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Rhode Island was the last of the original 13 colonies to become a state, which makes it one of the very oldest U.S. states. This aged nature of Rhode Island extends not only to its literal age but also to the state’s figurative age. That’s because both the median age and the percentage of older adults are above average in Rhode Island compared to its counterparts across the country.
Just over 400,000 residents of the state are 50 and older. While this seems like a small number, it actually represents nearly 40 percent of the state’s total population. And the median age in Rhode Island is 40 years old, which is more than a year-and-a-half older than the overall U.S. median age. In both cases, Rhode Island ranks No. 10 among all states. What else can demographic, economic and health data teach us about Rhode Island’s senior population and how they stack up to other groups across the country?
Some evidence suggests Rhode Island’s position as one of the figuratively oldest states may be slipping — the median age rose by only about 1 percent between 2010 and 2018, which was one of the slowest rates in the country. And while a higher-than-average percentage of people 55-plus are still in the workforce, median household income for those 65 and up is lower in Rhode Island than in the nation as a whole.
*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.
Rhode Island's Senior Living Costs
Rhode Island is one of the pricier states to retire in, with a housing index of 121.70. Seniors with the disposable income to live somewhere more expensive will still enjoy retiring in Rhode Island because it has plenty to offer in retirement. Those who are used to living in even more expensive areas like New York City or a more costly part of New England will not be too bothered by Rhode Island's living costs.
Let's take a look at the monthly costs of living in Rhode Island for seniors. First and foremost, seniors who are able to live in their own homes but need some help with housekeeping and errands will benefit from home health care services, which costs on average $4,385 a month in this state.
Elderly people who need to stay a supervised adult day care facility during the day can expect to pay an average of $1,625 per month. Bear in mind that adult day care does not include extensive nursing care, so it's ideal for those who are mostly independent but could use some social activities, therapy, and health services.
Assisted living facilities exist throughout Rhode Island to provide elders more help with their everyday tasks. It costs around $5,155 a month for seniors to receive personal care and health services.
Last but not least, older people who are not able to live independently at home and do not have caregivers to provide for and help them will benefit from staying at a nursing home in Rhode Island. On top of housing, nursing homes provide 24/7 supervision and care, medication, skilled nursing, and therapies and rehabilitation. The cost for a semi-private room is roughly $8,486 a month, while a private room is about $8,669 a month.
Living Options for Rhode Island's Seniors
Retirees in Rhode Island have plenty of choices when it comes to living options. Depending on individual needs, seniors can pick between independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care. Learn more about each option below and determine which one best suits your lifestyle.
Rhode Island is home to more than 40 independent living facilities statewide. Seniors who are healthy, active, and don't need round the clock nursing care will typically prefer to live independently. It costs anywhere from $1,003 to $3,513 a month to stay at a Rhode Island independent living facility.
The state also offers a plethora of apartment choices for seniors 55+ or 65+ depending on the community. Active senior communities typically offer useful amenities like fitness centers, walking trails, pools and jacuzzis, meeting rooms, and more for residents to enjoy.
There are more than 60 assisted living facilities in The Ocean State. Seniors who need attentive caregivers, healthcare, and access to local activities and social opportunities to thrive in life will benefit from staying at an assisted living facility. Residents can expect to get help with housekeeping duties, laundry, transportation, meal services, and 24-hour safety surveillance. It costs anywhere from $1,825 to $6,388 a month to stay at an assisted living facility in Rhode Island.
Dementia is a growing ailment of seniors across the nation. Memory care facilities specialize in making life easier and less stressful for seniors suffering from dementia. There are more than 70 memory care facilities in Rhode Island, with an average cost of $85,173 per year. Depending on the severity of dementia a senior may have will affect the overall costs. Costs can range from $2,646 a month at a minimum, up to $9,262 a month for seniors with advanced stages of dementia that significantly limit their ability to function and require greater care.
Currently, there are 170 senior living providers in Rhode Island. This is not a lot compared to other states, and may become a problem in the coming years as Rhode Island's senior population is expected to increase by 75% by 2040. However, seniors will be able to find the care they need within the state if needed.
There are 10 adult daycare centers in Rhode Island, with an average annual cost of $17,160. This a bit lower than the national average, but still provides a great level of care. Seniors will receive help with any tasks they need help with, such as personal grooming, transportation, medications, and more. Group activities often happen at adult daycare centers as well, so that seniors can get to know each other and make new friends. This helps to ward off boredom and loneliness.
As for hospices, there are 11 located within Rhode Island. Terminally ill patients generally do very well at hospices, with their specialized care and focus on helping seniors to live with acceptance and peace. Counseling is available for the patients as well as for their families. Hospice care can be paid for by Medicaid, Medicare, or private insurances. Hospices have dedicated staffs to help ensure all necessary paperworks are filled out to have insurance cover the costs.
Respite care is a huge help to unpaid primary caregivers, by providing temporary assistance in the care of an elderly loved one. Respite care can be arranged to be a few hours a week, a few days a week, or for months with no set end time in a fully monitored respite care facility. Whatever assistance a primary caregiver may need, and whatever needs a senior may have, respite care will be able to provide the necessary help. There are 88 respite care facilities operating in Rhode Island. Respite care costs $91,250 a year on average, with a monthly range of costs from $8,613 to $13,268.
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