3 Biggest Factors Affecting Senior Living Costs

3 Biggest Factors Affecting Senior Living Costs

When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



One of the biggest concerns for families when they begin to consider senior living is cost. In fact according to Advisory Board’s 2017 report on Consumer Preferences in Post-Acute and Senior Care, when comparing communities the yearly cost is the number one factor affecting choice. While it’s true, senior living doesn’t come cheap; neither does aging in place at home. So before you let the sticker shock deter you from the tremendous benefits, let’s look closer at the biggest factors affecting senior living costs and the value behind those numbers.

3 Factors Affecting Senior Living Costs 

Level of Care

How much assistance do you or your loved one need? Your answer will definitely affect price as the greater the level of care the greater the cost. Here’s what you can expect on average per month:

Independent Living2 — For active older adults who require little daily assistance and are seeking a maintenance-free lifestyle with social opportunities

  • With a variety of accommodations from which to choose, the cost typically ranges from $1,400 to $4,000 per month

Assisted living1 — A residential arrangement providing personal care and health services

  • Private, one-bedroom: $4,000

Nursing home care1— Often a higher level of supervision and care than in assisted living with onsite nursing 24/7; also known as skilled care

  • Semi-private room: $7,441; Private room: $8,365

Memory Care3 — Designed to nurture and support those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, with specially-trained staff, 24/7 supervision

  • Single resident: $2,000 to $7,000 per month


Where you live matters as similar to how geography affects the real estate market, it can drive senior living cost up or down as well.  Consider these examples:

Most Expensive Areas for Assisted Living1 (private, one-bedroom)

  • District of Columbia – $9,266 per month
  • Alaska – $6,300 per month
  • New Jersey – $6,065 per month

Least Expensive Areas for Assisted Living1 (private, one-bedroom)

  • Missouri – $2,844 per month
  • Arkansas – $3,037 per month
  • Georgia – $3,100 per month


This is one area in which you have the most control as the more luxury you desire the higher the cost. While you may want the private balcony, gourmet meals and 5-star accommodations, do you need that? More importantly, will your budget allow it? Typically these options add to your monthly cost:

  • Type of residence – private or semi-private; studio, one-bedroom or two-bedroom
  • Second resident fee – may apply if your spouse is moving in with you
  • Pet fees
  • Concierge services
  • Private transportation

Keep in mind that communities price differently. Some may offer all-inclusive pricing and some may offer an a la carte menu giving you the flexibility to choose only the amenities and services most important to you.

The Value of Senior Living

Aging in place may seem like the less expensive option initially but have you considered the total cost of living at home? For a true apples to apples comparison of monthly expenses you must go beyond your mortgage or rent to include the cost of food, utilities, home maintenance, property taxes, insurance and entertainment as those are included in senior living. Then factor in the high cost of at-home care and/or modifications to make your home more accessible and you may find senior living is actually less expensive!

Aside from the cost, also consider the value of the positive impact on your quality of life with all the social and enrichment opportunities in senior living. Isolation and depression are common among seniors living at home, particularly when living alone, and can negatively impact your overall health and well-being.

Not to mention the peace of mind of a worry-free lifestyle with no unexpected expenses, no chores or maintenance and an environment designed specifically for seniors with safety features as standard.

For more information on how to pay for long term care, check out our Senior Funding Guide! 

New Call-to-action


  1. Genworth 2018 Cost of Care Survey
  2. Seniorhomes.com Independent Living Costs
  3. Genworth 2015 Cost of Care Survey
Vitality Living half Blossom
Skip to content