A New Way to Lower Assisted Living Costs

Assisted LivingHealth and Care Needs

A New Way to Lower Assisted Living Costs

Posted 06/02/2022By Kendra Chaplin13 min read
This article is about understanding how seniors in assisted living can avoid paying care fees by using medication blister packs.

As most people age, managing expenses and assisted living costs are a concern. Medication management is a significant part of assisted living care needs. This article discusses assisted living costs and one way to reduce the cost of care by using a new way to manage medications.

Understanding Assisted Living Costs

Assisted living is needed when certain aspects of everyday living become difficult, and seniors need daily assistance for those everyday living needs at home or in a senior living community.
According to the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly cost of assisted living is $4,500. The average cost of In-Home care or home health aide can range from $4,957 to $5,148. In a nursing home for seniors who need a higher level of care for a one bedroom, the median cost is over $9,000 per month. So the average cost of assisted living community with a lower level of care will be $54,000 per year, whereas a nursing home with a private one bedroom can be well over $100,000 per year.

What are the Assisted Living Costs

The costs of assisted living are determined by the levels of care and associated care costs, rental fees, an entrance fee, and possibly a monthly fee for other accommodations such as pets, parking, or a second person.
Your ability to afford these costs will be determined by your health care coverage or health insurance policies, long-term care insurance, pensions, cash savings, and other financial resources. Many assisted living communities are qualified to accept Medicaid or at least have specified rooms that accept it.

Other Factors Affecting Assisted Living Costs

Assisted living can be categorized differently as well, such as memory care, nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, or care homes. Care costs can also vary for other types of living options, such as in the case of living at home with home health aides or services as an alternative to assisted living. Assisted living may not be the best option for everyone.
Another cost factor to consider is location and geography. For instance, a community in New York City will likely have overall higher assisted living costs than, say, an assisted living community in a less populated area. Also, choosing assisted living near family and other supportive services or resources, such as your physician or transportation, can affect your costs of assisted living as well.

Understanding Activities of Daily Life or ADLs

These are known as Activities of Daily Life, also known as ADLs. They are used in assisted living communities to describe the basic self-care tasks most residents do daily and are instrumental for seniors in maintaining their independence. These are also sometimes referred to as daily living ADLs.
The cost of assisted living is affected by the level of care needed based on ADLs. These levels of care are often available a la carte, and assisted living communities should be transparent about those so you can determine the cost of living as you decide which community is right for you.

The Most Common Care Need In Assisted Living

One of the key ADLs is the ability to manage one's medications. Over 75% of assisted living residents require assistance with managing their medications. Seniors can take dozens of medications per week, and the average daily medication is three medications.

The Cost of Medication Management in Assisted Living
As the levels of care increase, so does the overall cost of assisted living. One way to reduce your assisted living costs is to maintain the ability to manage one's own medication for as long as possible.
Assisted living facility residents pay medication fees for vitamins and over-the-counter drugs as well as prescriptions. This can be a significant assisted living expense, especially if you require multiple medications or have complex dosing instructions.
Managing medication can cost anywhere from $300 to $500 per month and up, depending on how many medications you are taking per day. So if you are thinking, "how much does assisted living cost?" medication management is significant.

Understanding the Importance of Medication Management

Medications only work well when they are taken correctly. It is estimated that around 50% of all medicines are taken incorrectly?
The elderly are at high risk for taking medications incorrectly because they may not understand how much or what kind of medicine is given to them.
A study found that over half (55%) of people aged 65 years old and up struggled with correctly remembering which drug was appropriate when their doctor prescribed more than two pills; only 15% understood all four separate labels on medication bottles.

Common, Avoidable Medical Issues: Infections

Some cost-conscious seniors will stop taking an antibiotic when they start to feel better, even if they haven't completed the entire course of treatment. This will result in infections recurring and ultimately harder to recover.

Common, Avoidable Medical Issues: Depression

Another concern with medication mismanagement is that the elderly are at a higher risk of taking medications incorrectly for depression. If an anti-depressant is stopped abruptly, there can be severe consequences.

