As we age, our social circles can shrink and we can feel isolated. Additionally, doing things all on our own can start to get challenging. When the time comes, we, or our loved ones, might start the search for additional support.
The first step to make in this decision process is to either bring the care to home (in-home care) or the other way around (senior living).
When you choose senior living as the option for you or your loved one, you ensure you are receiving as close to the proper health care as possible, but it can give those just starting their journey sticker shock when viewing some senior living pricing.
However, the reality is that aging in place at home can be just as—if not, more—expensive than some senior living options.
Did you know…
The cost of hiring a Home Care Home Health Aide in 2020 was $54,912!
According to a Genworth study, hiring a Home Health Aide places it higher than the cost of assisted living.
Plus, when combining this cost of professional care on top of the total costs of a homeownership (mortgage/rent, food, utilities, home maintenance, property taxes, insurance, transportation, entertainment, and healthcare), it can make for an expensive equation.
Senior living bundles all of these expenses into one easy yearly or monthly fee.
While the cost of senior living is one of the biggest concerns for families there’s much more that goes into this decision than price.
How Much Does it Cost to Live in a Senior Living Community?
The cost to live in a senior living community ranges widely, but you can expect to pay between $2,000 to $12,000 or more a month. The majority of communities will fall between $4,000 to $8,000 in monthly fees, but this will depend on a variety of factors including the size of the apartment, the type of services needed, and the location of the senior living community.
Generally, the higher levels of care typically have higher costs because you are paying healthcare professionals for their service.
There may also be entrance fees and other additional fees that affect the bottom line price of any senior living option that you choose.
Learn more about each option below:
Cost of Independent Living
Independent living is a type of retirement community that is ideal for active older adults who require little daily assistance, but seek a vibrant social community without the hassle of chores and home upkeep. Residents live in a private studio or a one- or two-bedroom apartments within an independent living community of seniors in a similar age group.
There is little published data on average costs, but you can typically expect to pay a monthly cost of about $1,000 to $6,000 which covers services as dining, housekeeping and social activities.
Cost of Assisted Living
Assisted living is a senior care option that is ideal for seniors who cherish their independence but also need assistance with activities of daily living (ADLS). Residents enjoy the same amenities available in a community (like independent living), but they receive additional support which may increase the price.
According to Genworth Care Survey, which has been following cost trends since 2004, the average annual cost of a private one-bedroom in an assisted living community in 2020 is $51,600.
That’s just the average annual cost, remember, these assisted living costs can vary widely from state to state. On the Frontier Management site alone there are 120 location across 19 states—the assisted living costs of each can vary widely depending on the location.
On the high-end of the spectrum, the state of Massachusetts has a monthly median cost of $6,085; meanwhile, Alabama has a monthly median of only $3,150 (Genworth). These monthly rates cover housing, personal care, and support with such tasks as bathing, dressing, and medication management.
Cost of Memory Care
Memory care is a senior living option that is specifically designed to nurture and support those with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Residents enjoy many of the same amenities and social activities of the previous two types of communities, but they also receive personal care that’s tailored to their increased safety needs.
There is not much official published data on memory care, as these can be facilities of their own or units within assisted living communities.
Generally, the cost of care may increase as the disease progresses and becomes harder and harder to manage.
For example, someone in the mid-stages may only have to pay monthly costs of about $4,000 while someone in the more severe stages who need constant hands-on care could expect to pay monthly costs of about $7,500. This covers 24-hour supervised care with meals, activities, monetary, and health management services.
Cost of Nursing Home
Skilled nursing and rehabilitation communities provide two types of care: short-term services for those who require 24-hour nursing care following an operation or other type of hospital stay, and long-term care for those with chronic health issues who can no longer live independently.
According to the Genworth Care Survey, the average annual cost of a private room in a nursing home in 2020 is $105,850.
Again, this could depend on the location with Massachusetts having a monthly cost of $13,535 and Alabama having $6,911.
Daily rates can also range for each type of care, with short-term stays typically having a daily rate that is significantly lower than the annual cost of long-term care. Medicare may even cover some or all of the stay, for example, if a senior needs skilled nursing care for an average of 15 days, Medicare will cover up to 20 days. Past this benefit period, however, the amount you pay is still fortunately manageable at around $175 daily.
On the other hand, Medicare typically does not cover long-term care services in a nursing home which means your daily rate might range from $189 per day in a place like Missouri to $1,196 per day in Alaska.
These daily costs cover skilled nursing, health care, and 24-hour supervised care by a licensed physician or nurse as well as physical, speech, and occupational therapists.
How to Pay For Senior Living
Now that you better understand the cost and value of senior living, let’s discuss how you, your family members, or your loved one can pay for senior living.
Just as there are a variety of senior living options out there, there are also a variety of options to help you offset these costs. Talk to your loved one about:
- Long-term care insurance and other health Insurance options
- Pension, retirement benefits, and personal property that may be potential income
- Programs in which the senior may be eligible, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Benefits, and more
- Potential tax deductions
- Analyzing yours or your loved one’s investment portfolio with long-term needs in mind
Finding your Community Today
If you tour and fall in love with one senior living community make sure to keep the positive impact on quality of life in the equation!
What is the value of a satisfying social life? What is the worth of rediscovering the cultural and wellness activities you’ve always loved?
Remember, there’s no price tag on peace of mind!