Updated – 11/25/2022
Reviewed By: Rachel Lustbader

In the last two years, everyone has felt the impact of inflation in one way or another. This is especially true for seniors who are living on a fixed income. Often their fixed income hasn’t kept up with the rate of inflation. For instance, between 2019 and 2022, the cost of living increases for social security only totaled 8.7%, while inflation of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 15.6%.

To understand how inflation is impacting seniors, PayingForSeniorCare.com conducted a survey of 1,000 U.S. adults 55 and over and asked them about how their expenses and confidence in their financial future have changed in the last two years. 

The survey found that 94% of seniors have noticed an increase in food and grocery expenses, with 1 in 5 saying their food bill has gone up by $250 or more per month. When looking to the future, 43% say they’re worried they won’t be able to afford food and groceries, and 23% are concerned they may have to skip necessary medical procedures due to inflation. 

Inflation has impacted nearly every industry, and senior living is no exception. That being said, inflation for the senior living industry is much lower than one may expect when considering how drastically it has impacted other sectors of the economy. 

According to data provided by Caring.com, one of the nation’s leading senior living referral services, assisted living costs have only increased by 3.7% since 2019. Meanwhile, general inflation is more than four times that rate during the same time period (15.6%).

Unlike other industries, such as e-commerce, which saw demand skyrocket during the height of COVID-19, senior living experienced a decrease in demand. Today, occupancy rates remain significantly lower than they were in 2019, helping to keep costs relatively low. As senior living communities work to recover from COVID-19, many seniors have benefited from lower move-in costs, reduced monthly rents, and other incentives.

That being said, a relatively low increase in the cost of living is not the reality for seniors in every state. Caring.com’s data shows that certain states have seen large increases in the cost of senior living, such as Hawaii’s assisted living cost increase of 25%.

This report reveals that seniors have been hugely impacted by inflation, and are very concerned about its impact on their future plans. However, it also shows that the outlook is not as grim for many older adults who are residents of senior living communities. Read on for the full results of the survey and to see which states ranked best and worst for inflation of assisted living, independent living, and memory care. 


This report is made up of two parts: an online survey conducted in October of 2022 of 1,000 U.S. seniors, and data and analysis based on the cost of senior living between 2019 and 2022 according to data provided by Caring.com. For a more detailed breakdown of the report’s methodology, see the methodology section below. 

Seniors Cutting Back on Recreation & Heating Their Homes to Afford Basic Necessities for Living

To better understand exactly how inflation has affected seniors, PayingforSeniorCare.com partnered with Pollfish to survey 1,000 adults 55 and older in the United States. The poll was conducted online on October 26, 2022, and asked older adults questions about how inflation has impacted their expenses over the last two years, what changes they’ve had to make to their lifestyle, and how they’re feeling about the future with regards to inflation. 

What this survey revealed is that inflation has severely affected older adults, with many spending hundreds of dollars more per month on necessities- not an easy feat when you’re on a fixed income. 3 out of 4 respondents have had to change their lifestyle due to inflation, with 22% saying they’ve made drastic changes. 

Some of the changes they’ve been forced to make include cutting back on energy use (48%), reducing travel to see family (35%), and skipping meals (14%). When thinking about the future, the survey respondents’ biggest concerns are not being able to afford groceries and other household necessities (44%), medical care (25%), and their current home (23%). 

Image of an infographic showing the impact of inflation on seniors

Seniors Hit Hardest by Inflation of Groceries and Gas in The Last Two Years

Inflation has caused virtually all expenses to rise, but seniors have noticed the cost increase in some areas more than others. This survey found that seniors noticed the biggest increase in their expenses for groceries and food, gas, and household necessities like toilet paper. 

Almost all seniors have noticed inflation at grocery stores and gas pumps, with 94% of survey respondents saying their food costs have increased, and 855 saying their transportation costs have increased. Almost 3 out of 4 seniors said that inflation has caused costs for household necessities to noticeably rise, showing that simple daily life is becoming more expensive.

Image of a graph showing what spending categories seniors have seen inflation increase their spending in

When it comes to putting an actual dollar amount to inflation-driven price increases in the last two years, seniors are spending hundreds of dollars more per month on necessities like food, utilities, and gas. Worryingly, the category that has seen the greatest expense increase is one no one can avoid- food and groceries. 

Of the 1,000 seniors surveyed, 13% said their grocery and food expenses have increased by $300 or more per month, and nearly 75% said they’re spending at least $100 more per month on groceries and food in the last two years. Close to half of all seniors reported spending at least $100 more per month on gas and transportation, and 1 in 3 have seen their energy bills increase by at least $100 per month. 