Common, Avoidable Medical Issues: Falls and Physical Injuries

The average American senior will suffer three major falls each year due to medication mismanagement. These falls can cause serious injuries like hip fractures or head trauma, leading to a decline in their overall health. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries for seniors, so it's important to take measures to prevent them.

Medication Mismanagement Due to Cognitive Decline

Seniors are more prone to forgetting their medications because they may experience a decline in mental functions like memory and attention span. Experiencing these changes may make it challenging to remember when or if they took an important pill, resulting in a serious outcome!
The number of seniors who forget their medications is on the rise. Approximately one in five older Americans has forgotten a dose at some point, which can be dangerous for both them and those around them if left undetected. This is where blister packs can be helpful, as the missed dose will be recognized.
It is important to note that some cognitive decline is normal for seniors; however memory-related conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer's will require memory care and assisted living fees for medication management.

Why It's Important to Maintain Independence

Most senior care communities, independent living communities, and assisted living facilities will not allow seniors or elderly adults to enlist the help of a friend or other family members with the personal care of filling up a resident's standard pill organizer. While some may try to use help from others to reduce the fees and assisted living costs, it is not allowed.
If older adults or perhaps an aging parent can not manage this task independently without help, they would not be considered independent senior residents. The senior living community will require them to pay for assisted living and the associated care services fees for the medication service provided by staff members.
Remember, to live in an independent senior living apartment; the resident must truly be able to manage their activities of daily living and medical care on their own, including medication.

A New Way to Manage Medication is Blister Packaging

Thanks to technology, there is a way to avoid the costs in assisted living facilities. One of the associated assisted living fees is to consider exploring the idea of medication blister packs.
Let's continue to understand how blister pack medication cards can help seniors manage their medications independently and avoid the costly need for changing to assisted living and associated care fees.

Blister Packaging for Medications

Blister packs, also known as pill cards, are an excellent way for seniors to keep track of their medications. These handy packs store pills in individual compartments, making it easy to remember when and how to take them.
Additionally, blister packs can help seniors keep track of their medication dosages and make sure they are taking the correct amount of each medication.

How Blister Packaging Works

There are many options at most pharmacies. Choose from cold or heat sealed packaging and either book or tri-fold options. There are single-dose cards and multiple-dose cards. Cards are designed for daily, weekly, and monthly dispensing.

The Cost of Blister Pack

The cost of medication blister packaging depends on the pharmacy and the number of medications to be included in the blisters, and the frequency they are to be taken. Some pharmacies offer this service for free if more than three prescriptions are being filled. Other pharmacies may charge a nominal fee of $10 to $15 per month. Some pharmacies will mail prescriptions for additional convenience. You can expect local shipping to cost around $5 per month. These combined fees are still preferable to paying the difference in cost between independent living and assisted living.

Make the Change to Blister Packs

Changing over to blister packaging is relatively easy. You will need to contact your existing pharmacy to see if they offer the service. If not, once you find a pharmacy that does, ask your new pharmacy to request for your prescriptions to be transferred to them. The new pharmacy then reaches out to the old pharmacy to get the prescriptions transferred. If your pharmacy does not offer blister packaging, consider looking for a local compounding pharmacy for this personalized type of service.

Tip 1: Include Vitamins and Over-The-Counter Medications

Do you take over-the-counter medications such as vitamins, supplements, or anti-inflammatories? If so, ask your pharmacy to include these items in the packaging. This is a great way to ensure you stay in compliance with everything necessary for your medication health and well-being. Be sure that your primary care physician is aware of anything you are taking, as it can affect your prescription medications.

Tip 2: Planning Ahead

Preparation of blister packs can vary by pharmacy. Ask your pharmacy how much notice they need to fill your order. Make sure you have plenty of medications to last you until the first blister pack is ready for pickup.
When you pick up your first blister pack, ask your pharmacy to put you on an automatic refill so you won't have to remember to call them every month. If your pharmacy doesn't offer automatic refills, a good rule of thumb is to plan on requesting a refill two weeks before running out of medications. Keep track of medications that are on zero refills, as these will take additional processing time to allow for physician authorization.

