Marion is a city in McDowell County, midway between Asheville and Hickory. It’s home to 7,717 people, with 16.6% aged 65 and older. Marion’s older residents experience unhurried ambience, a low cost of living, excellent public transportation and very low rates of violent crime. Although there are indoor attractions, such as the Historic Carson House, the city’s true appeal is outdoors. Tubing on the Catawba River is a popular pastime, while seniors who prefer partaking in local produce can be found at English Farmstead Cheese and South Creek Vineyards & Winery.

Independent seniors who wish to maintain some level of autonomy might want to consider assisted living. These communities take care of daily needs, such as managing medications, taking care of housekeeping and preparing meals, while otherwise not infringing on residents’ time. The typical monthly fee for assisted living in Marion is $4,000, about 5% above the state average. However, it costs $300 less than the national average for this type of care.

This guide will review the pros and cons of living in Marion and the costs for different types of senior care. It also includes a list of resources for Marion’s seniors.

Directory of Assisted Living Facilities in Marion, NC

Rose Hill Retirement Community

120 Fleming Avenue, Marion, NC, 28752

My mom is a resident of Rose Hill Retirement Community. It’s privately owned so I feel like the care is a lot better. They’ve got big rooms. It’s individual rooms and not shared rooms. Whenever there’ … (read more)
My mom is a resident of Rose Hill Retirement Community. It’s privately owned so I feel like the care is a lot better. They’ve got big rooms. It’s individual rooms and not shared rooms. Whenever there’ … (read more)

Lake James Lodge Assisted Living

63 Lakeview Drive North, Marion, NC, 28752

Cedarbrook Residential Center

1267 Pinnacle Church Road, Nebo, NC, 28761

Nasty rooms that do not get cleaned, The staff talks down and bad to my family member. I haven’t heard of but 1 activity they went out to Mcdonalds and then they said all family’s stimulus money was g … (read more)
Nasty rooms that do not get cleaned, The staff talks down and bad to my family member. I haven’t heard of but 1 activity they went out to Mcdonalds and then they said all family’s stimulus money was g … (read more)

Mcalpine Adult Care

3806 Kathy Road, Morganton, NC, 28655

Mcdowell House

1687 Dairy Road, Nebo, NC, 28761

What to Consider About Assisted Living in Marion

The North Carolina Division of Health Care Regulation regulates, supervises and licenses assisted living facilities in the state. It can make unannounced inspections to ensure facilities continue to comply with their licenses, revoking them from those that do not. It also trains staff from other departments whose work takes them to senior care facilities, such as the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Assisted Living in Marion

  • Marion is an affordable city, as data supplied by Sperling’s Best Places makes clear. Working on an average cost of living index of 100 for the country, Marion’s is 79.9, showing that incomes can go far in the city. It’s not all good news, however, as health costs are higher. However, these can be offset by other costs frequently seen by seniors in assisted living, such as transportation.
  • Marion’s crime statistics reveal two extremes. Whereas property crime is significantly more common than the state and national averages, violent crime is the opposite, at least 75% lower than the North Carolina and U.S. averages. Seniors in assisted living communities concerned about property crime may be comforted to know that most include 24-hour surveillance, known to deter burglars, and many also install additional security measures.
  • Due to its remote location and small population, Marion has limited medical services, although McDowell Hospital is well-regarded by its patients. However, being only 45 minutes from Hickory and Asheville, seniors don’t have to travel far for more choice, which includes Mission Hospital-Asheville, ranked #12 in the state. Marion also has 17 Medicare-registered physicians, including family doctors, surgeons and urologists.
  • The climate in Marion is mostly senior-friendly. Snowfall averages about four inches per year, so older residents aren’t confronted by slippery sidewalks as often as their peers in other states. In January, temperatures average at a chilly 25 degrees, but in the summer months, it’s a much more comfortable 89 degrees. Rainfall is about 12 inches more than the U.S. average of 38. Although rain isn’t for everyone, it serves to enrich the local soil that gives the area its abundance of forests and grassland.
  • McDowell County Transit Department provides a crucial service for Marion seniors who don’t have their own transportation. McDowell Transit is a free curb-to-curb van service that can transport seniors within McDowell County for almost any purpose, including nonemergency medical appointments.  

