NU Online News Service, Oct. 13, 2003, 4:33 p.m. EDT – The average cost of spending a year in a U.S. assisted living facility has increased to $28,548, up 10% from the 2002 average, reports MetLife Inc., New York.

MetLife researchers found that the highest monthly average, $4,429, was in Washington. The lowest, $1,020, was in Jackson, Miss.

Assisted living facilities combine independent housing with support services such as meal preparation and help with taking medications. The number of U.S. assisted living facilities increased 48% between 1998 and 2002, to 36,000, MetLife says.