How Does Assisted Living Work?

Assisted living works by creating customized care plans for residents. This includes documenting required services, such as medication management, and providing assistance with nutrition and activities of daily living (ADLs). Many assisted living communities offer several levels of care and place new residents based on their health status and abilities, incorporating social activities and communal facilities that are key components of resident life. 

How Do Families Pay for Assisted Living?

Most families pay for assisted living out of pocket. They often use retirement funds, investment income or personal savings. Some people sell their existing homes or take out reverse mortgages. Long-term care insurance also provides coverage if purchased in advance. If a family member has life insurance, cashing out the policy offers a source of income to help pay for assisted living. Also, financial planning services offered by many facilities can assist families in managing these costs effectively. 

Do Government Programs Pay for Assisted Living?

Government programs cover a portion of assisted living costs in some situations. While Medicare doesn’t cover assisted living, it may cover certain medical services. For example, the policy would pay for a medically necessary procedure or test received at an assisted living community. Many states have Medicaid waiver programs that pay a partial benefit toward assisted living for eligible members. Rules for this benefit vary by state.

If your family member served in the military and needs help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, and grooming, they may be eligible for a pension through the Veterans Administration’s Aid and Attendance Program.

How Much Does Assisted Living Cost Per Month?

Assisted living provides a median cost of $5,350 per month, according to 2024 data from the Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Although this average reflects the entire U.S., assisted living costs vary significantly by state. The average assisted living cost increased by nearly 19% from 2021 to 2024, highlighting the need for careful financial planning considering regional cost variations.