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Texas is one of the youngest U.S. states, with a median age of just 34.9 years. Only Utah and the District of Columbia are younger, according to median age, and only about 30 percent of Texas residents are over the age of 50.
Where does the state stand when it comes to vital statistics surrounding the senior population? While it’s true that the state is young, its population overall is quite diverse, and that diversity extends to the older-adult segment, too. About 44 percent of Texas residents over the age of 60 are people of color, making Texas seniors the fifth-most diverse group in the U.S.
While the state is something of an outlier when it comes to age and diversity, in many other ways, Texas seniors are pretty representative of the nation overall. What else can we learn about Texas seniors, including where we stand demographically and economically, and what are some important resources for older adults here in Texas?
*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.
Senior Living Costs in Texas
Boasting a housing index of 90.40, Texas is more affordable to retire in than other states in the country on average. A one bedroom apartment in Texas averages out to $723 a month in rent, while the national average for a similar apartment goes for $825. Need a bit more space? You can get a two bedroom apartment in the state for $903 a month. The national average for a similar two bedroom apartment comes out to $1,027. Some of the best cities to retire in Texas include Richardson and Abilene. Richardson is a reasonable distance from Dallas and Downtown, making it easy to get around. Abilene is an average-sized city, and as you might expect, there are a good amount of restaurants and stores easily accessible.
Wondering what the numbers look like as far as monthly senior living costs go in Texas? Let's get a better idea.
Seniors living in their own residences may need some home health care services depending on circumstances. These services may include things like housekeeping, help with running errands, and meal prep, for example. On average, it costs $3,718 a month to take advantage of home health care services. Elderly individuals without caregivers who want to live at home may consider hiring a home health aide to receive more extensive personal care. Home health aides cost an average of $3,813 a month in Texas.
Adult day care centers operate throughout the state to provide seniors a supervised place to stay in the daytime while their caregivers are busy tending to their other obligations. On average, it costs $758 a month to stay at an adult day care facility. Compared to many other states in the country, this is a very low fee. Bear in mind that adult day care does not include extensive nursing care, so it's ideal for older people who are mostly independent but could use some social activities to keep them busy, and therapeutic and health services.
Texas has plenty of assisted living facilities statewide to provide the elderly assistance with Activities of Daily Living. It costs an average of $3,500 a month to take advantage of health services and receive personal care at an assisted living facility in The Lone Star State. Bear in mind that assisted living is not an alternative to nursing home care; instead, it is essentially an intermediate form of long-term care.
Elderly who cannot live independently at home and do not have caregivers who can provide for them to live their best final years may want to consider staying at a nursing home in Texas. In addition to housing, nursing homes provide round the clock supervision and nursing care, along with medications, therapy, and rehabilitation as needed. The cost for a semi-private room is roughly $4,563 a month, while a completely private room is about $6,053 a month in this state. Compared to the national average, nursing home care in Texas is very reasonably priced.
Living Options for Senior Texans
The senior living options are endless in Texas. Depending on individual circumstances and needs, retirees can opt for independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care. Learn more about what each option entails, and decide from there which one suits your lifestyle best.
Seniors who are healthy, active, and don't require round the clock nursing care typically prefer independent living. This way, they get their own privacy and are able to be comfortable in their own residences. There are more than 730 independent living facilities in Texas, and it can cost anywhere from $453 to $4,732 a month to stay in one. The more affordable facilities are found in the Laredo area, while the pricier ones are in the Midland metropolitan area.
Apartment living is the most common form of independent living. Seniors choose to stay at an apartment community designated for people 55+ or 65+ of age, so they are able to live amongst people in their age range. Additionally, active seniors communities typically offer services like transportation to help elderly residents get around. Apartments also often have attractive amenities like workout rooms, walking trails, pools and jacuzzis, and dog parks for residents to enjoy.
Elderly individuals who have the budget and preference to buy their own home can look into single family homes, condos, townhomes, or mobile homes in a senior community. Texas' home value index is $174,300, which is extremely affordable compared to other hot retirement spots like California with a home value index of $524,000, or Hawaii with a home value index of $620,400.
Texas is home to more than 1,500 assisted living facilities statewide. These operate to provide seniors with access to local activities, social opportunities, and the healthcare they need to thrive. Experienced and attentive caregivers work to help the elderly with housekeeping duties, transportation, laundry, meal services, and more. These facilities are also monitored all day and night to ensure resident safety.
