Moving out of your home and into a senior living community is an important financial and lifestyle decision. Sometimes the move happens quickly out of necessity, but other families choose their own timeline. A Place for Mom is there whether your needs are immediate, or if you’re planning your future move.
Chart Your Course
SEE HOW LONG OTHER FAMILIES IN YOUR SITUATION SEARCHED FOR SENIOR LIVING. KNOWING YOUR TIMELINE WILL HELP YOU PLAN MORE THOUGHTFULLY.
-> ESTIMATE YOUR TIMELINE
These figures are estimates based on families in similar situations, not guarantees of search time. Read more about the data and methods for details.
Four Key Factors Of Move-In Timing
When families call A Place for Mom, we ask about their care needs, relationship with the prospective resident and finances. See how these factors and the time of year influence the time families take to find the right senior living community.
What are your needs?
- Mobility issues
- Assistance needs
- Memory care
- Medication management
Who is the search for?
- Family member
- Client or patient
Any time considerations?
- Home-selling season
- Planned surgeries
What finances are in place?
- Family budget
Care Needs & Timing
- Care needs are almost twice as important to predicting move-in timing as all other factors combined
- Seniors who need more assistance with daily living move up to five weeks faster than seniors who don’t
- Families should plan early for senior living instead of waiting for a crisis
Care Needs Are The Most Important Driver Of Move-In Timing
IF YOU NEED TO MOVE INTO SENIOR LIVING QUICKLY, YOU CAN
Some families worry that their complex care needs will delay their move. Thankfully, that’s not the case. In fact, seniors who need more care find it faster than seniors who need less or no care at all.
DON’T WAIT FOR AN EMERGENCY
Half of the families we speak to find senior living within 46 days. We can help regardless of how quickly you need to move. Don’t wait for an emergency to start planning. You’ll be able to make more confident decisions if you start planning today.
Caring for seniors with limited mobility is challenging for both seniors and their families. Loss of mobility is a considerable cause for faster move-in rates.
In-home bathing assistance can be costly with high risk of injury. Family caregivers find time constraints unmanageable, driving them to move in more quickly.
Dealing with incontinence or toileting reminders can be uncomfortable for both seniors and families. Seniors requiring toileting assistance move in quickly.
Dosage, timing and proper administration of medicine is a stress on family caregivers. Families turn to senior living options when they feel overwhelmed.
Here Are Stories Of Families Who Found Care When They Needed It
Hourly care is a great option for families who need memory care but want to ease into a care setting…Families also feel less stress when they plan early. Completing health history forms before a crisis can minimize stress and expedite a move if necessary.
I helped reunite a couple who had been married for over 65 years. She had a rare bone disease. He had dementia and wasn’t thriving without her. I worked with their care providers and family to help them both move. Best part is they could be close to relatives again.
Family Relationships & Timing
- Many seniors search for senior living for themselves, but few of them move in
- Seniors looking for themselves take twice as long to move in even if they need assisted living
- Differences among other types of family relationships are comparatively less important
Seniors Looking By Themselves Need Help
Seniors looking for long-term care on their own take longer to find it.
Almost all seniors who find care have help from their families.
1 in 4 seniors
are looking by themselves
Only 7 out of 100 seniors who move in
looked by themselves
93% of seniors who move in
are helped by a family member or caregiver
Here Are Stories Of Families Helping Seniors With Their Search
She was in Alaska getting the finances together while her mother-in-law’s son was with his mother in Vermont. Meanwhile his wife was touring communities in Seattle! All three of them kept in touch with me and we made it happen in the family’s timeline.
She was in an unfit living situation with an open Adult Protective Services case. Her grandson toured the day he called us and I walked him through the process that same night. She’s now thriving in an assisted living community near her loving grandson.
Time of Year & Timing
- Search length peaks after the holidays and in the summertime and is shorter during the busy winter holidays
- The key drivers of these trends are likely post-holiday planning, the home-selling season and weather
- Average search length fluctuates by only a week or so over the course of a year
Three Seasons Of Senior Living Search
AFTER HOLIDAY PLANNING
Families who start looking in January take longer because they’re planning ahead.
SUMMER PLANNING & HOME-SELLING
Families take longer during the summer because many are selling homes.
URGENT HOLIDAY CARE NEEDS
Families who start searching during busy holidays usually have urgent care needs.
