What Does it Cost to Stay in a Retirement Home?

Retirement Home

If you’re considering trading in your house for a retirement home, you’ll certainly have plenty of options to consider. Retirement homes are springing up all around the country, offering seniors the opportunity to live enriching, independent lives with access to a wide range of amenities and services. The accommodation offered by the homes can vary considerably. Some consist of apartment-style rooms or suites of rooms with a living area, one or more bedrooms, one or more bathrooms, and a kitchen or a kitchenette. Others consist of standalone condos, houses, and even motor homes. Some retirement accommodation is offered in independent living communities in which social engagement and independent living are promoted. Other types offer more specialist accommodation for those with extensive support needs. The costs involved vary widely depending on factors such as the type of accommodation, the amenities on offer, the location, and more besides. To help you decide which type of community best suits your needs and budget, we’ve broken down everything you need to know about retirement home costs.

Move-In Costs

Although it varies by accommodation, most retirement homes will require a deposit before you move in. As refund policies vary, it’s always wise to confirm the accommodation’s cooling-off period before making payment. If you commit to a binding agreement, the deposit will then be used as part of the purchase price or entry payment.

Entrance Fees

As actsretirement.org notes, if you chose to live in a Continuing Care Retirement Community, you can expect to pay an entrance fee prior to moving in. Continuing Care Retirement Communities include every level of care, minimizing the need for residents to move if their support needs increase over time. The entrance fee is used to cover the cost of these expanding healthcare needs. According to gao.gov, entrance fees can vary wildly, depending on whether you choose a Type A contract (which includes unlimited care service with no additional fees if care needs increase) or a Type D contract (which includes health care on a fee for service basis). Entrance fees for Type A contracts will typically come in at around $1,800; entrance fees for Type D contracts can cost as much as $600,000.

Cost of Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities offer a wide range of amenities, services, and housing options. They’re ideal for seniors who want to maintain independent lives while enjoying easy access to community facilities, resort-style amenities, and various other forms of social engagement. Homes can either be rented or bought, with options including houses, townhouses, apartments, mobile homes, or motor homes. Costs vary depending on location, size, amenities, and various other factors. According to Senior Homes, the states with the most expensive average monthly independent living costs are:

  • Massachusetts – Monthly Cost: $4,002
  • Maryland – Monthly Cost: $3,964
  • New York – Monthly Cost: $3,895
  • New Hampshire – Monthly Cost: $3,537
  • Connecticut – Monthly Cost: $3,490
  • The states with the least expensive average monthly independent living costs are:
  • South Dakota – Monthly Cost: $1,399
  • Minnesota – Monthly Cost: $1,679
  • Louisiana – Monthly Cost: $1,804
  • Utah – Monthly Cost: $1,806
  • Illinois – Monthly Cost: $1,859

Cost of Assisted Living Communities

Assisted living communities, like independent living communities, offer independent living. However, the level of support and care available is more extensive than it is in independent living communities. They’re ideal for seniors who prioritize independence but who require additional assistance with everyday activities such as bathing, dressing, and self-medicating. Residents are provided with access to communal areas. Engagement and social interaction are encouraged via scheduled events and activities. Meals are provided three times a day. While costs vary, the average for a one-bedroom apartment in an assisted living community is around $3,628 per month.

Cost of Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are designed for seniors who require a greater level of support and ongoing care than independent and assisted living communities provide. They are usually the preferred option for people with chronic illnesses or those who require short term care following an illness or hospitalization. Round the clock support and care is provided by onsite healthcare staff and nurses. Food and snacks are provided, while laundry needs and cleaning are taken care of. On average, a semi-private room in a nursing home will cost $198 per day. A private room will cost around $219 per day.

Cost of Memory Care/ Special Care Living Units

Memory care/ special care living units provide accommodation and supported living to Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Independence is encouraged via regular activities, therapy, and behavioral management services. Residents also benefit from round the clock supervised care via onside healthcare staff and trained nurses. The median for a semi-private room in a memory care/ special care living unit is $208 per day. The median for a private room in a memory care/ special care living unit is $233 per day.

Weighing Up the Costs

On first reading, the costs of moving into a retirement home can seem substantial. However, compared to the cost of either staying in your current home or moving into a relative’s home, it can often work out to your benefit. While some people choose to move to a retirement community for the amenities, social engagement, and opportunity to live fully independent lives in a safe, secure environment, others make the decision based on either their immediate care needs or their expectation of future care needs. For people with health issues, reduced mobility, or other age-related requirements, the costs involved in moving into a retirement home are often favorable compared to the cost of making the home modifications needed to accommodate their changing needs. The expense involved in bathroom remodeling, grab bars, ramps, wider doorways, improved lightning, easy-grip door handles, and other modifications can easily add up to around $100,000. When you factor in the expense of grocery shopping, yard maintenance, transportation, personal care and support, home care, and other essentials (all of which are included as standard in the cost of a retirement home), the cost of aging in place can easily exceed the cost of moving to a retirement community. Ultimately, all needs are different, and retirement homes are certainly not for everyone. However, if your decision will be primarily motivated by financial considerations, it’s vital to consider the costs of aging in place as much as the costs of moving to a retirement home. Once you weigh up all the costs involved, you might be surprised at how much you stand to save by choosing a retirement home.


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