One of the first questions to emerge during the search for an assisted living community is how much it will cost. Many variables will factor into the total cost of assisted living, including the types and amount of services you choose, along with the assisted living facility’s size and location.
In a recent report published by the National Center for Assisted Living, over 800,000 Americans live in assisted living facilities.
Over half of them are 85 years of age or older and require help with at least some of the activities of daily living (ADLs).
The average cost for these residents throughout the country is approximately $4,300 per month or $48,000 annually, according to the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey. The individual states reveal a wide range of monthly costs from under $3,000 to just short of $6,000.
However, before looking at the costs in specific states, here are a few things to consider and perhaps some misconceptions to clear up:
Living at Home Will Not Always Be Less Expensive Than Assisted Living
Given a choice, many seniors would prefer to live independently. And with technologies to monitor them, many can live at home safely. But the debate on the cost of living at home versus at an assisted living facility is often one-sided. It fails to consider the entire collection of services a facility can offer.
An older adult’s cost to live at home goes well beyond the mortgage, rent, or utility payments. Numerous other essentials for senior care are often overlooked when comparing prices. For instance, while living at home may give an aging parent or loved one a feeling of independence, it could also limit opportunities for daily activities and social interactions.
Considering the many services that assisted living facilities offer, the cost of assisted living is often comparable to the cost of living at home. The services provided at the facility would have to be provided by family members or professional caregivers.
Keeping in mind that social and fitness activities, both of which are routinely offered in assisted living communities, the costs could be relatively equal.
Here are five states with the lowest cost of assisted living and five with the highest.
Living Alone Is Not the Only Way to Remain Independent
Maintaining independence is important to many people as they get older. It’s not surprising that a vast majority of older adults say they want to age in place. However, twenty percent of adults 85 or older report that they need help or are getting help with activities of daily living (ADLs). Here’s how it breaks down:
• 64% need help bathing
• 57% need help walking
• 48% need help getting dressed
• 40% need help with toileting
• 29% need assistance transferring to and from bed
• 19% need help to feed themselves
For those older adults who require help with the ADLs, an assisted living community could be the most practical way to remain as independent as possible.
Medicaid May Help Cover the Cost of Assisted Living, but Medicare Will Not Most residents in an assisted living community pay for their care from their resources or the coverage provided by long-term care insurance. Quite a few states offer home and community based waiver programs to help low-income residents afford assisted living. Check your state’s Medicaid website and directory for more information.
Although your health insurance and prescription coverage will continue, Medicare typically does not pay for assisted living.