Montana go for an average of $596 a month (versus the US average of $825 a month), while two-bedroom apartments are around $754 a month (versus the US average of $1027 a month).
Let's look at some of the monthly costs of living in Montana for seniors. The average home health care costs are approximately $4,382 a month. For this cost, service aides help seniors to keep their house clean, run everyday errands, and cook meals for them so that they can live comfortably in their own homes.
Adult day care in Montana is roughly $2,582 a month for seniors to stay at a supervised facility during the day to engage in social activities and receive therapy as needed. Keep in mind that adult day care does not include around the clock care, so it's best for seniors who are mostly independent.
If you are an elder requiring more help with everyday activities, you may find living in an assisted living facility in Montana a good fit. For an average monthly cost of $3,650 a month, seniors receive personal care and health services here.
Seniors requiring round the clock care and supervision will most likely live best in a nursing home in Montana. Skilled nurses and staff are able to properly care for the elders so that relative caregivers don't have to worry as much about their aging loved ones. The cost for a semi-private room is roughly $7,209 a month, while a private room is about $7,972 a month. Regardless of which type of room is chosen, residents can expect to receive personal care, medication, housing, supervision, skilled nursing care 24/7, and therapies and rehabilitation.
Living Options for Montana's Seniors
The living options for Montana's seniors are plentiful. Retirees can choose between independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care depending on individual needs. Determine which one best suits your lifestyle by learning more about each option below.
Montana has more than 68 independent living facilities to serve seniors in the state who are healthy, active, and don't require round the clock nursing care. The average costs of staying at one of these can range anywhere from $825 to $3,222 a month. Elderly also have the option to live at a senior apartment community designated for individuals 55+ or 65+. Active senior communities typically include useful amenities like fitness centers, walking trails, clubhouse, meeting rooms, and more for residents to enjoy.
More than 140 assisted living facilities are available throughout Montana to provide seniors with attentive caregivers, healthcare, and access to local activities and social opportunities. Relatives of loved ones can be assured that their aging loved one will receive help with housekeeping duties, laundry, transportation, meal services, and 24-hour safety surveillance.
The average cost of assisted living facilities in the state range from $1,500 to $5,859 a month depending on a variety of factors like location. If you're looking to stretch your dollar, then you may want to consider looking at facilities in the Billings area. The higher assisted living costs in the state are found in the Missoula metropolitan area.
Memory care facilities in Montana average $57,420 a year with a low cost per month of $2,175 per month, up to $8,495 a month. Missoula has the largest concentration of the highest cost memory care facilities, reaching up to $9,900 a month, while Billings and its surrounding areas have the lowest cost facilities as low as $1,650 a month. Memory care facilities are the top choice for families needing to find a senior living arrangement for their loved one with dementia or Alzheimer's. They have skilled staff who are experienced with assisting seniors who are losing their memories of how to do day to day tasks, to where they are or even who they are.
Montana is one of the largest states, and one of the sparest. While a small state like New Jersey may have nearly 1,000 senior living providers, Montana only has 237 amongst its spread out, small towns.
Of those 237 senior living providers, 25 are dedicated adult daycare centers. They cost an average of $21,320 per year, with the highest rates located in Missoula metro area at $24,960 a year. The Great Falls area has the lowest rates in the state for adult daycare centers, with an average of $17,638 per year.
Terminally ill patients will be able to choose from 38 hospices in Montana. They can be funded with Medicare, Medicaid, or private insurances. Hospices usually have a rule that the patient must be within six months of dying due to their terminal illness, however this rule can be extended. Hospices are excellent at reducing the pain associated with a terminal illness, and also offer grief counseling and chaplain services.
It can be especially difficult for a spouse or son/daughter to care for their elderly loved one in Montana, due to how remote each town is. Respite care can take in a senior temporarily to give relief to the primary caregiver, or in some cases send a professional caregiver to come to the home of the senior at regular intervals. Such a service is best for primary caregivers who must tend to their own family or regular job, and are unable to give the care their senior loved one needs. There are 79 respite care facilities in Montana at an average cost of $73,365 a year, with a range of $7,395 up to $13,050 a month.
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