Across the country, assisted living costs continue to rise around the country, ballooning upward of $4,500 per month for a private room. Based on current trends of caregiver shortages and heightened demands for long-term care, these costs will likely continue to rise.
However, some states fall well below this national average. Depending on your situation, it may be advantageous to retire in one of these nine states, which have the lowest costs for assisted living.
South Carolina’s motto, Animis Opibusque Parati, translates to “Prepared in mind and resources.” Whoever set its assisted living costs clearly took that motto to heart, since it represents one of the nine most affordable in the nation for seniors in need of its services.
According to Genworth, staying at a South Carolina assisted living facility in 2021 cost an average of $3,612 per month. South Carolina is also among the states where Medicaid can fund assisted living, with annual income capped at $14,580.
It’s a peach of a time to stay in Georgia assisted living communities, owing to their low cost. At $3,535 per month, Georgia comes in as the eighth lowest in the nation, with similarly advantageous adult day care costs of $1,300 per month (on average).
Georgia Medicaid plans are paid in association with the Georgia Families and Georgia Families 360º organizations. Check their website for their unwinding plans post-pandemic to see if you still qualify for benefits.
Alabama has been nicknamed “The Heart of Dixie” since the Civil War. One of the most hospitable things about it these days is how far below the national average its assisted living costs are.
At $3,503 per month on average, Alabama earns its spot at number seven, but this isn’t as impressive as its average adult day care costs, which in 2021 were a staggeringly low $758 per month. Additionally, more than a million citizens in Alabama take out Medicaid benefits. Visit their government Medicaid site to see if you qualify for even lower assisted living costs.
Mississippi is nicknamed “The Hospitality State,” so it’s fitting that it would factor into this list of the nation’s lowest assisted living costs. At $3,500 per month on average, Mississippi just narrowly beat Alabama for average care costs in 2021.
The Mississippi Medicaid office offers nursing facilities reimbursement, long-term care admission screening, and more for qualified seniors to further lower costs.
Utah has the 30th cheapest cost of living in the country and stretches across mountains and canyons as far as the eye can see. It also comes in at No. 5 on our list of cheap assisted living costs, owing in part to that amazing expanse of land, which keeps the cost of living low for its 11.7 percent of spread-out seniors, the lowest senior population of any state.
Its assisted living costs in 2021 tied with Mississippi at $3,500 per month, so consider this a joint fifth place. Like most states, Utah offers Medicaid services to those who qualify. Check their Health & Human Services department to learn more.
The Bluegrass State, situated right between the Ohio River and the Appalachian Mountains, is famous for its horse races, baseball, and fried chicken. You can put its assisted living costs down as another plus, though, since Kentucky ranked the fourth cheapest in 2021 at $3,448 per month.
Kentucky offers multiple types of Medicaid, depending on income level and family size as well as whether you take Supplemental Security Income or have a disability. Visit the website of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services for more information.
3. North Dakota
The Roughrider state goes easy on its senior citizens, with some of the most affordable costs of assisted living care in the country. Residence at one of their facilities costs $3,391 per month on average.
Yet, North Dakota has one of the nation’s highest costs of nursing home care, with a private room in 2021 costing an average of $12,587 per month. This just goes to show that the type of care matters when gauging the cost. To mitigate it, North Dakota offers long-term care services through Medicaid.
2. South Dakota
South Dakota may be most famous for Mount Rushmore, but it should get more recognition for its affordable care services, since so many seniors need them. Its assisted living costs in 2021 were $3,350 per month on average, making it the nation’s second-lowest state.
In Missouri, the phrase, “I’m from Missouri,” means you’re skeptical and can’t be easily swayed. But any Missouri resident should rest easy when it comes to assisted living costs, because the proof is in the numbers. Missouri has the nation’s lowest average for assisted living costs by quite a bit, with prices on average of $3,000 per month in 2021.
They also have below-average nursing home costs. As always, if you’re a low-income senior in Missouri, you may also qualify for additional assistance through Missouri Medicaid.
What Contributes to These Low Costs?
The national average for assisted living costs was $4,500 per month in 2021, according to Genworth. In just 10 years, the average is predicted to exceed $6,000.
There are many reasons for the increase in long-term care costs, including the availability of workers post-pandemic and rising housing costs, which affect the cost of maintaining assisted living facilities.
Therefore, states that are able to stay below the national average for assisted living costs are likely those with a combination of a healthy housing market and a stable population of seniors whose demand for care can be met by the available labor.
In light of the increased assisted living costs nationwide, planning for long-term care expenses should factor heavily into your retirement strategy. These nine states represent the lowest assisted living costs the nation can offer.
However, you don’t have to drop everything, including family and friends, to retire in one of these states. Many factors determine how expensive your retirement plan will be for your situation, including your Medicaid eligibility. This list is just a lay of the land to help you make a better plan by knowing the states that, all else being equal, offer the cheapest assisted living costs in America.
Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here