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Kaplan 7-11-23_Understanding the Expenses of Moving to a SLC (1)Cost is one of the most significant factors when deciding whether to move to senior living, and while average costs are helpful to know, they certainly don't tell the full story. What you'll actually pay can differ based on a variety of variables, including the type of care needed, your preferences, and even the community's location. Not to mention it can be hard to decipher what's included in the estimated monthly costs you're given and what's not. But we can help. From rent to one-time fees to add-on costs, here's how to better understand the expenses when moving to a senior living community. 

Understanding the expenses of moving to senior living 

Average senior living costs by type of care 

As you consider moving to senior living, it's important to understand that there isn't just one type of care. Each type of care supports different needs, and as the level of support increases, so does the average cost. As such, the three most common types of care include the following:  

  • Independent Living – The focus here is more on convenience and active living than care, so to speak, as it's designed for seniors who can still live independently. As such, home upkeep, cooking, and cleaning are provided as are a range of amenities as well as social and enrichment opportunities. Published data on the average cost of independent living varies greatly, but you can typically expect it to be between $1,000 to $4,000 monthly. 
  • Assisted Living – This type of care includes the same amenities and features as independent living. However, assisted living residents also have support with daily tasks as needed, such as bathing, dressing, and medication management. Onsite medical care can often be arranged too. According to the most recent Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly cost for a private one-bedroom is $4,500. 
  • Memory Care – Exclusively for those living with Alzheimer's disease or a form of dementia, this type of care offers 24-hour support in a secure, nurturing environment with specially trained staff. Residents have the comfort of a structured daily schedule, enrichment activities, and fitness and social opportunities to help them thrive. Published data on the average monthly cost for memory care also varies greatly, but you can usually expect a range between $2,000 to $7,000 monthly. 

Download our Choosing the Right Community Guide today! 

Understanding expenses when moving to senior living 

Now that you know more about the average costs, let's look at what makes up those numbers to understand better what to expect as you consider moving to senior living:  

  • Base rent – Also known as the base fee, this is the flat monthly cost for the senior living community, and it typically includes rent, utilities, cable, meals, activities, and housekeeping. Some communities may also include other services like scheduled group transportation as well. 
  • Upfront fees – These fees fall into two categories depending on the pay model of the community:  

a. Communities that use the monthly rent model usually charge a form of community fee or entry fee up front to cover the details necessary to move a resident into the community. These fees typically range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

b. Communities that use the buy-in model (Continuing Care Retirement Communities or Life Plan Communities) charge a buy-in fee up front. These fees ensure that the resident will receive higher levels of care they may need later. This one-time cost can run into the six figures.  

  • Add-on expenses – Depending on what you want from the senior living experience and your needs, you may incur additional expenses when moving to senior living, such as personal care or private transportation to and from doctor's appointments. Other expenses could include outings, beauty/barbershop charges, concierge services, and pet fees.  

Help offsetting the costs when moving to senior living 

If you're worried about staying within your budget, keep in mind that there are options that may help you offset the costs when moving to senior living. One option that's often overlooked is the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit for qualified wartime veterans or their surviving spouses. You might also consider long-term care insurance, a life insurance conversion, or perhaps a reverse mortgage as well to help you offset the cost of senior living 

To learn more about moving to senior living, download our Choosing the Right Community Guide today! 

Click here to download our Choosing The Right Senior Living Community guide


Written by All American