While everyone worries about whether their retirement savings are enough, some people have more to worry about than others. Why? Because the cost of senior assisted living varies significantly depending on where you live.
Wondering whether your state is among the affordable or the expensive when it comes to assisted living? Let's take a closer look at the numbers, along with some other factors to keep in mind when considering your assisted living options.
Cost of Assisted Living By the State
According to A Place For Mom's “Cost of Care Survey,” the Southern and Plains states are home to the most affordable assisted living costs. Montana claims the top spot with an average monthly cost of $2,559, followed by South Dakota ($2,630), Idaho ($2,687), Oklahoma ($2,706), Mississippi ($2,784), North Dakota ($2,808), Indiana ($2,884), Tennessee ($2,913), Kentucky ($2,916) and Michigan (2,927).
Meanwhile, Maine ($4,671), Delaware ($4,520), Connecticut ($4,550), Alaska ($4,478) and Massachusetts ($4,472) held the top five spots for highest assisted living costs — all roughly $2,000 more a month than the less expensive states. In general, the cost of senior care in the Northeast can run as much as 20 percent higher than other regions of the country.
Also, keep in mind that no matter which state you live in, they all share at least one thing in common: While assisted living costs in the West and Midwest are growing at the fastest rate, they hit all-time highs in 2014 and continue to climb universally across the country.
Initial costs are just a ballpark
When deciding on assisted living, however, it's important to understand other expenses which may impact the bottom line. From apartment size to level of care needed, each of these factors can significantly impact how your tab measures up against your state's average.
Additionally, one-time administrative fees (or “move-in fees”) can be upwards of $5,000, so be sure to understand and consider these costs when considering your assisted living options.
Other Senior Assisted Living Considerations
The cost of assisted living is only part of the big picture. It's also essential to factor in another potentially crippling expense: medical care, pharmacy, and hospital visits. In fact, the cost of common medical procedures are far from standardized and can fluctuate by six-figure amounts.
There is good news for seniors in some low-cost senior living assisted housing states. For many, the cost of medical procedures is also comparatively low.
While the cost of a joint replacement averages $31,410 in Montana, it can cost more than $48,000 in Oklahoma and Tennessee, both of which claimed “most affordable” spots in the assisted living arena. The takeaway for savings-minded seniors? It pays to consider which procedures may be needed both in the short- and long-term.
One last thing to keep in mind- While it's easy to get caught up in costs — particularly when you're watching your savings dwindle — it's not just a matter of dollars and cents.
Just as assisted living facilities vary in cost from state to state, they also vary in terms of quality of life. While choosing senior housing within your budget is important, so is choosing a community in which your aging loved one will thrive.