How Much Does Assisted Living Cost Per Month?
The cost of assisted living, which provides a homelike setting for those who need some assistance with daily tasks, averages $4,000 per month in the U.S. That’s $48,000 per year, or about half the median cost of a nursing home, which hovers around $90,000 per year for a shared room.
Of course, costs vary depending on whether you live in a bustling metro area where housing prices are higher or a quiet rural town.
It also depends on the state you live in. In Texas, the median monthly assisted living cost was $3,750 in 2019, cheaper than the national median. However, those costs may not include additional fees for services or amenities, which can significantly raise the monthly cost of assisted living in Texas and nationwide.
Payment Models for Assisted Living
The cost of assisted living will be on most people’s radar in their lifetime. It’s estimated that 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 each day and many will need or want support so they can more fully enjoy their retirement. Assisted living is one of the most popular options, as it can be customized to each individual’s needs and support their individual goals.
However, at roughly $4,000 per month, it’s important to understand what pricing includes and what it doesn’t, or you could end up paying more than planned. There are two main assisted living pricing models to consider:
You may be familiar with all-inclusive vacation packages that charge one fee for everything from jet skis to margaritas to a hotel room. You can find this same option in assisted living, too.
Under this plan, you pay one monthly bill that includes rent, meals, housekeeping, personal care, security, transportation, recreation and more. This model might be best if you want to pay one simple fee each month without worrying about your price going up. For instance, Spring Creek offers all-inclusive assisted living pricing that allows you to budget for everything in advance.
Fee for Services
Under this plan, there’s a flat fee for rent and meals, but most services, including everything from medication management to recreation, are charged as a separate service fee. A fee-for-service model often looks less expensive up front, but can limit residents in their abilities and activities. It’s also more difficult to budget in advance for how much you’ll be paying.
It’s standard for assisted living communities to charge a move-in fee, similar to what you’d pay if you were moving to another type of property. If you were buying a house, for instance, you’d have to pay closing costs on a mortgage.
Some communities will ask for steep upfront payments, though, and it’s not clear where the money is going. They may also ask for the fee well in advance of the move-in date. If the bill is hefty, it’s worth finding out whether the fee is an advance payment for expenses during the year. If not, the fee is just an add-on to other charges, and may stretch your budget too far. Spring Creek doesn’t charge you these large move-in fees. Our one-time community fee is less than half the monthly cost of our assisted living community.
Benefits of Assisted Living
People typically start thinking about assisted living when there’s a small to moderate dip in their health or ability to do daily tasks. They don’t need round-the-clock services or close medical supervision, but they would enjoy their retirement more with help performing daily tasks, such as getting dressed. They may also want to make it easier to meet people with similar interests and be more active without having to deal with planning activities and traveling outside their home.
At this stage in life, people value independence but appreciate extra support. That’s why assisted living floor plans feature individual apartments that often include kitchenettes. There are also stimulating programs to foster physical fitness, intellectual growth and activities with friends, neighbors or visiting family.
Today’s assisted living programs cater to people seeking a wide variety of cultural and spiritual experiences. There may be everything from a garden meditation room to happy hour gatherings. Many communities stress lifelong learning with book clubs, the chance to take classes at the community or at a nearby college or art classes.
When you move to an assisted living community, the monthly fee typically includes all these options along with restaurant-style dining. The basics are usually:
- Three nutritious meals a day
- Housekeeping and laundry services
- Medication management
- Recreation, wellness classes and social activities
- Transportation and security
- Amenities ranging from a swimming pool to a hair salon
Payment Options for Assisted Living
There are many ways to pay for assisted living costs. Most people use a combination of Social Security payments, pensions and savings. But there are other funding sources as well:
Medicare and Medicaid
While these federal programs don’t generally cover the cost of assisted living, Medicare will cover some healthcare costs while you’re in assisted living. In Texas, there’s a Medicaid waiver program that covers assisted living costs for those who are eligible.
Long-Term Care Insurance
While about 70 percent of those turning 65 will need long-term care of some kind in their lifetime, fewer than 10 percent of Americans have long-term care insurance. Considering the cost of long-term care, it’s a wise investment. You can use this insurance to pay for assisted living if you need help with at least two daily tasks like bathing, eating or walking.
A Reverse Mortgage
If you want to stay home but your partner needs assisted living, a reverse mortgage may meet both goals. If you’re 62 and older and have solid home equity, you can borrow against your home equity. The balance, which is taken from the home value, is due at death or if you move or sell the home.
Renting Your Home
If you’re reluctant to sell your home, you could rent it out and keep ownership, while using the rental payments to fund assisted living. If you’re considering this option, make sure you have someone who can care for the property and check in on renters for you to alleviate your stress. Close family and friends are often willing to help out.
If you’ve served at least 90 days on active duty and at least one day during wartime, you may be eligible for Veteran’s aid to pay for assisted living. VA benefits are some of the best available, so if you qualify, make sure to check them out and apply.
For more information, read: How Veterans Can Use VA Benefits for Alzheimer’s & Memory Care in Texas
Life insurance policies sometimes allow you wiggle-room in how you use plan benefits. You could cash out your policy or your insurance company might buy it back at a discount.
You can also sell your policy to a third party in what’s known as a “life settlement.” You won’t get the full value of your policy, but you may get needed funds for supportive care.
Texas Assisted Living
At Spring Creek, we offer many options to live well in our full-service community. There are no surprises with our all-inclusive pricing plan and holistic wellness philosophy.
Our close-knit community makes it possible for you to form close friendships with your neighbors, as well as enjoy peace and privacy when you want them. We foster an active lifestyle, strong relationships, and mental and spiritual enrichment so you can enjoy your retirement and live life to the fullest.