Paying for Assisted Living in Marion

Assessing the findings of the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey shows that the average monthly cost of an assisted living placement in Marion is $4,000. Although this is $200 per month more than the typical fee paid in North Carolina, it’s also $300 per month below the U.S. average.

The Cost of Assisted Living in Nearby Cities

Despite Marion’s average fees being about 5% more than the state average, the city isn’t the most expensive in North Carolina. Winston-Salem’s seniors typically pay $4,500, while in Charlotte, $4,649 is the norm. However, Asheville offers a more affordable alternative, with fees averaging $2,750.




North Carolina


The United States







The Cost of Other Types of Senior Care

Senior care costs typically reflect the level of care and the facility’s expenses, which is why the cost of adult day care in Marion is lower than other types of care, at $1,192. However, for $4,000 per month, seniors can get home care or home health care (which is home care with medical services) or assisted living, which blends support and accommodations. The most expensive option is nursing home care. A typical private room will set seniors back about $6,996, although if they’re willing to share a room, fees drop by $122 per month.


Homemaker Services


Home Health Aide


Adult Day Health Care


Assisted Living Facility


Nursing Home Facility (semiprivate room)


Nursing Home Facility (private room)

Note: Data for Marion was unavailable, so data for the nearest city, Hickory, was used instead.

Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Marion

Learn more about these programs, plus who’s eligible, on our Assisted Living in North Carolina page.

Paying for Assisted Living Facilities in North Carolina

More Ways to Pay for Assisted Living

While many families use their own funds or personal assets to pay for assisted living, there are plenty of additional options to cover these costs. Some additional ways to finance assisted living costs include:

  • Veterans Benefits
  • Life Insurance Policy
  • Long-term Care Insurance
  • Reverse Mortgage

For more information about different ways to finance assisted living, visit our Assisted Living in North Carolina page.

Free Assisted Living Resources in Marion

The following resources are examples of how Marion and McDowell County support older residents. There are many more, some of which seniors can get more information about from staff at McDowell County Senior Center.




(828) 659-0821

McDowell County Senior Center and its partner center in Old Fort provide seniors with opportunities to socialize with others, learn new skills and develop physical and mental fitness. The centers are also the focal point for some medical services, such as blood pressure screenings and immunizations. The fitness room is stocked with a range of exercise bikes and other machines, and there are numerous classes to stimulate the creative sides of the centers' members.

(276) 783-2126

Marion VA Clinic is open during working hours on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It provides primary care to adults and refers seniors who need specialty care to the Mountain Home VA Medical Center. The clinic is equipped with examination rooms and can process routine prescriptions. 

(828) 659-0826

Seniors in Marion who want to productively use their free time to benefit their community should contact the Volunteer Center of McDowell County, based in McDowell County Senior Center. The volunteer center can connect seniors with the appropriate government agency, national charity or local nonprofit with needs that can be satisfied by the senior's skills and experience. The volunteer determines the number of hours they donate. Work can vary greatly, from helping out at the Foothills Community Theatre or working in the Fabulous Finds thrift store to supporting the American Red Cross.

(800) 331-9891

The purpose of the Long-Term Care Ombudsman is to resolve disagreements between seniors and their families and residential care providers. Anyone can make a complaint to the ombudsman, who will investigate and seek a speedy resolution. Complaints that indicate criminal behavior, such as elder abuse allegations, are immediately transferred to the appropriate authorities. The ombudsman's additional duties include educating seniors in residential care about their rights and providing some guidance on matters related to Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Marion

Marion-area assisted living communities must adhere to the comprehensive set of state laws and regulations that all assisted living communities in North Carolina are required to follow. Visit our Assisted Living in North Carolina page for more information about these laws.

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in North Carolina