Assisted Living Costs

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Contents:

What to Do First

Rules

Average Costs by State

Tips

Interesting Facts

Home Care Costs

Continuing Care Communities Costs

What to do first:

Assisted living costs are expensive and they are going up.. What can you do
if you are thinking you'd like to live in assisted living or if you must live in assisted living.

AVERAGE RATE FOR THE AVERAGE ASSISTED LIVING FACILITY IN 2011 WAS APPROXIMATELY $3477./MONTH according to the MetLife 2011 Survey.  In 2012 it was $3550./month.  (See rates for 2016, below.)

The adult day services rate average was $70 in 2011 and the average hourly rate of Home Health Aides was $21.  In 2012 it was the same.

SOME REGIONS ARE LOWER THAN OTHER REGIONS OF THE UNITED STATES.

  1. First, you will probably choose a couple of facilities to compare.  
  2. Visit the facilities
  3. When visiting, ask about costs ..not just base costs but the costs of ALL SERVICES.
  4. Compare costs of all facilities you are interested in.

Unofficial "Rules" to keep in mind

  • The fewer services you need and the fewer services offered,
    the least expensive to you. 
  • As you age, you may need more services.   If it is a facility that 
    offers many services a la carte, find out the cost of not only
    the services you need now, but all services offered at the
    facility because you may need them in the future. 
  • The all inclusive facilities offering ten or more services in
    the fee probably offer the best value - find out what services 
    they offer and the cost - compare with the other facilities.
  • Check on the history of rate increases and the financial stability 
    of the facility.

Basic rules: know what services are included in the monthly rate and how much the cost is for those not included---make comparisons of communities not just by base rate, but by total potential costs now and in the future. 

Average Costs by State:

As compiled by Met Life, here is a list of average assisted living costs by state.  See Mature Market Institute for more information and Market Survey.

According to Met Life, these show rate increases comparison from 2011 to 2012:

2011*

National Average daily rates:

  • Nursing home private room: $239.; semi-private room: $214.
  • Assisted living community monthly base rate: $3,477 
  • Adult day services daily rate: $70 (unchanged)  
  • Home health aides hourly rate: $21 (unchanged); homemaker hourly rate: $19.  

2012*

National Average daily rates:

  • Nursing home private room:  $248; semi-private room: $222.  
  • Assisted living community monthly base rate: $3,550 in 2012.
  • Adult day services: $70 (unchanged)  
  • Home health aides: $21/hr. (unchanged);   homemaker: $20./hr

*The above information is from the Met Life Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs.

2014 Costs

Another excellent survey of costs is the one done by the Genworth Survey for 2014.  It shows the median cost of assisted living facilities in the U.S. to be $3500./mo.  Home health aides is $20./day which is only 1.59% increase over 2013.  

2016 Median 
Cost of Care Survey by Genworth

Assisted Living Facility 

Nursing Home

Adult Day Health Care

Home Health Aide

Homemaker


$3628. (private, 1 bedroom)

$6844. (shared room)

$1473. (annual rate divided by 12)

$3861.

$3813.

Genworth Long Term Care 2016 Median Costs - Find your state as costs vary greatly according to what state you are in.


Tips:

Here are some good tips for choosing and comparing:

Find out what type of community it is, by number of services offered--Basic, Average or All Inclusive:

  • *Basic offers basic services only - 5 or fewer of the essential services
    of most assisted living communities: they are at least 2 meals,
    housekeeping (sometimes laundry), medication management
    --may include personal services such as bathing or dressing.
  • *Average offers 6-9 services - most communities
  • *All Inclusive fee for services - offering ten or more services

For example, if your community offers medication management but
it is not included in the basic fee, you must know how much that
service costs because you may need it in the future.  


Interesting Facts about costs at Assisted Living facilities:

  • There are about 40,000 assisted living facilities in the United States.

There are more assisted living facilities than any other type of retirement community.

  • There are nearly a million residents in assisted living facilities and the number is increasing.

The baby boomer population will not all be over 65 until 2030.

  • The average age of assisted living residents is mid-eighties.