Image of a graph showing the increase of spending across 4 spending categories

Nearly Half of Seniors Say That They’ve Had to Take Steps to Reduce Their Energy Usage – Such As Lowering Their Thermostat in the Winter. 

To help them make ends meet as their expenses rise, many seniors have had to change their lifestyles. Of the 1,000 people surveyed, 3 out of 4 said they’ve had to adjust their lifestyles due to inflation, with 22% citing drastic changes. 

Some of the areas where seniors have cut back on spending, like entertainment and leisure, (which 67% cut back on) are unfortunate but not life-threatening. Others, however, are more worrisome. More than 1 in 10 seniors (14%) have had to skip meals to make ends meet due to inflation, and 1 in 10 have delayed medical procedures and/or started rationing their prescription medications to save money. 

Image of a graph showing what spending areas seniors have had to cut back on

Nearly 1 out of 2 Seniors Worried That They May Not Be Able to Afford Groceries and Household Necessities in the Future Due to Inflation

Given the economic circumstances they face and how Social Security payment increases have not kept up with inflation over the last few years, seniors are worried about how they’ll financially fare in the future. Our survey revealed that seniors have very real concerns about how they’ll afford even basic necessities. 

Close to 1 out of 2 respondents said they fear they won’t be able to afford groceries and household necessities, making it the most commonly-cited concern. 42% said they’re worried they won’t be able to afford gas for their car, and 23% are concerned they may not be able to afford their current home. 1 in 4 are worried that they may not be able to pay for needed medical care, and 1 in 5 say they fear they may not be able to afford their prescriptions in the future. 

Image of a graph showing what seniors are worried they won't be able to afford

Hawaii & North Dakota Saw the Highest Cost Increase of Senior Living, While South Dakota & West Virginia Had the Least

While assisted living is getting slightly more expensive each year, its rate of inflation is significantly less than the overall CPI inflation rate of 15.6% since 2019. According to Caring.com’s data, the national average for assisted living is $5,601 per month in 2022 – just a 3.7% increase since 2019. 

However, not all seniors saw these modest assisted living price increases. Caring.com’s data shows that Hawaii, North Dakota, and Montana were most affected, with costs increasing by over $1,000 per month in all states, a price increase of 28%, 25.3%, and 17.6%, respectively. Hawaii, the state most affected by assisted living cost inflation, saw costs increase by an average of $2,199 per month, more than 11 times the national average increase of $186 per month. 

On the other hand, 13 states actually decreased in average cost since 2019, the most significant reduction being in South Dakota, where costs fell by 15.3%, or $675 per month. West Virginia saw the second highest rate of assisted living cost deflation, at a 9.2% decline since 2019. Older adults who choose senior living in these states may be particularly well-shielded from rising costs like groceries and energy bills. 



Cost Increase %

Monthly $ Increase

Yearly $ Increase

2022 Actual Cost

U.S. Average






South Dakota






West Virginia












New Hampshire


















Rhode Island






New York






New Jersey










































South Carolina






























































































































New Mexico


















North Carolina
















































North Dakota*












*Based on Limited Available Data (See Methodology here)

Financial Resources to Help Seniors to Manage Inflation

With inflation outpacing Social Security increases by almost 2 to 1 in the last several years, many people are seeking financial assistance resources to help manage their expenses. To help seniors access the help they need, PayingForSeniorCare.com created a Financial Assistance Locator Tool that shows what federal, state, and local programs are available to help pay for senior living or care. 

For those who need specific help and guidance, PayingForSeniorCare.com offers a free service – Senior Care Experts who can guide seniors or their loved ones through the decision making process, and provide personalized advice based on their budget and care needs. This service is available by calling (855) 481-6777.

PayingForSeniorCare.com has detailed information on several other financial resources. View the list below and click on the resource name to view the full guide. 

Food, Housing, & Other Financial Assistance Programs for Seniors

PayingForSeniorCare.com created comprehensive guides to financial assistance programs in each state, which can be found in the guide linked above. Seniors can learn about the resources available in their state, including local food banks and Meals on Wheels programs, government-funded food assistance programs, cash assistance programs, and more. Read More

Federal and State Financial Assistance for Seniors

If you’re an adult living in the United States, you or someone in your life has, at some point, likely experienced financial hardship. Financial strain and poverty can occur through external factors over which people have little or no control — where they grew up, their own or their loved ones’ health issues, disabilities, medical bills, unemployment, divorce, pandemics and so on. As people age, they’re more likely to experience situations that negatively affect their finances, and the longer they live, the more money they need to support themselves over their lifetimes. Read More


