Would-be retirees, beware: if you’re looking for a senior-specific community in which to live out your golden years, it’s going to cost you, whether you’re healthy or ill. In fact, it's likely to set a record.
That’s the determination of A Place for Mom’s first National Senior Living Price Index, which looks at recent cost trends in senior housing and care throughout the U.S.
The index is a sampling of the referrals given by A Place for Mom, based on monthly fee data it collected on more than 10,000 senior-living communities (independent living, assisted living and memory care), including 80,000 move-ins for seniors from Jan. 1, 2011-Dec. 31, 2014.
According to the index, while independent living is cheaper ($2,520 a month is the national average) than the other two categories ($3,823 for assisted-living and $4,849 for memory care), it’s still not what you’d call cheap.
And when you add in the medical care, personal support services and other expenses connected with monitoring and caring for those in need of either assisted living or Alzheimer’s/dementia care facilities, it can get very pricey indeed — not to mention that the cost can vary wildly, depending on the region of the country in which it’s provided.
According to A Place for Mom, all prices hit record highs in 2014.
And while independent living costs are rising faster than inflation — monthly rent alone for an independent living community rose 8.3 percent over the four years of the data, compared with inflation increasing at 5 percent — the most expensive place to be, regardless of the level of care needed, is the Northeast, where senior care costs 10-20 percent more than in the other parts of the country. In the Northeast, independent living comes in at $2,765 a month. Assisted-living there will run you $4,315.
Independent living costs are rising most quickly in the South, at 3.9 percent per year, and in the Midwest, where they rose 3.1 percent per year.
Memory care, which is the most expensive of the three categories, is considerably more expensive in the Northeast, at $5,779 a month. But costs are rising quickly for it and for assisted-living, and the regions where those costs are rising the fastest are the West — where memory care increased 2.2 percent per year and assisted living increased 1.7 percent — and the Midwest, where memory care was up 2.1 percent and assisted living was up 1.9 percent.