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About 2.4 million residents of Tennessee are age 50 or older. This age group has a range of unique issues and aspects, and understanding details about their status here in Tennessee is important.
Largely, Tennessee’s seniors are fairly well-representative of the nation as a whole. For example, our state has a nearly identical percentage of those 50 and older (36 percent compared to 35.3 percent), and the median age has risen by a similar percentage since 2010. Today, the average Tennessean is 38.9, just over the U.S. median age of 38.5.
What else can we learn from statistics about where seniors here in Tennessee stand in a range of health, demographic and financial matters?
*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.
Tennessee's Senior Living Costs
The Volunteer State boasts a housing index of 87.60, making it one of the more affordable places to spend the golden years. One bedroom apartments go for an average of $623 a month statewide ($825 a month is the US average), and two bedrooms go for an average of $770 a month ($1,027 a month is the US average).
Curious about what the numbers look like when it comes to the monthly senior living costs in Tennessee? Let's take a look. Firstly, the home health care costs average out to around $3,546 a month. Home health care services enable seniors to live comfortably in their own homes while receiving aid to keep the house clean, complete everyday errands, and prep meals.
Adult day care centers are available in the state for seniors requiring a supervised facility to stay at during the day. It costs around $1,408 a month to stay at an adult day care facility in Tennessee. Bear in mind that since adult day care does not include round the clock care, it's perfect for seniors who are mostly independent but could use some socialization, therapy, and health services as needed.
Tennessee also has a good amount of assisted living facilities for the elderly requiring more assistance with their everyday tasks. For an average monthly cost of $3,595, seniors are able to take advantage of personal care and health services.
Last but not least, seniors who cannot live independently and do not have a caregiver to provide for them will benefit from staying at a nursing home in Tennessee. It costs around $6,110 a month to stay in a semi-private room, and $6,600 a month to stay in a private room. Nursing homes provide residents with personal care, medication, housing, supervision, skilled nursing care 24/7, and therapies and rehabilitation.
Living Options for Tennessee's Seniors
The living options for Tennessee's seniors are ample. Retirees can choose between independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care depending on individual needs. Review each option below to determine which one best suits your lifestyle.
There are 200 independent living facilities statewide in Tennessee. Seniors who are healthy, active, and don't require round the clock nursing care will generally prefer this form of living. It costs anywhere from $715 to $3,080 a month to stay at an independent living facility in Tennessee. For those who prefer apartment style living, The Volunteer State also offers plenty of apartment choices for seniors 55+ or 65+ of age. Active senior communities often include attractive amenities for residents to enjoy, such as fitness centers, walking trails, pools and jacuzzis, meeting rooms, and more.
Tennessee is home to more than 460 assisted living facilities, which operate to provide seniors with caregivers, healthcare, and access to local activities and social opportunities. Staying at an assisted living facility, residents can expect to get assistance with housekeeping duties, laundry, transportation, meal services, and 24-hour staffing to ensure safety. It costs anywhere from $1,300 to $5,600 to stay at an assisted living facility in Tennessee. The Morristown area has the lowest assisted living costs, while the highest assisted living costs in Tennessee are located in the Kingsport – Bristol metropolitan areas.
Memory care facilities in Tennessee cost $60,291 a year on average. The costs can vary greatly depending on location and how far along the senior's dementia has progressed. The cost range is from $1,885 a month up to $8,120 a month. Kingsport and Bristol have the highest average costs at $79,151 a year, while Morristown has the lowest average cost of $59,469 a year. While costly, no other facility cares for seniors with memory loss ailments as well as a memory care facility that have experienced staff and 24/7 monitoring to reduce the frustrations caused by dementia.
Tennessee is facing a growth in its senior population congruent with most other states. Also like other states, Tennessee isn't fully prepared for the growing senior population, but has been taking steps to cover the needs of seniors currently residing in the state, which makes up 15.7% of the overall population. Those steps include having an impressive 887 senior living providers in the state.
Of those 887 senior living providers, more than 70 are adult daycare centers. Adult daycare centers help seniors get through each day with peace of mind, knowing they'll have all the assistance they may need with personal grooming, medications, and getting nutritious meals. The average annual cost of adult daycare centers in Tennessee is $14,300. The Jackson metropolitan area has the highest average cost of adult daycare, at a very high $34,320 a year. Morristown is at the opposite side of the costs spectrum, coming in at a very low $11,050 per year.
As for hospices, there are more than 100 operating in Tennessee. Terminally ill seniors are best treated at a hospice, which specialize in easing the pain and suffering typically associated with a terminal illness. Hospices also provide emotional and spiritual support through grief counseling and chaplain services. An on-site physician can assist with any advanced health issues that may arise during a senior's time at a hospice. As far as hospice costs, they can generally be covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurances.
Respite care is best for seniors under the care of a family member. A family member caring for an elderly loved one can get burned out from the high demands of caring for a senior, especially if the senior has complicated health issues. Respite care will be able to provide a professional caregiver for a temporary amount of time, as little as a few hours a day, or an open ended amount of time in a fully equipped care facility. There are 385 respite care facilities in Tennessee, with an average annual cost of $67,525.
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