Medicare is a federal health insurance program for the elderly age over 65. There are four parts, referred to as Medicare Part A, B, C & D. Medicare is also known as Title XVIII of the Social Security Act. Read More


Medicaid is a jointly funded state and federal health insurance program for low-income people of all ages. For the relevancy of this page, the focus will be on Medicaid Long Term Care for seniors and disabled individuals. Via the state plan, Medicaid provides medical care, such as physician visits, and non-medical support services, such as in-home personal care assistance. Nursing home care is also provided via the state plan. If a senior is financially and medically qualified, Medicaid will pay nearly all of his or her long-term care costs. Read More

Veterans Benefits

In producing this guide, it is not our intention to replicate the VA Guide to Long-Term Care. The VA website does an excellent job of describing the programs and types of assistance available to elderly veterans. Instead, our objective is to focus on veterans’ options to help with non-medical care/aging care. The aim is to help veterans understand available benefits, uncover financial assistance opportunities, and provide ideas that can reduce the costs associated with long-term care – whether in a nursing home, assisted living community, or at home. Read More

Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Community Services, provides financial assistance to low income renters or homeowners to help heat or cool their homes by making direct payments to their gas or electric utility companies. The details and name of this program can vary from state to state. It may be referred to as HEAP, the Fuel Assistance Program, the Heating Assistance Program, the Utility Assistance Program, or other state specific names. Under this program, there are two types of benefits: Regular and Emergency. While this program is not specifically designed for seniors, it does help those over the age of 60 disproportionately, as seniors receive priority in situations with limited funding. Read More

Financial Assistance for Prescription Drugs

Seniors with limited financial resources are often faced with the tough decision of spending what little money they have on prescription medications or using it to buy food or pay utility bills. The PAN Foundation, an organization that helps underinsured people access health care, reports that some seniors skip their medications or split their pills in half to make each prescription refill last longer. Read More

Emergency Housing Resources

An estimated half-million people were homeless in the United States from 2007 through 2020, and many of these individuals were seniors and veterans. Unfortunately, seniors who live on the street have little access to resources that can help them maintain their mental and physical health, and on top of that, many are living without the support of their loved ones. Read More

Home Care Financial Aid and Assistance 

Before a discussion of home care payment options, it is helpful to differentiate between home care and home health care. Home Care Aides provide custodial care. They help persons with their activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, housekeeping and transportation. This is also referred to as personal care, attendant care, non-medical care and companion care. Read More

Paying for Assisted Living

Most assisted living communities offer residents the choice of all-inclusive or fee-for-service pricing. All-inclusive means that a single monthly fee covers rent, meals and any additional services a resident chooses such as housekeeping or transportation. Fee-for-service means a resident pays only for those services they use. Typically, if a resident intends to use the full suite of services an assisted living residence offers, it is less expensive to choose the all-inclusive model. If a resident will only require certain services or will use outside assistance for certain services, then the fee-for-service approach offers better cost savings. Read More

How To Access Medical Equipment Banks

Your needs are likely to increase with age, especially the need for medical supplies. Durable medical equipment (DME) is any kind of device or appliance that has an exclusive medical purpose, like wheelchairs or orthopedic devices. This equipment may help you live with or recover from an illness, improve your mobility or keep you safer at home by reducing the risk of a fall. Read More

Lifeline Assistance Program

A telephone is a must-have for seniors, but paying for home or mobile phone service can be a challenge for the 15 million Americans aged 65 and older who live on incomes at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. Thankfully, there’s a program that provides eligible low-income households with access to free or discounted phone services ⁠— the Lifeline Assistance Program. Read More


This report uses underlying data provided by Caring.com that detailed the average cost of rent charged to prospective residents by senior living facilities in 49 of the 50 states (Alaska excluded due to a lack of data). 

This report contrasts the average cost of assisted living in 2019 (Q1-Q3) and 2022 (Q1-Q3). 2019 data was limited to Q1-Q3 to better account for the seasonality discrepancies in Q4 that could skew 2022 data (since data for Q4 has not yet been finalized).

Total Cost 

As mentioned above, the data provided by Caring.com indicated what facilities were charging prospective residents for rent. In order to arrive at the total estimated cost of what residents would pay for both rent and care provided by the facility, we relied on the deep industry experience of our senior living experts to develop our formula for the total cost. For assisted living, the cost of rent was increased by 44% to estimate the total cost. 

Small Data Sets

Two states had a limited number of data points available due to the size and population of that state. In these cases, we used (*) to indicate that limited data was available, but still included the averages for the purpose of comparisons. While the data sets were comparatively smaller, there were still enough data points to include for the purposes of this report. Statistical analysis was not performed to determine margins of error or statistical significance.