The national average for an assisted living facility in 2017 for a private, one-bedroom unit was $45,000 a year, but costs can be more than 50 percent higher in some states and a third lower in others. The costliest states for assisted living are Delaware: $72,000, Alaska $72,000, New Jersey: $70,000, Massachusetts: $67,000, and Rhode Island: $62,000. The least expensive states are Missouri: $32,000, Georgia: $34,000, South Carolina $34,000, Arkansas and North Dakota: $36,000.
Although no one wants to send mom or dad halfway across the country, a look at the finances may prove that less expensive assisted living will allow more money for plane tickets for visits. The question to ask is how often you visit now and how often you and your senior feel is appropriate for visits.
Other financial line items to look at are the costs of home care and transportation for seniors no longer able to drive. Assisted living facilities generally include assistance with housekeeping, personal care, and provide meals even if the unit contains a kitchen area. If your senior has to pay for rides to the doctor, house cleaning, grocery delivery, and other such needs, calculate the cost and include it in the equation.
Recreation and socialization needs vary widely. If your senior likes to shop, go to movies, dine with friends, attend clubs, how much will this cost from their present home? Many of these social and recreational activities are included in assisted living. What about public transportation? Is it easily reached from home or is the assisted living center closer to a bus line?
The critical question is which does the senior prefer: to live at home or move into an assisted living facility. Run the numbers so they will know which is more affordable — and how much of their assets they willing to spend on living where they choose.
It is impossible to put a price on happiness or on peace of mind. Both must be factored in when making such a drastic life decision.