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Update: The Cheapest and Most Expensive States for Assisted Living

Update, Feb. 17, 2017:
Lincoln Financial Group’s annual What Care Costs study has weighed in on the most expensive and least expensive states for assisted living. The data is based on responses from about 12,500 assisted living facilities.

The average rates below are monthly. For a one-bedroom apartment in assisted living, the most expensive states were:

  • New Jersey – $6,587
  • Massachusetts – $6,323
  • Connecticut – $6,091
  • Maryland – $6,005
  • Maine – $5,928

The cheapest states were:

  • Arkansas – $3,653
  • Alabama – $3,536
  • Louisiana – $3,455
  • Mississippi – $3,327
  • North Dakota – $3,102

The national average in Lincoln’s survey was $4,560 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in assisted living.

Note that Lincoln’s national average is higher than the national figure of  $3,628 a month found by Genworth Financial in the survey discussed below. That may be because Lincoln cites the mean average while Genworth uses the median. (Here’s a math refresher on those different types of averages.) Also, assisted living prices can vary based on the level of care a resident needs. So while these average prices provide guidance, an individual assisted living facility can give you a firmer and more detailed figure for your situation.

See the full What Care Costs survey here. Enter the sponsor code “Lincoln” in the upper right to log in and see all the data.

Original article, Oct. 24, 2016:

Any form of retirement requires a good deal of financial planning. Considering where to retire is an important part of this strategy since costs of living vary widely by area. Seniors looking at a retirement that includes assisted care need to consider their location even more. Recent data show dramatic differences in assisted living costs depending on where you settle down.

According to a report published earlier this year by insurer Genworth Financial, the national median average for a year in an assisted living facility is around $44,000. But that figure can almost double in some regions – and fall by nearly a third in others.

Woman and aide with walker, to illustrate article on assisted living costs.

At least 70 percent of Americans over the age of 65 will need some form of long-term care during their lives, according to estimates. Single seniors, without partners to rely on, and younger adults who are arranging care for parents tend to be particularly hard-hit financially.

So which states will set you back on assisted living costs, and which are relative bargains?

The Most Expensive States for Assisted Living

These are the five most expensive states for the median annual cost of a private, one-bedroom unit in an assisted living community, according to Genworth:

Washington, D.C. – $80,400

Alaska – $69,000

Massachusetts – $65,550

Delaware – $64,416

Maine – $59,892

As you can see, the cost of assisted living in the District of Columbia is almost twice the national median average. While most of these states are on the East Coast, Alaska is an outlier. Proportionately, the Frontier State also has astronomically high costs for other forms of senior care, such as nursing homes.

The Cheapest States for Assisted Living

On the other hand, assisted living costs in the Southeast tend to be considerably lower than the national average. Again, these are the median annual costs of a private, one-bedroom unit in an assisted living community:

Missouri – $30,483

Assisted living in the Show Me State costs $50,000 less than in D.C., and $35,000 less than in Massachusetts. That amounts to serious savings over the course of retirement years in which you need assistive care.

Oklahoma – $33,630

Georgia – $34,200

Alabama – $34,800

Utah – $35,400

Consider Inflation in Assisted Living, Too

When planning for assisted living costs, take the long view on inflation as well. The average national cost of assisted living grew 0.78% from 2015 to 2016, according to Genworth. Over five years, the average cost grew 2.16%.

It can be difficult to forecast an entire financial plan for senior care. Retirees should take special care to consider location and inflation – and perhaps consult a professional adviser to make sure your plan fits your retirement budget.

Contract for assisted living, to illustrate assisted living costs.

Assisted Living Costs in All 50 States

Here’s a state-by-state look at assisted living costs, as reported by Genworth. These numbers are the median costs of a private, one-bedroom unit in an assisted living facility in each state, the District of Columbia and nationally.

State Monthly Cost Annual Cost
USA – National $3,628 $43,536
Alabama $2,900 $34,800
Alaska $5,750 $69,000
Arizona $3,500 $42,000
Arkansas $3,133 $37,596
California $4,000 $48,000
Colorado $4,063 $48,756
Connecticut $4,950 $59,400
Delaware $5,368 $64,416
District of Columbia $6,700 $80,400
Florida $3,045 $36,540
Georgia $2,850 $34,200
Hawaii $4,125 $49,500
Idaho $3,200 $38,400
Illinois $3,898 $46,776
Indiana $3,528 $42,336
Iowa $3,518 $42,216
Kansas $3,863 $46,356
Kentucky $3,300 $39,600
Louisiana $3,155 $37,860
Maine $4,991 $59,892
Maryland $3,750 $45,000
Massachusetts $5,463 $65,556
Michigan $3,563 $42,756
Minnesota $3,200 $38,400
Mississippi $3,200 $38,400
Missouri $2,537 $30,444
Montana $3,513 $42,156
Nebraska $3,510 $42,120
Nevada $3,050 $36,600
New Hampshire $4,800 $57,600
New Jersey $4,950 $59,400
New Mexico $3,600 $43,200
New York $4,136 $49,632
North Carolina $3,000 $36,000
North Dakota $3,340 $40,080
Ohio $3,600 $43,200
Oklahoma $2,803 $33,636
Oregon $4,065 $48,780
Pennsylvania $3,600 $43,200
Rhode Island $4,931 $59,172
South Carolina $3,000 $36,000
South Dakota $3,370 $40,440
Tennessee $3,780 $45,360
Texas $3,515 $42,180
Utah $2,950 $35,400
Vermont $4,860 $58,320
Virginia $3,950 $47,400
Washington $4,500 $54,000
West Virginia $3,263 $39,156
Wisconsin $3,934 $47,208
Wyoming $3,995 $47,940

Source: Genworth Cost of Care Survey

Learn more about assisted living in After55.com’s Assisted Living Guide.

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