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10 States with the Most Affordable Assisted Living Costs

By on June 12, 2014

Montana State SealWhen I worked as an Senior Resource Coordinator for A Place for Mom, I had countless conversations with families and seniors who were in the process of searching for care. I remember one elderly woman in particular, we’ll call her Janet, who asked me, “What state has the cheapest assisted living?”

Janet lived alone and had no living family, but she needed hands-on care. She was in an awkward financial position such that her income was too high to qualify for Medicaid, but not really enough to afford the care and housing she needed.

Most people would agree that it’s sad and unfortunate that a senior would who need to consider leaving her state to afford care, but economic realities aren’t always friendly. Janet genuinely saw moving out of state to be the solution to her dilemma.

At the time, I didn’t have the data below, so I didn’t have an answer for Janet on our call. I speculated that states with lower housing costs would also have lower assisted living costs, but urged her to reconsider moving out of state. By putting her income in what’s called a Miller Trust, I told her, she could potentially qualify for Medicaid after all.

Assisted Living Costs Less in the South and Plains States

Ultimately, Janet did not end up needing to leave her state. But if there are any other Janets out there, here’s a list of states where assisted living is most affordable according to our Cost of Care Survey. As one might expect, southern states and plains states are somewhat over-represented on this list. These figures are based on the average cost of a one-bedroom assisted living apartment in the state:

51. Montana ($2,559)

50. South Dakota ($2,630)

49. Idaho ($2,687)

48. Oklahoma ($2,706)

47. Mississippi ($2,784)

46. North Dakota ($2,808)

45. Indiana ($2,884)

44. Tennessee ($2,913)

43. Kentucky ($2,916)

42. Michigan ($2,927)

For this analysis we counted the District as Columbia as a state, hence the rankings end on #51 instead of #50.

We welcome your comments below.


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Jeff attended the University of Alaska Fairbanks on an academic scholarship, and also studied creative writing at University of Hull (UK). He found his calling in 2009 when he began working with seniors and their families at A Place for Mom, and has immersed himself in writing and research about issues affecting older adults. He also enjoys literature, spending time with his daughter and recording music

  1. C.V. Beck
    Stuck as I seem to be in nasty old LA, I am interesting in what we call truly affordable housing in a place like New Mexico. Don't need assisted living yet but it probably is not too far away...I have 2 cats and need them to also live normally. Thanks for your input. CV
  2. Beverly
    I wanted to comment, I am in the process of relocating my parents from Washington to California where I live. I have to say, the places I have enquired about, took tours etc... are nice, but the average cost is between 4500-5500, and that's before my parents have been completely assessed. They are struggling to be able live by their family, but it's so darn expensive, and this comes strictly from private funds. Can anyone give me any suggestions on how to get the cost down at all? Thank you Beverly
  3. frank florit
    I really don't need assisted living, but I can't afford independent living in the state of Carolina. my social security and pension check comes to $2,0016.00, I need a one bedroom apartment, can you help me. thank you. Frank
  4. Jeff Anderson
    Hi Beverly, Here is an article with information that might be helpful: You can also contact us directly to be connected with a Senior Living Advisor who can help you identify more affordable communities.
    Jeff Anderson
    AssistedLiving.Com Team
  5. Jan Crawford
    Have you looked into private home care. I live in Texas and there are several here that have opened up in good neighborhoods. They usually care for 3-4 people per house.
  6. Liz
    Where does NC rank in costs?
  7. Jeff Anderson
    Hi Liz. North Carolina assisted living costs are generally on par with the rest of the nation. It can really depend on the location of the community and a number of other facors.
    Jeff team
  8. deborah
    My husbands needs assisted living. When I kept telling the discharge adviser for 3 weeks that i could not afford the places she was offering, i was threatened with jail.being charged with abandonment and criminal neglect. she also said i needed to get a job. i care for my 81 year old father also. i have not chosen a place because i feel that i have been backed into a corner and am being forced to accept what shes offering. this can't be legal. sorry for the typing and no caps, i also have a broken wrist.