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The median age in the U.S. is 38.5, and about 35 percent of Americans are age 50 or older. Washington is considerably younger in multiple ways. One, the median age is about 37.7, and about 34.4 percent of Washington residents are seniors.
What else can statistics tell us about the state of Washington seniors? About 2.6 million of the state’s residents are 50 or older, and Washington has the seventh-highest life expectancy — 80.2 years. And the state should continue being among the youngest in the country, as the median age has risen by just over 1 percent since 2010, compared to a national increase of 2.7 percent.
The state’s median household income for those 65 and older is just under $50,000 per year and is 13th-highest in the nation, while Washington seniors participate in the workforce at a lower-than-average rate.
*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.
Washington's Senior Living Costs
Washington is one of the more costly states to retire in, with a housing index of 120.50. One bedroom apartments average out to $937 a month, compared to the national average of $825 a month for a similar apartment. Need more room? Two bedroom apartments go for an average of $1,179 a month, which is more than the national average of $1,027 a month.
Still interested in retiring here? Let's take a look at the monthly senior living costs in The Evergreen State. On average, home health care costs are $5,053 a month. This fee enables seniors to live comfortably in their own residences while receiving some help from service aides to keep the house clean, run everyday errands, and cook meals.
Adult day care is a great place to stay if you are a senior needing somewhere safe and supervised to spend the day while your caregiver is tending to other obligations. In Washington, adult day care costs around $1,408 a month. Since adult day care does not include extensive care, it is suitable for older people who are mostly independent but could use some socialization and therapy that they wouldn't get during the day at home alone.
Washington also has assisted living facilities operating to serve elders who require more help with their everyday tasks for an average monthly cost of $4,660. Residents of assisted living facilities get access to health services and personal care they need to live well and comfortably.
If you are an older senior requiring round the clock care and supervision, it may be worthwhile to look into nursing home care in Washington. At nursing homes, residents can expect to receive housing, skilled nursing care and personal care, supervision, therapies, and medicines as needed. The cost for a semi-private room is roughly $8,578 a month, while a private room is about $9,447 a month.
Senior Living Options in Washington
Depending on individual circumstances and needs, Washington's seniors have ample options to choose from when it comes to living situation. Retirees here can opt for independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care. Determine which one would be best for you by exploring each option below.
Washington has more than 400 independent living facilities for healthy seniors to choose from. Independent living is best for those who do not need round the clock nursing care. It costs anywhere from $550 to $4,950 a month to stay at an independent living facility in this state.
Prefer apartment style living? The Evergreen State also offers apartment choices for seniors 55+ or 65+ years of age. Residents of these active senior communities are usually able to take advantage of extra amenities like small gyms, walking trails, pools, and more.
There are more than 1,300 assisted living facilities throughout Washington. Seniors who need skilled caregivers, quality healthcare, and access to social opportunities will benefit from staying at an assisted living facility. On top of these advantages, residents can expect to get assistance with laundry, meal services, transportation, and housekeeping duties. Assisted living facilities are also monitored 24/7 to ensure safety.
It costs anywhere from $1,000 to $9,000 a month to stay at an assisted living facility in Washington. If you're on a tight budget, it's advisable to look in the Spokane Valley area where assisted living prices are low. The highest assisted living costs in this state are in the King County area.
Dementia is increasingly one of the greatest concerns facing seniors, as it can be the most debilitating. There are over 800 memory care facilities that are specially equipped and staffed to face the issues seniors will have due to their dementia. The average cost of a memory care facility is $73,950 a year. The costs can range from as little as $1,450 a month up to $13,050 a month. Location can also affect the overall costs, as Seattle and Tacoma tend to have the highest average costs coming in at $99,000 a year. Spokane and its surround areas will have lower cost memory care facilities, averaging $79,200 a year.
Washington currently has nearly 1,700 senior living providers for their growing senior population. Currently, seniors over the age of 65 make up 14.8%, up from 12.3% in 2010.
Adult day cares provide meals, help with taking medications and personal grooming, and socialization with other seniors. The average cost of adult day care centers in Washington is $17,443 per year. Costs can vary greatly depending on location, such as Olympia and Tumwater generally having the most costly adult daycare centers that have an average annual cost of $37,440. As for the lowest cost areas, that would be the Walla Walla area where the average annual cost is just $13,000.
Hospice care is invaluable to terminally ill seniors. Hospices help seniors live out their remaining days in a calm, loving environment with professional care to minimize pain through a combination of medications and holistic approaches such as aromatherapy and grief counseling. There are over 30 hospices in Washington, with costs that can often be covered by private insurances, Medicare, or Medicaid.
Respite care is most often used when the primary caregiver, such as a son or daughter, is overwhelmed by the high demands of senior care. Respite care will provide a professional caregiver to tend to the senior as often as several days a week, for entire months at a time, or as little as a single day. There are about 600 respite care facilities in the state, at an average cost of $92,345 a year. Depending on the amount of care needed, as well as the location of the respite care facility, will affect the final costs, but the range is typically between $4,350 a month up to $15,747 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