Tip 3: Blister Medication Packaging for the Blind

Some medications come in blister packs with braille labels to be easily read by those who are visually impaired or have reading difficulties because of their age and/or disability status.
Blister packaging for the blind is an innovative way to manage medications for seniors. It is easy to use and may eliminate the need for assisted living fees for medication management.

Tip 4: Blister Packs are Covered for Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs is a national center that provides services to help veterans with their medical needs. They do this by ensuring that all medications are packaged safely according to procedures and standards.
Blister packs are considered standard medical care as a veterans benefit and are offered as part of VA health care. For more information about VA health care and benefits, please visit the VA website to confirm this information.

In most cases, even if the resident is private pay, this option helps a resident avoid the assisted living cost and care services, making investing in the cards well worth it. Confirm with your insurance provider to learn more and to understand their coverage.

Advantages of Blister Packaging

There are several advantages to blister packaging:

  • Your pharmacist will automatically update and refill medications as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Many insurances, including Medicare, Medicaid & veterans benefits, will cover most of the expense of this special packaging.
  • You will no longer need to organize your pills yourself, saving valuable time.
  • Maintain your independence in senior living or at home and avoid the need for senior care or assisted living.
  • It’s easy to see if a dose of any medication has been missed, which keeps your health secure.
  • You can be confident in knowing the pharmacist correctly did the dosing.
  • You feel more confident about not only taking the correct dose of medication at the right time but also knowing the drugs are compatible with each other.
  • Over-the-counter medication and supplements can be included in the packaging.
  • Less likely to be affected by moisture or temperature changes.
  • Easy to follow instructions.
  • They don't spill like bottles or pillboxes.
  • Some insurance companies will even ship to your address.


Blister packaging is an excellent option for seniors who want to remain in independent senior living longer and need to manage their medications. The easy-to-use blister packages, sometimes known as pill cards or salad packaging, make it simple and convenient to take your medicines on time, every time. Plus, you can save money by avoiding assisted living care fees for medication management.
Suppose you are a senior citizen or have an aging parent looking for a way to manage their medications independently. In that case, we highly recommend investing in a prescription for blister packaging. Blister packaging
Another advantage of blister packs is that they are much more accessible for people with small hands or difficulty holding things. Blister pack organizers also provide more space than pillboxes, making them better at keeping all your medications in order so you don't have any missed doses. They can also help save you money on care fees and assisted living services.

Key takeaways

  • Avoid care fees by using medication blister packs
  • Blister packs can be covered by insurance
  • Avoid potentially higher assisted living rental rates by maintaining your independence
  • You can maintain your independence by using medication blister packs
  • Medication blister packs are easy to use


You should do what is best for you and your family with your doctor's advice. We hope this article has given you some insight into managing your medications and avoiding paying care fees in assisted living.
Please note: This is a general guide and not to be used as medical advice. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for specific questions about your medications and how to take them properly.
CVS Simple Dose
Pillpack (Amazon Service)


What is average cost for assisted living?

The national average cost of assisted living in 2021 was $4,500 per month. However, monthly rental rates vary based on the services and amenities offered and the location. In addition, care fees may vary based on the amount of care provided to the individual resident.

How much do assisted living facilities cost per month?

The national average cost per month for assisted living in 2021 was $4,500. This amount may vary based on the location of the property and the quantity and quality of the services and amenities offered. The monthly amount may also vary based on the care fees established based on the amount of personal help needed by the resident.

What is included in assisted living costs?

Assisted living costs typically include the rental rate, meals, social engagements, activities, transportation, care, and staff support. Many times it's found to be less expensive than staying in your home with in-home care providers. However, by the time you add up all the expenses of staying at home, it can cost more than assisted living.