New Data Reveals the Truth Behind Senior Living Costs

The cost of senior housing and care may be outpacing inflation, but now’s a great time to consider making the transition from homeowner to senior living resident, according to newly released data from A Place for Mom.

The senior living referral service’s new National Senior Living Cost Index is based on actual rent and care charges collected from a sample of almost 100,000 A Place for Mom move-ins between 2012 and 2015—and that makes it the first of its kind, according to Charlie Severn, vice president of brand marketing at A Place for Mom.

Other senior living cost-of-care estimates rely on list prices, whereas A Place for Mom’s analysis uses actual rents paid and care charges, Severn told Senior Housing News. A Place for Mom is the sole organization within the senior housing industry tracking what consumers actually pay for care costs and rent, he explained.


American families paid $1,200 more in 2015 for senior housing and care than they did in 2014, as annual costs across independent living, assisted living and memory care increased 2.7% nationwide, the data show. That means 2014-2015’s growth in senior living expenses was 1.5-times faster than core inflation.

Meanwhile, Washington, D.C., Boston and New York are the top-three most expensive metros for senior living, the data show, while Tampa, Las Vegas and Miami are the top-three least expensive.

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These findings aren’t necessarily surprising, Ben Hanowell, a data scientist at A Place for Mom, told SHN.

“Costs are higher where you’d expect them to be higher, and lower where you’d expect them to be lower,” Hanowell said.

The Senior Living Cost Index also breaks down senior living costs within metros.

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“In any given geography, there can be a pretty big range in terms of cost,” Severn said. For example, senior living in Manhattan is 9-10% more costly than the New York metro as a whole, the data show. In Baltimore, meanwhile, it’s more expensive to live in the city center than in the surrounding metro area.

Now is a good time to sell a house to move into senior living, the data also reveal. Although the median cost of senior living increased 2.7% from 2014 to 2015, the increase remained far below the 7% median growth rate of the national housing market from 2014 to 2015.

“This makes the sale of a home from a timing standpoint pretty good,” Severn said.

Ultimately, the goal of the National Senior Living Cost Index is to help consumers and families educate themselves on what’s available in the marketplace, as well as what they should expect in terms of cost, Severn said.

“I think folks will discover that they have a lot of choice available to them,” Severn said.

Written by Mary Kate Nelson

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