When shopping for an assisted living community for your loved one, sticker shock is a common condition. A Place for Mom’s Senior Living Advisors frequently hear the refrain “That’s so much more expensive than just living at home.” In some situations, assisted living does cost more than living at home, but in most cases, total assisted living costs are significantly less than in-home care costs.
Just like any market for real estate or goods and services, price depends heavily on local supply and demand. In particularly remote areas, assisted living costs may be higher than average due to low availability of accommodations. On the other side of the coin, costs may be higher than average in densely populated areas due to the high costs of real estate and staff salaries.
The U.S. states with the most expensive median monthly assisted living costs are:
The U.S. states with the least expensive median monthly assisted living costs are:
While location is an important factor in assisted living costs, there are several other considerations that can play a big role in the bottom line:
When comparing assisted living to home care, it’s important to remember how many expenses are included in the price. Assisted living fees replace typical expenses associated with living at home, including:
“Not only is assisted living financially equal to living at home in many cases, it’s a dramatically different way of life,” says Pam Talon, A Place for Mom’s Market Development Coach for the U.S.Northeast region. “Quality of life is a key difference.”
Living in a vibrant, engaging community with numerous daily opportunities for social interaction and entertainment is a welcome change of pace for most seniors. In fact, many seniors living at home cut back on entertainment as a way to save money.
“With a senior living at home, the monthly budget usually has a blank space next to social and entertainment,” Talon says. Regular social activities not only help keep seniors fit and sharp, they often equal the difference between surviving and thriving.
Talon says sons and daughters need to take a hard look at their parents’ current lifestyle: “Do both people get to retire in this house? How did mom’s life change when Dad retired? Did it get better or did it get worse? We’re still dealing with an age group where moms didn’t get to retire, so we’re dealing with quality of life.”
Update: January 2018