The disadvantages of assisted living include the lack of affordability for some seniors and decreased privacy and independence. Surveys and statistics consistently show that a significant majority of seniors prefer to age in place rather than move into a shared living environment in their retirement years. 

According to the National Center for Assisted Living, over 800,000 seniors reside in assisted living facilities. However, data from the CDC show that roughly 4.9 million seniors receive health care at home. Concerns about assisted living often revolve around financial considerations, as well as a desire to avoid depending on others for support.  

Financial Concerns

Moving into an assisted living facility can be an expensive undertaking. While prices vary quite widely by region and by the levels of amenities provided, the Genworth Cost of Care Survey reports that the national average monthly cost of assisted living is $4,500. As of late 2022, the average monthly cost of rent is roughly $2,000.

However, the considerably higher cost of assisted living also covers a significant amount of amenities and services that generally aren’t included in the cost of independent living. Almost all assisted living facilities provide three meals a day as part of the monthly price. Many offer perks such as local transportation, on-site fitness equipment, in-room internet access and occasional live entertainment. 

Independence Concerns

Remaining independent and active is psychologically associated with higher self-confidence and better health outcomes, both mentally and physically. However, while living on one’s own does foster a sense of independence, the flip side is that social isolation is damaging to mental and physical health. According to the CDC, such isolation can increase the risk of developing dementia by 50%. The effects of social isolation are also associated with a significant increase in heart disease and strokes.

Making the switch from independent living to an assisted living environment can be difficult emotionally. Most assisted living facilities take this into consideration when designing experiences for residents and put an emphasis on encouraging social activity through group dinners, movie nights, shared outings, dances and birthday celebrations.