Senior Care Is Unaffordable in Most States, Study Finds

Even cheap senior care options are out of reach for many.

Senior care services aren’t cheap, regardless of where you live, but some states are more forgiving than others. GOBankingRates researched the costs of care for seniors in every state by breaking down six common care options:

  • Homemaker services
  • Home health aide
  • Adult day health care
  • Assisted-living facility
  • Semi-private-room nursing home care
  • Private-room nursing home care

You can use this information to see how your senior care costs stack up, to help you choose a state to move to with a senior who requires care, or simply to better understand what you can expect to spend if you already are settled in your state.

Click to find out how much senior care costs in your home state.

The Cheapest States for Senior Care

There aren’t many surprises when it comes to states where the cost of senior care is lowest. The top five are Louisiana, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas and Mississippi. Two of those states — Mississippi and Arkansas — are among the top five cheapest states in America in terms of overall cost of living. Alabama ranks No. 8, Texas No. 11 and Louisiana is in the top 17. Essentially, the cheapest senior care states also are among the states where the overall cost of living is lowest.

The Most Expensive States for Senior Care

Just as the southern and midwestern states have lower senior-care costs, the most expensive senior-care states also mirror the overall cost of living — except for one state. North Dakota doesn’t have a particularly high cost of living, yet it ranks No. 3 on the list of states with the highest senior-care costs, behind No. 2 Massachusetts and No. 1 Alaska, and ahead of No. 4 Hawaii and No. 5 New Hampshire.

So why the anomaly? Remote, isolated and/or sparsely populated states such as North Dakota suffer from disproportionately high senior home-care costs. In fact, North Dakota is the most expensive state for both categories of at-home senior care: homemaker services and home health aide. The four states rounding out the top five, in no particular order, are Washington, Alaska, Minnesota and Wyoming.

Most & Least Affordable States for Senior Care

Must-Read: Here’s How Much It’ll Cost You to Live to 100

The High Cost of Senior Care in Nursing Homes

While in-home care is the most prohibitive in far-flung, sparsely populated states, nursing-home care is rarely affordable to the masses anywhere. In fact, a private room in a nursing home easily can cost more than $100,000 a year in 23 states — nearly half the country — and the median cost for even a semi-private room is six figures a year in 17 states. The five priciest places are the typically expensive states of Alaska, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Hawaii and New York. Here’s a breakdown of the median monthly cost for each of the six services evaluated in the study for every state:

The Cost of Senior Care in Every State
StateHomemaker ServicesHome Health AideAdult Day Health CareAssisted-Living FacilitySemi-Private RoomPrivate Room
Alabama$3,213$3,213$563$3,057$6,083$6,464
Alaska$4,957$5,291$3,642$6,000$24,333$24,333
Arizona$4,004$4,290$1,766$3,500$6,388$7,604
Arkansas$3,432$3,432$1,733$3,013$5,171$5,779
California$4,767$4,767$1,668$4,275$8,114$9,703
Colorado$4,572$4,576$1,495$3,850$7,663$8,547
Connecticut$3,813$4,385$1,733$4,600$12,516$13,505
Delaware$4,195$4,242$1,571$6,015$10,646$10,996
Florida$3,670$3,813$1,408$3,100$7,908$8,882
Georgia$3,623$3,623$1,300$2,800$6,222$6,707
Hawaii$4,814$4,957$1,517$4,250$11,437$13,216
Idaho$4,052$4,099$2,185$3,150$7,391$7,910
Illinois$4,195$4,290$1,563$3,720$5,688$6,524
Indiana$3,813$3,996$1,842$4,025$6,692$7,817
Iowa$4,481$4,576$1,364$3,736$5,741$6,235
Kansas$3,813$4,004$1,625$4,250$5,551$6,167
Kentucky$3,695$3,718$1,472$3,445$6,728$7,346
Louisiana$2,860$2,908$1,354$3,293$5,171$5,475
Maine$4,385$4,481$2,340$4,890$9,140$9,764
Maryland$4,143$4,357$1,679$4,150$9,125$9,916
Massachusetts$4,814$4,957$1,408$5,599$11,710$12,471
Michigan$4,004$4,099$1,679$3,500$7,969$8,608
Minnesota$4,957$5,148$1,788$3,585$8,174$8,988
Mississippi$3,241$3,241$1,452$3,200$6,357$6,586
Missouri$3,897$4,004$1,733$2,700$4,912$5,475
Montana$4,382$4,648$2,582$3,650$7,209$7,972
Nebraska$4,385$4,576$1,593$3,785$6,334$6,768
Nevada$4,195$4,195$1,625$3,400$7,300$8,289
New Hampshire$4,767$5,030$1,560$4,855$9,657$10,570
New Jersey$4,195$4,385$1,950$5,811$10,038$10,798
New Mexico$3,813$3,956$2,188$4,000$6,349$7,406
New York$4,290$4,528$1,733$3,988$11,076$11,701
North Carolina$3,432$3,527$1,148$3,250$6,844$7,604
North Dakota$5,331$5,331$2,123$3,018$10,636$10,864
Ohio$4,004$4,040$1,224$4,178$6,798$7,604
Oklahoma$3,813$4,004$1,300$3,033$4,471$5,293
Oregon$4,576$4,671$1,918$4,070$8,784$9,262
Pennsylvania$4,195$4,195$1,343$3,450$9,277$10,007
Rhode Island$4,385$4,814$1,625$5,155$8,486$8,669
South Carolina$3,623$3,804$1,192$2,865$6,418$6,844
South Dakota$4,767$4,767$1,473$3,570$6,300$6,813
Tennessee$3,546$3,575$1,408$3,595$6,110$6,600
Texas$3,718$3,813$758$3,500$4,563$6,053
Utah$4,290$4,290$1,333$3,150$5,627$6,965
Vermont$4,624$4,767$2,860$4,127$8,760$9,292
Virginia$3,787$3,953$1,471$4,508$7,148$7,908
Washington$5,053$5,053$1,408$4,660$8,578$9,447
West Virginia$3,241$3,337$1,343$3,750$9,703$10,235
Wisconsin$4,481$4,481$1,413$4,000$7,908$8,953
Wyoming$4,957$5,148$1,842$3,415$7,078$8,060

If these costs seem unrealistic, it might be because you haven’t saved enough. Click to find ways to save more for retirement.