The Cost of Senior Care in the Portland, Oregon Area

What type of senior living is RIGHT FOR ME and HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

These are the first questions people have when considering community-based care. Outlined below are the primary types of senior housing, their average monthly costs, and what is typically included in the price.

Use the worksheet below to compare the costs with your current living situation. Average monthly costs are based on a 2014 survey in Oregon and SW Washington; actual prices will vary depending on location.

Retirement Living

These are apartment-style buildings, cottage-style homes, or townhomes where services such as meals, housekeeping, and activities are provided or available for purchase. Most retirement living is offered on a monthly rental basis.

The average cost for a studio apartment in Retirement/Independent Living is $1900 per month.

Retirement-only communities are not licensed or regulated by a governmental agency. Some things that impact the monthly cost are: frequency of meals and housekeeping, staffing, location and whether the community is part of a continuum of care. Generally, some or all utilities are included, except phone and expanded cable services.

Assisted Living (AL or ALF)

These are apartment-style housing options offering a kitchenette, bathroom, and ADA accessible shower. These communities can provide assistance with ADLs (see below for an explanation of these).

The average rent for a studio apartment in assisted living is $3,100 per month.

The monthly rent is called the “base price”.  This includes three meals a day, housekeeping, most utilities, some transportation, and activities. People who need assistance with their ADLs pay “care costs” in addition to the monthly base price. Care costs depend on the level of service the resident needs. The community calculates care costs either by units of time, called ‘points of care’, or based on pre-determined ‘levels of care’. The community provides a resident assessment prior to move-in and then at regular intervals for updates of changing care needs. The assessment outlines the care plan needed for that resident and determines the care costs.

Adult Care Homes (ACH)

This type of senior living is in a home setting, where up to five adults (six in Washington) live in the home and are cared for by the owners and caregivers.  Also known as Adult Foster Homes, ACH staffing ratios are typically better than other senior housing options, but the activities programs are not as robust.  In Oregon, an ACH is licensed by DHS as Level 1, 2 or 3. Level 3 homes provide the highest level of care and typically have multiple years of experience and/or an owner or caregiver with a nursing degree.  Bedrooms and bathrooms may be private or shared.

The average base price for a private room in an ACH is $3,000 per month.

Care costs are added to the base price.  Base price includes meals, utilities, housekeeping, and limited activities. There are hundreds of Adult Care homes in Oregon and Washington, each offering a unique living arrangement and array of services.

Residential Care (RCF)

These communities provide housing and care for six or more residents. They may appear to be indistinguishable from an assisted living community, but the difference is that RCFs are not required to provide kitchenettes or private bathrooms.  RCFs with shared bathroom typically provide a higher level of care than assisted living communities, are able to provide care to a specific population, and offer awake staff at night.

The average base price for a studio apartment in an RCF is $3,000 per month.

Staffing ratios, specialty care services, type of room, shared or private bath, and location all have an impact on the price. As in AL, care costs are added to the monthly base price.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC)

These offer multiple levels of care, starting with independent and continuing through skilled nursing services. There are typically entrance fees that can vary from $10,000 to $1 million, depending on the community, location and the apartment or home size. The monthly rent and care costs depend on the type of CCRC, apartment and level of care you are receiving.

Memory Care

Memory Care communities provide care to people who have a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia. They have additional regulations placed on them to ensure that their community is appropriate for a person with dementia. These communities offer apartment-type housing within a secure building and outdoor area. They are required to provide programs to help residents with dementia, including gross motor skills, self-care, crafts and other activities. Some have alarms in addition to entry/exit locks with codes.  Apartments may be private or shared.

The average base price for a shared room is $4,500 per month.

Some memory care communities offer a flat rate while some have care costs similar to the other types of communities.

Nursing Care

These provide the highest level of care outside a hospital setting. They are appropriate for individuals who need 24-hour nursing care, people who are recuperating after surgery or a hospital stay, and people who have medical or behavioral needs that go beyond what other housing options can provide.

The average price for a shared room is $7,800 per month. Typically, these are flat rates and include all meals, utilities (except phone), medical supplies, activities and most care costs. 


Budget Worksheet

Though the cost of senior housing can be daunting, it helps to remember that many of your regular monthly expenses will be eliminated.  You no longer need to pay for things like rent/mortgage, most groceries, most transportation, utility bills nor support costs for maintaining your home.

Use this worksheet to compare your current costs with senior living costs.


   Rent/mortgage/property taxes/insurance
   Utilities INCLUDED
   Car/transportation SOME INCLUDED
   Housekeeping/home maintenance INCLUDED
   Activities/entertainment INCLUDED
   Care costs $24+ PER HOUR FOR IN-HOME CARE