Get help understanding the cost of assisted living. Seniorly can help you prepare for assisted living costs by explaining what you get for your money.
According to our data, the national average for assisted living costs in 2019 is $4,468 per month. This is closely aligned with the Genworth’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey reporting of a national average of $4,051 per month. To see a breakdown of assisted living costs according to Genworth and Seniorly families, take a look at the table below to find the average costs for some of the most expensive and inexpensive states across the United States.
Highest Average Monthly Assisted Living Costs by State (2019)
*Genworth data as of their 2019 Cost of Care Survey.
Lowest Average Monthly Assisted Living Costs by State (2019)
*Genworth data as of their 2019 Cost of Care Survey.
When evaluating the cost of assisted living remember that you, or your loved one, can expect room, three meals per day, 24-hour supervision, housekeeping, and daily non-medical assistance as part of your monthly fee. Once you add up housing, meals, healthcare, social activities, and other amenities included in the monthly fee, the cost of assisted living can actually be comparable to at-home care. Our partner, Holiday Retirement has a very useful calculator to compare the costs of living at home.
Before diving deeper into the cost of assisted living, it’s helpful to first understand that assisted living pricing can be complicated. Let’s start with some common pricing terms:
The pricing of assisted living communities can differ based on what type of amenities and services they offer. Assisted living communities often choose to focus on delivering services focused on hospitality or healthcare. For example, some communities will cater more towards senior residents that don't need higher levels of care and are more interested in living a maintenance-free and social lifestyle. Other assisted living communities focus on healthcare services to provide higher acuity and/or memory care services. Within both of these categories, the communities can then be divided up into three different pricing levels: basic, boutique, and luxury.
To many seniors, a no-frills lifestyle is perfect. Choosing an assisted living community with fewer amenities at a lower cost shouldn’t equal sub-par health care or comfort levels. It simply means not paying for what you or your loved one doesn’t need. For example, board and care homes are great options for seniors who are in need of senior care but don’t want to pay the fees of a large community.
Why spend extra for social activities, pools, larger living spaces, or extensive on-site health care if you prefer watching television and only need minimal health care and supervision?
Basic assisted living communities often have limited options when it comes to food and activities. Housing units are small, sometimes shared, studio-sized spaces. But even with a lower price, any community worth considering will have impeccably clean facilities, friendly, well-trained staff, and up-to-date certifications. Be sure to research user reviews on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and other sites.
If you’re searching for that perfect balance of price, amenities, and comfort, this is the sweet spot.
Boutique assisted living communities usually offer:
Choosing a boutique assisted living community is also ideal if you or your loved one has increased medical care needs. The higher cost often includes specialized staff trained in geriatric health. Nurses certified in memory care, nutrition, mobility, medication management, etc. are often on-hand to support your loved one anytime.
Perfect for the senior who wants it all, or has increased care needs. Luxury assisted living communities offer a resort-style lifestyle combined with top-notch, around-the-clock medical care.
Expect a luxury community to provide:
Customized, premium health care is also a priority. Overall, expect more personalized care with a lower staff to resident ratio vs. basic or mid-level facilities. Full-time nurses, nutritionists, memory care experts, physical therapists, etc. are always on-hand for every senior residents’ needs.
In addition, many luxury level senior living communities have on-site support options in the event of an illness or medical emergency. With the increased price comes the increased comfort of knowing you or your loved one is in incredible hands no matter what.
Assisted Living Cost Breakdown
No matter the level of luxury you choose, any good community should feel safe and secure, with certified, caring staff members. No bargain is worth risking the well-being of your loved one.
The pricing structure will vary at each assisted living community when it comes to balancing the appropriate care and wants of couples. Often, when only one spouse needs assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), they will pay for those services and the other partner will only be charged for room and board. In other cases, it might be that both partners require care services, and they live in different units appropriate for their care needs (for example, one is in assisted living while the other is in memory care).
With over 30,000 assisted living communities across the United States (according to the CDC) there are many different types of housing options at different costs. So, be confident that balancing cost and exceptional care for your loved one is possible to attain.
To get a better understanding of what you or your loved can afford, sit down and carefully discuss where money for all living expenses goes every month. Review bills, receipts, transactions, etc. This includes (but isn’t limited to):
Then, look into the costs of various assisted living options. This cost of living calculator is also a great tool to give you a better ballpark estimate of costs. Make sure to take into consideration the living expenses that will now be included in monthly assisted living fees. That initial sticker shock may subside once costs like transportation, food, bills, cleaning services, and medical care are rolled into one.
Ensure you thoroughly discuss with each community exactly what is included in your monthly fees. Also, ask what additional fees you should expect, like initiation fees, grooming & bathing, medication management, housekeeping, etc.
Adding up all current expenses against the expenses of at-home care vs. assisted living should provide valuable insight into choosing the best care for you or your loved one.
Standard health insurance does not cover daily, extended care services at assisted living facilities. Programs like Medicaid will only cover short-term stays under very strict conditions.
In general, most long-term care insurance policies are designed to work across the continuum of care and will cover expenses at approved assisted living facilities. It’s important to carefully review your policy to determine if the facility you want to move into meets the insurance company’s requirements. While assisted living facilities generally accept private long-term care insurance, sometimes an insurance company will refuse to pay because an assisted living community doesn’t meet its standards.
Long-term care insurance premiums vary widely depending on location and coverage type. The average is about $2,700 a year, according to AARP.
Your rates will depend on a variety of things, including:
Depending on your circumstances, government aid might be available to help with the costs of long-term care. Below we’ve answered a few frequently asked questions concerning this.
You can learn more in our comprehensive resource on assisted living payment assistance. Based on their income, some seniors and their families may be eligible for additional assisted living options. To see if you qualify, visit this page to view your state’s requirements.
Also, don’t hesitate to talk to a local senior living expert who knows all the nuances of paying for assisted living within each major city. The professionals have relationships with all the local retirement living communities and staff, allowing them to understand the unique programs or strategy at any property you might be interested in. A senior living expert is also often able to negotiate rent on your behalf, allowing you or your loved one to live in the perfect assisted living community.
The cost of housing and meals at assisted living is not tax-deductible, but the money spent on care may be.
Generally, for assisted living care expenses to be tax-deductible, the total out-of-pocket medical costs must be greater than 10 percent of gross adjusted income. The resident must also be considered "chronically ill." This means a doctor or nurse has certified that the resident either:
A licensed healthcare professional must have recommended the care service is part of a formal care plan. For example, if the resident’s doctor recommends assistance with bathing and continence, these services may be deducted. However, costs associated with medication management or dressing can’t be deducted, since they’re not considered part of the care plan. Visit the IRS website for more information.
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