The average age of residents at assisted living facilities is usually higher than over 55 communities.  Though this can vary.  That is why we say to go visit.  Some facilities/communities have a higher average age than others.  Even if the average age is higher, there may be some younger, and that may be enough for you. 

  • Average length of stay is less than 3 years.

This is due to people waiting until they cannot wait any longer as their health decreases either due to costs or wanting to stay in their home.  Many assisted living facilities do not have nursing care and the resident must be moved temporarily or permanently if requiring nursing.

  • Being a couple in assisted living can up to double the rate.

Ask about the arrangement for couples.  It can vary by facility.  Some may only charge for the additional cost of meals.

  • Costs of assisted living for Alzheimer's or memory care ranges $4000 and up.

Usually costs are much higher if one needs memory care due to more care needed. 

  • Due to the current economic climate, seniors are more worried about their futures.

Some of the problems are: Will social security be there for them, will their money last due to living longer, are costs for housing and food going higher, can they afford the high costs of care.

  • For men, assisted living is a great help, however, there are more women in assisted living since women tend to live longer.

Men usually can afford more care than women.  Many women are divorced or widowed when entering assisted living facilities.

  • Costs of assisted living are more expensive in some regions of the United States than others.

Urban areas are more expensive.  The country areas of southern states can be more affordable.  But, unfortunately, not everyone can choose where they live.

  • Nearly half of all assisted living facilities have a memory care wing.

As the population ages, the dementia diseases increase.  These people are some of the most needy for care.

  • The cost of Alzheimer's care varies by facility and is on the high end of costs due to the amount of care involved.  Costs compare to nursing homes but depends of type of facility. 

Types of Alzheimer's care facilities:

  •   assisted living facility that takes dementia patients (least cost)
  •   a facility that is solely dedicated to memory care patients (high cost) 
  •   a nursing home (highest cost)

A person with Alzheimer's may need years of care and there is no way of determining how long they will need it.  This can exhaust the person's ability to pay.  Since long-term care costs are the individual's responsibility, an option is applying for medicaid.  Other ways of paying:

  • A person may have long-term care insurance that will help with costs. 
  • Veterans may get some help with paying for long-term care.  
  • Overseeing Assisted Living facilities is in state's hands and they are working to better the standards.

Standards vary according to the facility.  You need to visit often before and after you choose.

  • Assisted Living Communities essentially bridge the gap between home care and nursing homes -- most people put off living in assisted living until they have to. This is usually due to the high costs.

My history:  My husband had severe dementia which started out gradually but got increasingly worse toward the end of life.  It went on for 15 years of care, mostly by family in the home.  It was fortunate that I did not have to work outside the home.  He was cared for a few hours a day in the home by medicare-provided home aides, which I found was the least effective form of care.  In between care in the home, his short-term care in nursing homes  became more frequent.  He was admitted to a long-term nursing home due to:

  • exhaustion on my part, 
  • care becoming around-the-clock 
  • To receive treatment for pain

In my case, he was a veteran.  This helped with the costs.  Each person will have a different experience and have to come up with solutions for caring for a loved one.  This is a harsh picture but it is a reality that is faced by many and must be prepared for.  Try to find knowledgeable caring professionals at facilities or in nursing homes to help and advise you.

Additional Information about Home Care Costs:

HOME MAKERS PROVIDE CARE FOR THOSE WHO NEED SUPERVISION - AVERAGE COST IS $19./HR.

HOME HEALTH AIDE $20-$21/HR

AVERAGE ADULT DAY CARE SERVICES ARE $65-$67. PER DAY.  Keep in mind that some regions the costs are lower than others. 


Some things to look for in Continuing Care Communities:

While there are many worthwhile benefits of continuing care communities such as being able to age in place over the long term, continuing care entrance fees are usually not refunded back until someone replaces you,
and there is no rule on how long that wait could be and no guarantees should the facility fail.  To date this is rare, but has occurred.  

It is advisable to check on the financial stability of the continuing care facility when large deposits are made and read contracts thoroughly.
 See the Senate committee on aging.

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