Mom and Dad, We Need to Talk: Assisted Living for Aging Parents

Assisted Living: How Much Does It Cost?

Eighty percent of assisted living is paid for privately. But there are a wide range of price levels available, and there are affordable facilities out there. This choice often means you'll have to sell your parents' home, but it is a reasonable thing to do. Many families also find that they can chip in and pay for their parents' care collectively.

And it's essential that you look at individual residences, because each one has its own flavor and each state defines assisted living differently.

On average, informal caregivers who take care of an elderly friend or relative spend $5,500 a year on the day-to-day expenses such as food and doctor visits, according to a 2007 study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare, a health care coordination program.

Should that elderly parent need to be put in a full-time facility, the costs rise exponentially. The average annual cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home is $69,715, while the average cost of an assisted-living facility is $36,372 a year, according to a 2008 MetLife survey.

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