Paying for Assisted Living Costs

assisted living costsLong-term care costs can be overwhelming. Let us help you make the most of the help that’s available.

One of the foremost thoughts on the minds of those considering long-term care is how much it will cost over time. While no one can know specific assisted living costs ahead of time, you can prepare your loved one to live comfortably in a senior living situation if you understand his financial situation and help him utilize aid programs available to him. The earlier you start, the more prepared you will be.

Breaking Down Assisted Living Costs

It seems that no two assisted living companies structure their cost schedules identically. Some charge large up-front costs, others charge bulk sums monthly or yearly, and some offer services with an a la carte pricing structure. In addition, different areas of the nation offer different price ranges based on cost-of-living differences. And of course, fancier facilities with more amenities and lower aid to resident ratios will cost more as well.

Though your costs will vary from the norm more or less, we’ve nevertheless scoured different sources of long-term care cost information and came up with the following rough estimate of assisted living costs:*

  • Home Health Costs
    • In-home registered nurse assistance: $50 to $100 per hour
    • In-home practical or vocational nurse assistance: $35 to $75 per hour
    • home health aid assistance: $10 to $20 per hour
    • senior companion assistance: $7 to $15 per hour
    • adult day care: average $64 per day

  • Independent Living Costs: $10,000 to $100,000 initial fee, home purchase price, and varying a la carte service costs
  • Assisted Living Costs: average $36,000 per year
    • Assisted Living Costs with Memory Care: over $51,000 per year

  • Intermediate Care Costs: $53,000 to $142,000 per year
  • Skilled Nursing Home Costs: $70,000 to $178,000 per year

Programs that Help with Long-Term Care Costs

Medicare Assisted Living

Medicare is a program of the federal government created to help senior citizens age 65 or older with hospital and medical costs. Medicare Part A is "hospital" insurance, and Medicare Part B is an optional "medical" insurance. See our Medicare article to learn more about how Medicare can help cover your long-term care costs.

Medicaid Assisted Living

Medicaid is another federal government program for low-income seniors who need help paying for medical and long-term care costs. Medicaid typically does not cover assisted living costs, unless significant nursing care is needed. See our Medicaid article to learn more about qualifying for and using Medicaid to help fund your assisted living costs.

Income and Assets

When creating a retirement living budget, you need to take account of your loved one’s assets and income to get a good picture of their ability to pay for care. These assets and income are accounted for when determining Medicaid qualification. They can also be used to maximize the dollars you have to put toward long-term care costs. See our Income and Assets Planning article to get started.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance is an increasingly popular insurance option that can help offset expensive assisted living costs. It is an expensive option, but is cost effective for people with a certain amount of assets. Learn more in our Long-Term Care Insurance article.

Long Term Care: How to Plan and Pay for It, by Joseph L. Matthews, 2004
MetLife Assisted Living General Costs study, 2008