How Much Does Senior Housing Cost?
Retirement Living takes an unbiased approach to our reviews. We may earn money when you click a partner link. Learn More
As we continue to live longer, we’re more likely to need long-term care (according to Genworth, 70% of Boomers turning 65 between now and 2030 are expected to require some form of LTC down the road). And that specialized care comes at a significant cost, especially if you need to move into an assisted living facility or nursing home or require specialized memory care.
So how much does senior housing cost, and how can you afford the care you or a loved one needs? Let’s break it down.
Senior Housing Costs: Here’s What You Should Know
There are four primary types of senior living facilities: independent living communities, assisted living communities, nursing homes, and memory care living units. You can also receive long-term care in your own home. Senior housing costs vary based on the senior living community and its features and amenities, as well as location. In general, senior living costs are much lower in the southern half of the U.S.
If you’re considering senior living community options for you or a loved one, evaluate each option closely, weighing both your needs and your budget. We’ve analyzed the costs and offerings of each type of senior living facility to help you make an informed decision.
Senior Housing Costs by Type of Living Facility
Much of the public data on senior living cost averages we list below is from 2021. However, it’s important to note that the estimated averages for 2023 are likely much higher. NIC Map Vision reports that the average asking rent for senior housing was $4,958 in early 2023, a whopping 5.3% increase compared to the previous year. Specifically, assisted living properties are up 5.9% and independent living properties are up 4.8% year over year.
These steep increases are in response to the rise in senior living labor costs, which the Bureau of Labor and Statistics lists as up 11.2% in a two-year period, and inflation, which peaked at 9.1% in June 2022. When estimating your senior living costs, you’ll need account for higher-than-average yearly increases.
|Community Type||Median Monthly Cost||Services Available|
|Independent Living||$3,555 (average)||Housing, home maintenance, property taxes, meal plans, and other residential amenities|
|Assisted Living||$4,500||Housing, meals, personal care, basic medical care, and some activities|
|Nursing Homes (Semi-Private or Private Room)||$7,908 – $9,034||Semi-private or private room, meals, personal care, advanced medical care, and activities|
|Memory Care (Assisted Living or Nursing Home)||$5,625 – $11,300||Varies by community type, but builds on core offerings with more dedicated attention by staff trained to work with people who have dementia or Alzheimer’s; some medical care may be included|
|In-Home Care||$5,148||Basic medical services, personal care, cooking, cleaning, and companionship|
Independent Living Communities
Average national cost: $3,555 a month
Independent living communities are ideal for seniors who are able to live on their own. They enable seniors to reside in a home requiring little to no maintenance or yard work. Also, independent living communities provide convenient access to activities and meals. These communities often make it easy for seniors to network with one another and foster friendships and relationships as well.
Individuals age 55 or older are usually eligible to move into an independent living community. To become a community resident, an individual rents or buys a house, townhouse, apartment, mobile home, or motorhome. Furthermore, each community resident can access transportation, laundry, and other services and connect with an on-site attendant who provides additional assistance as needed.
The costs of independent living communities differ based on the size of the community, its location and other factors. In many instances, the cost of living in an independent living community ranges between $1,500 and $10,000 per month, but the average national cost is $3,555, according to data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care.
Assisted Living Communities
Median national cost: $4,500 a month
Like independent living communities, assisted living communities are designed for seniors who prioritize independence, but require extra assistance performing everyday activities, such as bathing, dressing, and taking medications.
A standard assisted living community includes anywhere from 25 to 120 condo or apartment units, and each unit includes a single room. Residents can access three meals per day in a common area, and on-site staff is available 24 hours a day to assist residents. Additionally, assisted living communities often host daily, weekly, or monthly events and activities to help residents stay active and connect with one another.
Assisted living community fees vary, and they may increase year after year. According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey in 2021, the median price for a one-bedroom assisted living apartment with a single occupant is $4,500 per month.
Costs are up about 4.40% over the last five years. In general, the senior housing industry rent amounts increased by 5.3% in early 2023 compared to the end of 2022.
Nursing Homes and Long-Term Care
Median national cost: $7,908 (semi-private room) to $9,034 (private room) a month
Nursing homes are designed for seniors who are unable to take care of themselves. They cater to seniors who require short-term rehabilitative care or suffer from chronic health problems.
A nursing home employs housekeeping staff to take care of laundry and cleaning tasks, a food service team to provide residents with food and snacks throughout the day, and skilled on-site nurses and healthcare staff. It is typically a safe environment for seniors who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other serious health conditions. Nursing homes offer round-the-clock service, ensuring residents are fully supported at all times.
The median cost of a private room in a nursing home is $297 per day, and the cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home is $260 per day, according to recent Genworth data. You may be able to use Medicaid to cover some of the costs associated with a nursing home. Comparatively, Medicare does not generally cover nursing home costs.
Memory Care Units
Median national cost: $5,625 (assisted living) to $11,300 (nursing home) a month
Memory care units at assisted living facilities or nursing homes are designed for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. These units help residents maintain as much independence as possible, and they offer 24-hour supervised care in a structured environment and active therapy and behavioral management services.
A typical memory care living unit also features a full-time activities director who schedules activities throughout the week. The average cost of a private nursing home room for a patient with Alzheimer’s is $11,300.
Median national cost: $4,957 (homemaker) to $5,148 (home health aide) a month
Not every senior needs or wants to move into assisted living—or even a retirement community. You may still appreciate some help around the house, however. Homemaker services for seniors cost $26 per hour. If you need part-time care (say, 20 hours a week), you’ll spend $520 a week or just over $27,000 a year.
Even if you require a little more help—with medication, wound care, or physical therapy, for instance—you can usually hire a home health aide for $27 an hour. Full-time monthly care would cost $5,148 at 44 hours a week.
Depending on your abilities and schedule, you may be able to care for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s at home, but you will likely want to utilize certain professional services from time to time to help out. At-home care for a patient with dementia can cost $32.75 an hour; adult daycare memory services are $106.25 a day.
What to Consider When Choosing The Right Senior Living Community
There is no one-size-fits-all senior living community. As such, it’s important to plan ahead so you can research the right senior living community based on your individual needs.
As you prepare to find the ideal senior living community, here are three questions to ask yourself:
- What do you need out of your senior housing? Consider the senior living community services and support you will need. Often, it helps to make a checklist of current and anticipated services and support so you can map out your search for a senior living community accordingly.
- What can you afford? Many senior living communities bill a monthly fee to account for meals, utilities, and other expenses, so you should create a budget to determine how much you can afford to spend on senior housing costs. You should also find out if Medicaid, long-term care insurance, or other financial aid is available to help you cover your senior housing expenses.
- Where do you want to live? Senior housing communities exist in both rural and urban areas. Decide how close you want to be to family and friends. Remember, location plays a key role in the price of senior housing.
Once you’ve narrowed down a list of potential senior living communities, read online reviews, ask friends and family for recommendations, and tour each community you’re considering to determine whether it’ll be a good fit for you.
The Bottom Line
Finding a terrific senior living community may seem intimidating, but with a checklist of your needs and a strict budget, you can narrow your search to a few options in your desired location. And if you’re worried about the costs, factor in your retirement accounts, life insurance policy, government benefits, and a reverse mortgage (or the sale of your home). Work with a financial advisor if you need help planning out medical costs in retirement.