The average cost of assisted living facilities in The Lone Star State ranges from $825 to $8,605 depending on a variety of factors like location. Similar to independent living, costs are higher in the metropolitan areas and are more affordable in the suburban towns.
Texas has over 1,100 memory care facilities in the state, providing specialized care to seniors with dementia and other memory loss ailments. Staff at memory care facilities will help seniors with their day to day tasks, like personal grooming and taking medications. Staff are also trained on how to help seniors calm down from frequent emotional breakdowns caused by dementia.
The cost of memory care in Texas averages $61,291 a year, with Midland having the highest costs per year averaging $90,090. Laredo has the lowest average costs at $35,640 a year. Memory care is well worth the costs for a senior with dementia, and it may be a relief to know that insurances may help with covering costs. Medicare will not cover long term skilled nursing care though, so seniors should check what will and will not be covered by their insurance options.
Keeping in step with ‘everything's bigger in Texas,' the same goes for its senior population. Texas has the third highest senior population in the country, but still one of the youngest states in the nation. This is great news for seniors, as this means there is a large working age population paying into the tax state funds, which in part go towards senior care. Most other states do not have this benefit, because their overall population is actually going up in age, with a drop in working age residents to contribute to the state coffers. Therefore, retirees in Texas, or coming to Texas, can expect to receive quality care from one of the 5,000+ senior living providers in the state, including adult day care, hospice care, and respite care.
Adult Day Care
There are over 100 adult day care facilities in Texas to help families take care of their elderly loved one. Adult day care provides a place for a senior to reside during the day where they'll receive all their meals and get any assistance needed with day to day tasks. This is a great option for families that are busy during the day with their own jobs and unable to provide senior care.
Another big benefit of adult day care, is the social aspect of it. Seniors will not harbor feelings of neglect or feel alone, as they'll be able to meet and develop friendships with other seniors, as well as with the staff. Adult day care centers in Texas have group activities that can be both physically stimulating, such as live music for dancing, or cognitively stimulating, like trivia nights and puzzles.
The average cost of adult day care in Texas is $8,970 a year, much lower than most other states. And that is just the state average, there are areas where adult day care can be even lower, like the McAllen and Edinburg areas that have an average adult day care cost of $6,240 a year. Some of the most expensive areas include Wichita Falls where the annual cost of adult day care can reach a much higher $32,500.
Hospice care is strictly for terminally ill seniors. Families often make the mistake of admitting their elderly loved one just days before they pass on, but terminally ill seniors can receive hospice care up to six months from when a doctor believes they'll be deceased. The reason families hold off on admitting a senior into hospice care, is because they feel it is admitting defeat and that there are no other options. But in the event the doctor's prognosis is wrong and a senior lives beyond the 6 months, then their condition can be reviewed and renewed to keep receiving hospice care.
In any case, once a senior is eligible for hospice care, it is of great benefit to use it as soon as possible. Hospice care approaches terminally ill seniors from several angles, from medications for the physical pain, grief counseling for the emotional pain, and chaplain services for any spiritual healing. This approach is therapeutic for both the senior and their family, as it helps everyone understand this final stage of life better, and to live through it with as much tranquility and acceptance as possible.
Hospice care is almost always covered by the Medicare Hospice Benefit, so terminally ill seniors and their families will not be responsible for the majority of the costs, if not all of the costs. Seniors on Medicaid will also have hospice care provided free of charge through the Medicaid Hospice Benefit which is eligible in Texas as well. With all this in mind, and if there is no charges directly to the senior or their family, hospice care should not be ignored as it will greatly increase quality of life for all involved.
Texas generally has strong family ties, with multiple generations living in the same household, or very close to each other. This allows for seniors to be cared for at home, but this can take an emotional toll on the son, daughter, or spouse who has taken on the role of the caregiver. This is where respite care comes in, to provide a professional caretaker for a temporary amount of time, to relieve the primary caregiver so they can take a break and tend to other responsibilities. Primary caregivers should not underestimate the need for a break from caregiving duties, as caregiver burnout is very real, and very debilitating.
Respite care costs is often high in other states, but again thanks to the large working age population within Texas, the cost of respite care in the state is much lower, at an average of $50,735 a year. That is nearly half the cost of the national average. Due to how respite care can be arranged, to either be just a single day, or several days a week on a recurring basis, or entire months at a time, the monthly costs can vary widely. To give a basic idea of what to expect on a monthly basis, the low price point is $4,089 a month up to a high of $11,310 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