Senior Housing: What Does It Cost?

July 9, 2021

Senior Housing Costs: Here’s What You Need to Know

There are four primary senior living community options: independent living communities, assisted living communities, nursing homes and memory care or special care living units. Housing costs vary based on the senior living community and its features and amenities.

For those who are considering any of the aforementioned senior living community options, it is important to evaluate each option closely. Fortunately, we’re here to help you analyze each senior living community option and make an informed selection.

Now, let’s take a look at the four senior living community options, their associated costs and their benefits.

Senior Housing Planning. Source: Getty

Independent Living Communities

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.

Assisted Living Communities

Like independent living communities, assisted living communities are designed for seniors who prioritize independence. However, assisted living communities typically offer extra assistance for seniors who need help 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, independent 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 American Seniors Housing Association, the median price for a one-bedroom assisted living apartment with a single occupant was $3,628 per month in 2016.

Nursing Homes

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 features a 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 nurses and healthcare staff on-site. It is typically a safe environment for seniors who are dealing with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other serious health conditions. Meanwhile, a nursing home offers round-the-clock service, ensuring residents are fully supported at all times.

On average, the cost of a private room in a nursing home is $219 per day, and the cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home is $198 per day, Senior Living reports. Medicaid may be used to cover some of the costs associated with a nursing home, and Senior Living notes Medicaid pays for seven out of 10 nursing home residents. Comparatively, Medicare does not generally cover nursing home costs.

Memory Care Or Special Care Living Units

Memory care or special care living units are designed for Alzheimer’s or dementia patients. These units strive to 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 or special care living unit features a full-time activities director who schedules activities throughout the week. It also boasts sufficient staff to assist residents; Senior Living indicates a standard memory care or special care living unit has a daytime staffing ratio of one staff member for every five residents, and a nighttime staffing ratio of one staff member for every nine residents.

The average cost of a private room at an Alzheimer’s special care living unit is $233 per day, Senior Living reports. Conversely, the average cost of a semi-private room at an Alzheimer’s special care living unit is $208 per day.

How To Choose The Right Senior Living Community

There is no one-size-fits-all senior living community. As such, it is important to plan ahead so you can conduct an in-depth search to discover the right senior living community based on your individual needs.

As you prepare to launch a search to find the ideal senior living community, here are five tips to help you achieve your desired results:

  1. Establish senior living community criteria. 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.

  2. Review your finances. 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.

  3. Know where you want to go. Do you want to live near family members and friends in the city? Or, would you prefer to reside close to your current small town neighborhood? Think about where you want to go, and remember, location plays a key role in the price of senior housing too.

  4. Perform plenty of research. Senior living communities often have websites, and online reviews of senior living communities are sometimes available. Plus, you can always contact a senior living community to ask questions and check out a community in-person.

  5. Reach out to family members and friends. Loved ones are happy to help you streamline your search for the ideal senior living community. Thus, if you include family members and friends in your senior living community search, you may be better equipped than ever before to find the perfect place to live.

There is no shortage of senior living communities available across the United States. If you perform a comprehensive search, you can boost the likelihood of finding a great senior living community you can enjoy both now and in the future.

The Bottom Line On Senior Living Communities

The process of finding a terrific senior living community may seem intimidating at first. Lucky for you, there are many wonderful senior living communities in cities and towns nationwide, and each offers a variety of features and amenities to help seniors live comfortably.

At the same time, no two senior living communities are identical. And if you cut corners during your search for the right senior living community, you risk making a costly mistake.

When it comes to finding a place to live, there is no reason to take shortcuts. Instead, allocate time and resources to conduct a thorough senior living community search. By doing so, you can discover a senior living community to match your personal needs and budget and make sure you or your loved one find a comfortable place to live.

Stay up to date on news for retirees and seniors: