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Less than 1 million Utah residents are old enough to get a discount at their favorite restaurant. In other words, only about one in four people in the state are age 50 or older, and Utah remains one of the youngest states across several measures. What else can we learn from demographic, health and economic data about the age of the state and the quality of life for Utah seniors?
The median age here in Utah is just 31 years, the youngest median age among the states and more than seven years younger than the overall U.S. median age. Utah’s residents also tend to live longer than the average American, as the state’s median age of 79.6 is about a year longer than the average U.S. life expectancy.
While Utah can be considered one of the youngest states in the country, that could be changing in the near future. That’s because the rate at which the median age in Utah rose between 2010 and 2018 was the fastest in the U.S. — 6.2 percent. That increase is more than double the rate at which the overall U.S. median rate rose in that time.
*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.
Cost of Living for Utah’s Seniors
Compared to the national average, Utah boasts reasonable costs of living. One bedroom apartments go for an average of $682 a month, while the U.S. average sits at $825 a month. On average, two bedrooms go for $842 a month, while the U.S. average is $1,027 a month.
Let’s review the numbers for Utah’s monthly senior living costs. If you are a senior who can live comfortably at home with just some help with housekeeping duties, running errands, and prepping meals, then you may benefit from home health care services that go for an average monthly cost of $4,290 in this state.
Seniors requiring more help with accomplishing everyday tasks may consider staying at an assisted living facility in Utah. For an average monthly cost of $3,150 a month, elderly individuals can be assured they are well taken care of by health professionals and staff members.
Adult day care facilities operate statewide to provide Utah’s seniors with a safe and supervised place to spend the day while caregivers are busy tending to their other obligations. It costs around $1,333 a month to stay at an adult day care facility in this state. Since exclusive nursing care is not inclusive of adult day care, it’s best for seniors who are mostly independent and healthy.
Finally, Utah’s nursing homes operate to provide seniors with round the clock care and supervision. On top of housing of course, residents of nursing homes can expect to receive both personal and skilled nursing care, medication, supervision, and medications and therapy as needed. The more affordable option for seniors needing to stay at a nursing home would be the semi-private room, which goes for an average of approximately $5,627 a month. Fancy a little more privacy? A private room is about $6,965 a month in Utah. Compared to the national average, nursing home care in Utah is reasonably priced.
Utah’s Living Choices for Seniors
Utah’s seniors have a good amount of living options to choose from. Depending on individual needs, they can opt for independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care. Below, you’ll find extensive information on each option so that you can make an informed choice.
Utah is home to more than 85 independent living facilities, and it costs anywhere from $907 to $3,437 a month to stay in one. Independent living is ideal for older people who are healthy and active, and don’t require 24/7 nursing care. The state also offers plenty of apartment choices for seniors 55+ or 65+ of age, most of which offer attractive amenities like fitness centers, walking trails, and pools & jacuzzis for residents to enjoy.
There are 122 facilities in Utah that specialize in memory care. Memory care is for seniors suffering from dementia related issues, helping to reduce the stress and helplessness often caused by memory loss. Memory care costs $53,261 a year, ranging from $2,392 a month up to $9,062 a month. Provo and Orem have the lowest memory care costs, maxing out at $6,270 a month. Compare that to Salt Lake City, where memory care can cost as high as $11,138 a month.
There are more than 180 assisted living facilities operating in Utah to give the elderly support via caregivers, healthcare, and access to local activities and social opportunities. For an average of anywhere from $1,650 to $6,250 a month, residents can expect to receive help with housekeeping duties, laundry, transportation, meal services, and 24-hour staffing to ensure safety. Looking to save money on living expenses? Look around the Provo-Orem area, where the assisted living costs are lowest. Those who have the disposable income to spend more on assisted living can look around the Salt Lake City metropolitan area, where assisted living costs are higher.
Utah’s 65 and over population has the 6th fastest growth rate in the nation, reaching 544,529 seniors by 2030, an increase of 155%. Utah has began implementing a new plan to meet the increased need for elderly nutrition, transportation, and caregiving. These efforts are coming a bit late though, with only 359 senior living providers within the state.
One of the best ways to care for seniors is through adult daycare centers, where they can be looked after while family members tend to their day jobs and other responsibilities. Adult day care centers provide meals and assistance with personal grooming and other daily tasks when needed. The average cost for an adult daycare center in Utah is $12,090 a year, which is far below the national average. Logan has the highest cost adult daycare centers with an average cost of $25,350 per year. Salt Lake City, the biggest city in the state, surprisingly has the lowest cost adult daycare centers, coming in at $12,350 a year.
There are more than 150 hospices in Utah, providing excellent care for terminally ill seniors. The cost of hospice care can often be covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurances. Hospice staff will be able to assist any interested parties with completing the insurance paperwork. Other services provided by hospices is chaplain services for spiritual needs, counseling for emotional support, and an on-site physician for any serious medical issues. Staff will be able to administer medications that safely reduce pain and suffering a senior may experiencing due to their terminal illness as well.
Respite care facilities are very popular in Utah, providing temporary care while a familial caregiver takes care of other work or to have time off. Respite provides professional care of a senior for however long is needed. Respite care can be arranged to be just a single day one time, or specific hours of specific days on a weekly basis. Respite care can even be for months at a time, with the senior fully looked after in a facility with dedicated staff and trained medical professionals. The average cost of respite care in Utah is $62,963 a year. Costs can be as little as $5,655 a month or up to $14,051 a month depending on location and how much assistance the senior may need.
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