How Can I Pay for Assisted Living? It’s More Affordable Than You Think

Curious about assisted living—and its price tag?

Maybe a friend or a relative has had to seek out assisted living services. Perhaps you’re just curious about the activities and care that center around residents.

Or maybe you’re still independent but could use a helping hand now and again.

But then you worry about the price tag.

Can you afford it?

What advantages does it have to offer?

Would you be better off just staying in your own home?

Assisted living may be more affordable than you think, and we’ll crunch some numbers to demonstrate the economical breakdown of living in an ALF (assisted living facility). We’ll even provide ideas about sources of funding to help you pay for it.

Costs of Assisted Living vs. Home Ownership

Sometimes the easiest way to determine the affordability of assisted living is to break down the costs of homeownership so you can get a feel for the bigger picture of how challenging owning your own home can be:

Home Ownership Costs

Item Estimated cost (average for North Carolina)

Property tax

Average property tax rate in NC is 0.77%, You can discover more details about your specific location and house value with this useful property tax calculator.

Homeowner’s insurance

The average premium cost of homeowners insurance in North Carolina in 2020 was $1,515. 

Homeowner’s association fees

While it varies depending upon your location and services provided, expect to pay between $200 to $300 a month for a single-family home.

Home maintenance

You should budget for the 1% rule of thumb—which entails setting aside 1% of the home’s purchase price for repair and replacement costs. So, if a home is valued at $250,000, be sure to set aside at least $2,500 each year.

Ground maintenance

Depending upon the size of your yard, expect to pay around $25 to $35 each week for mowing 1/8 of an acre—roughly $140 a month or more.

Of course, we’re not including incidental expenses such as groceries (which can range from $100 to $300 a month depending upon the size of your household). Gas for errands to and from the pharmacy is also not included.

Examining the Cost of Assisted Living

Now, for comparison, let’s look at a few of the items that are included in assisted living.

Item Cost
Food Included
Home maintenance Not applicable
Transportation None – transportation is provided
Housekeeping Provided
Landscaping/ Lawn maintenance Not applicable

Does that clarify the picture a bit? You may not have been aware that you were spending that much on home maintenance and ownership.

Assisted Living May Be More Affordable Than You Think

You see the benefits of assisted living, but you’re wondering, “How am I going to pay for it?”

Don’t worry, there are several simple solutions, and we’re happy to walk you through it step-by-step.

Our residents have many options when it comes to paying for assisted living. These include:

Annuity Income

This is a contract with an insurance company that is often used to meet long-range financial goals. However, because there are a lot of pros and cons with annuities, we recommend that you speak with a financial planner who can help you.

Retirement Savings or Social Security

Many seniors use their retirement and social security benefits to pay for assisted living. Your financial advisor can provide assistance.

Veterans’ Benefits

In certain circumstances, veteran’s benefits may cover residential care, especially if the one seeking care has injuries or disabilities related to their military service. For details, you should speak with a representative from the Veterans Administration.

Life Insurance

Certain policies can have “living benefits” based upon your age and health. In these cases, the company may buy back the policy at a portion of its face value. However, for details you should speak to your life insurance representative.

Selling a Home

Since you’ll be free from the drudgery of home maintenance, many opt to sell their home to use the money to pay for assisted living. Talking to a Realtor can help you determine what your home is worth and the condition of the current real estate market.

Long-term Care Insurance

These policies can be purchased through a private insurance company. However, there are lots of factors that are involved, and policies can become quite complex, so it’s important to read the fine print.


While Medicare will NOT pay for assisted living, Medicaid will. Through this joint federal and state program, health care is provided for more than 40 million American adults, including seniors. It’s the largest source of health care coverage in the U.S.

To find out if you or your loved one is eligible, visit the official government Medicaid website.

Assisted Living Can Be an Affordable Option

When compared to the cost of home maintenance, assisted living is often the more economical choice. In addition, there are several options to pay for it, from selling your home to receiving benefits from government programs such as Medicaid.

We understand that it can be confusing and often overwhelming to navigate all your options when paying for assisted living. That’s why we work with you every step of the way to explain all the possibilities to you and point you in the direction of those who can provide additional help.

Cedar Cove: Quality Assisted Living in Wilmington, NC

Nestled in the beautiful coastal community of Wilmington, NC, Cedar Cove stands apart as a family owned and operated community. We’re not controlled by a large corporate conglomerate, and that’s one reason why we’re able to add the personal touches and individual attention that our residents deserve.

Schedule a tour today and discover why our residents love living at Cedar Cove. But hurry! Our spaces fill quickly.