Assisted Living Costs: Facts & Figures
When considering the various options for senior care and housing, it is important to know how much you can expect to pay for the different types of care settings.
Assisted living costs vary depending on several factors which typically include:
- Geographic location
- Size of accommodations
- Level of care required
- Additional amenity and service fees
Assisted Living Costs by Geographic Location
Just as the cost of real estate varies by geographic area, assisted living costs also vary nationwide. According to a Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs conducted by the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife), the national average for assisted living base rates was $3,550 per month in 2012.
In the 2014 Cost of Care Survey conducted by Genworth Financial, assisted living showed an increase of 1.45% compared to the 2013 costs . Residents of assisted living communities can typically expect a 4.29% annual increase in their base rate.
The table below shows the range of monthly assisted living costs by state in 2014* for a one-bedroom, single-occupancy assisted living apartment across the United States:
*From the Genworth Financial 2014 Cost of Care Survey.
The states with the most expensive median monthly assisted living costs are:
- Alaska - $5,500
- Delaware - $5,500
- New Jersey - $5,430
- Connecticut - $5,289
- Massachusetts - $5,247
The states with the least expensive median monthly assisted living costs are:
- Georgia - $2,500
- Missouri - $2,500
- Arkansas - $2,850
- South Carolina - $2,874
- Alabama - $2,894
Size & Location of Apartment
Residents of assisted living communities can typically choose from several apartment types and sizes, including studio, studio alcove, one- and two-bedroom apartments. The size of an apartment determines its base rate as does the location of the apartment with regard to view, proximity to elevators and public areas, and availability of a private patio or balcony.
While it’s common for families to prefer larger apartments for their loved ones, it’s important to remember that the entire community becomes a resident’s home.
Level of Care Required
Upon admission and when residents require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs), an assessment by a licensed nurse is provided to determine additional assisted living costs for care services. According to the National Center for Assisted Living, assisted living residents need help with 3 or more ADLs on average. More than half of all seniors residing in assisted living communities require help with preparing meals, managing their medications and bathing.
|Activity of Daily Living||% of Residents Needing Help|
In most cases, a point system or levels of care are used to represent the costs for assisted living services. When a point system is used, each type of care and the frequency in which it’s provided determines the assisted living cost. For example, medication management/administration once a day may cost an additional $150 per month while the same service provided three times a day may cost an additional $300 per month.
Levels of care may be based upon a point system as well, with this type of cost determination often providing less flexibility in assisted living costs. For example, a resident may fall between a Level One and a Level Two but they must pay for Level Two care as their needs exceed Level One.
Additional Costs for Assisted Living
Assisted living communities charge a refundable deposit fee, which secures a particular apartment within the community for a specific period of time (usually two weeks). Once a resident moves in, this deposit usually applies towards a community fee (terms for the name of this fee may vary).
Ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, this fee is non-refundable and covers administrative expenses and the cost of apartment renovations between residents. Other assisted living costs may include fees for private transportation, off-site activities, guest meals and use of a guest apartment within the community.
More Information on Assisted Living Costs
For more information on how to pay for assisted living costs, check out the following articles:
- Paying for Assisted Living
- Long-Term Care Costs: A Primer
- Veterans Benefits: A Brief Overview
- Long-Term Insurance: Planning For Your Future
Find Assisted Living Communities
With the right planning, assisted living costs can be made manageable for seniors in need of extra support and care. Our nationwide directory of senior housing can help you find assisted living communities near you.
Written by gerontologist Sara Shelton.