Understanding the Growing Cost of Senior Living

Author: Stacy's Helping Hand |


The COVID-19 pandemic brought many changes to the senior living world- including an increase in cost. From staff shortages, to increased cleaning protocols and general costs of business management senior living options are experiencing a rapid increase in costs, especially here in Colorado. Understanding the cost of various care options can help to prepare you for the future and ensure that your loved one is getting their money’s worth when it comes to care.

It’s important to note that all of these prices represent the average. Depending on the residence, costs could rise dramatically. For example, while the average for Denver’s assisted living may be around $5500, depending on the residence and the care provided, residents could pay closer to $6,000, or even more.

Independent Living communities allow your loved one the benefit of managing their day to day life on their own, with the peace of mind knowing that there are other seniors and some staff around in the event of an emergency. The nationwide average base cost of independent living is $2,552, with Colorado hovering just below that nationwide average at $2,286 a month. Different communities may include different amenities within this cost- for example, meals, laundry, and sometimes medication management services.

Assisted living communities provide a much wider range of services. They provide support with activities of daily living- bathing, dressing, using the bathroom, and more. They also can provide support with medications, meals, as well as fun activities. The cost of assisted living can vary significantly. Some assisted living may have an all inclusive cost, while others may have a base pay and then, as your loved one’s needs change, you can add more services, for a higher cost.

In 2014, assisted living in Colorado averaged $3,771, but more recent data from Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey shows the current average at $4,700 for the state, above the nationwide average by $400. There is some change in cost depending on geography within Colorado- with Denver’s average at the peak at $5,500. This puts the Denver area nearly one thousand over the state average- and steadily growing. These numbers are rapidly increasing, especially here in Colorado, with the 2020 average cost, 11% higher than the 2019 cost.

Often found within assisted living communities, memory care neighborhoods can provide assisted living services for individuals living with memory impairments. In addition to their assistance with personal care, memory care neighborhoods provide a secured neighborhood, staff specifically trained in dementia care, and programming geared towards these individuals. Memory care neighborhoods costs are typically 20-30% higher than assisted living communities. This put’s Colorado’s average at just about $5600 per month.

Skilled nursing facilities are available for those with a high level of personal care needs. For semi-private rooms, the Colorado average is $8,567 with a private room at $9,726. Denver’s average for a private room sits closer to $10k.Skilled nursing facilities can generally be paid for with Medicaid for those who are eligible.

When considering the cost of senior living, it’s important to keep in mind that the rates proposed are base rates. They do not include all amenities such as certain engagement programs, medications and medication management, in-house doctors and salon service, and more. These additional costs can easily add up to hundreds over the base rate. Working with our team can help you be prepared and know up front what your monthly expenses will come out to be, and ensure that your loved one is getting the most out of their community.

Paying for care isn’t impossible- it just takes some planning, both financially and to find the best fit for your loved one. Making the transition to assisted living can be an emotional one, adding to the difficulties of navigating the logistics of costs and amenities. Let us be there for you to help make the best choice for your loved one and ensure a smooth transition. Give us a call at 720-248-7758, and let’s have a conversation.