SEASONALITY OF MOVE-IN TIMING
SEARCH LENGTH PEAKS IN JANUARY
AND AGAIN IN AUGUST
Here Is A Story About Helping Seniors With Their Search
If families reach out during the busy winter holidays, they likely have urgent needs, so more people move in faster. But after the holidays, families call with a wider spectrum of needs. More families saw senior loved ones over the holidays and decided to start planning.
Family Finances & Timing
- Families with a home to sell take up to a month longer to move in, but less so if they need more care
- Families with larger senior living budgets search longer unless they need assisted living
- Families with monthly senior living budgets below $1,500 search longer due to limited supply
HOME-SELLERS TAKE LONGER TO MOVE
Home-sellers looking for a retirement community take a month longer to move than those who don’t have a home to sell. Because care needs are so important, the gap isn’t as big for seniors who need assisted living.
GOOD NEWS: NOW IS A GREAT TIME TO SELL YOUR HOME
According to Redfin, a favorable seller’s market with historically low inventory benefits home-sellers like seniors who are not also looking to buy a home. The question is how long the seller’s market will last.
DO FAMILIES WITH LARGER BUDGETS FIND SENIOR LIVING FASTER?
IT DEPENDS ON THEIR CARE NEEDS
Families with larger budgets search longer if they’re shopping for the perfect retirement community, but find care faster if they need assisted living. Yet the gap is small and we can help you find care on a modest budget.
HAVE A REALISTIC SENIOR LIVING BUDGET
IT WILL HELP YOUR SEARCH GO MORE SMOOTHLY
Families with budgets below $1,500 take longer to move regardless of care needs because of limited availability at that price. Some families have budgets that small. Others could afford more but are unfamiliar with the costs of senior living. Being realistic about budget can save time. Our Senior Living Cost Planner can help.
FAMILIES LOOKING IN WEALTHIER AREAS FIND SENIOR LIVING A LITTLE FASTER
Families looking in areas representative of national income take a week longer than those looking in areas like Armonk, New York, where IBM headquarters is located and income is three times greater. They’ll take two weeks longer than families searching in areas like Great Falls, Virginia, one of the nations’ wealthiest towns. But they have comparable search times to families looking in areas similar to the San Francisco metro area, where income is over $25,000 greater.
WE CAN HELP YOU SEARCH FOR SENIOR LIVING ON A MODEST BUDGET
According to our Senior Living Cost Planner, the median cost of senior living is around $4,000 per month. If your budget is half that and you can’t find something affordable where you currently live, we may be able to help you find a community in a nearby city that fits within your budget.
We Asked The Experts About Family Finances And Move-In Timing
Marie’s father-in-law managed his wife’s Alzheimer’s care for years but couldn’t do it anymore. Marie was overwhelmed. The time was now and their budget only $3,000 a month, a tall order in LA…I still found a place within their budget. They moved that week.
Many seniors are moving after having lived in their homes for decades, as many as 50 to 60 years. Often the family is left to clean out and sell the home. Other families need the proceeds from a home sale to fund their transition into senior living.
EDUCATE YOURSELF ABOUT SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITIES
CALL A LOCAL
SENIOR LIVING EXPERT
TOUR YOUR FIRST SENIOR LIVING COMMUNITY
CHOOSE A COMMUNITY AND SCHEDULE A MOVE
ABOUT THE DATA
A Place for Mom helps hundreds of thousands of families a year. We believe that our partner communities represent well over half of all senior living community residents in the US. When a family calls A Place for Mom, we ask about their care needs, finances and relationship to the prospective resident. We also used the 2010-2014 five-year estimates of the American Community Survey to compile data on median household income and other demographic variables not covered in this report. The analysis samples over 125,000 families who moved into a retirement community, senior apartment, assisted living community, residential care home or memory care community in the US between 2012 and 2015.
ABOUT THE METHODS
To measure the relationships between search length and predictors, we built statistical models that estimate the median, 75th percentile and 90th percentile of days between first contact and move-in as a complex function of the predictors of interest. The statistical models are actually built from thousands of competitions between simpler models containing only a subset of the predictors. Predictor importance is measured by the percent of competitions won by a particular set of predictors. In addition to building these statistical models, we also directly queried our database for key summary statistics.