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Assisted living is an alternative to traditional nursing home care for senior citizens who are no longer able to live on their own and take care of all their needs.

How much these kinds of facilities cost can be exceedingly difficult to determine for those seeking such arrangements. This is an industry not known for its transparency. A primary reason for that is the inevitable “sticker shock” that awaits those who start shopping around and checking prices. Owners of assisted living units simply don’t want to scare away prospective residents by advertising steep monthly costs.

So what are those costs?

According to the annually published Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the median cost for one month of rent in a U.S.-based assisted living facility is $4,300. That’s for a private one-bedroom unit.

This rate varies considerably based on location. For example, Missouri tends to have some of the lowest rates with an average unit there coming in at $3,000 a month. Delaware was found to have the priciest options averaging $6,690 a month.

Prices are high and are going up. Between 2019 and 2020, assisted living rates rose by 6.15%. It must be noted that this steeper than usual climb was the result of COVID-19.

Senior citizens were quickly identified as the most vulnerable population to serious illness or death due to COVID. That meant the management of these units had to take numerous extra steps to ensure safety for their residents, resulting in more costs.

The rise in rates had been trending upward by 3.8% per year in the previous 15 years to the COVID era.

A notable artifact of assisted living facility rates is that prices can vary by a wide range even within properties owned by the same company. Brookdale is a company serving 695 communities across 42 states. Its rental range demonstrates a vast swing from $800 a month to $7,725. Many variables come into play, such as apartment type, location, level of service and more.

Assisted living is can be more expensive than other forms of senior care arrangements, but it is far less expensive than others. For example, assisted living is 2.7 times more expensive than adult day health care. On the other hand, the average cost of a private room in a nursing home is $8,821.