Comparing the Costs of Aging at Home versus Senior Living

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When asked where we want to spend our golden years most of us would say at home. Emotionally, there is no comparison – home is where the heart is right? You might assume your head would agree with that as well because clearly aging at home would be cheaper than senior living. Luckily your head knows it’s best to get the facts before making that call because surprisingly that’s not always the case. Let’s compare the costs of aging at home versus senior living.


Know Your Options

Whether it’s at home or in senior living, you have more options than ever when it comes to care. That’s why it’s so important to understand what type of care you may need before comparing costs.


At Home

  • Home Health Care – These services help you live more independently at home and typically include personal care, household chores, cooking, transportation, occupational, physical and/or speech therapy and can be provided on an hourly, as needed or 24/7 live-in basis.
  • Adult Day Care – Care is provided during normal business hours, five days a week and may include meals and snacks, health monitoring, medication assistance and fitness, as well as enrichment programs and social activities.


In Senior Living

  • Independent Living – Ideal if you need little to no daily assistance, but seek a vibrant social community without the hassle of chores and home upkeep.
  • Assisted Living – Provides housing, personalized care and support with daily tasks while offering the independence to enjoy an active, engaging life.
  • Memory Care – Specifically for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia; provides 24-hour supervision, structured activities and a secure, nurturing environment with specially trained staff.
  • Skilled Nursing – A higher level of supervision and care than in assisted living with24/7 nursing and physical, speech and occupational therapists also onsite.


What Senior Care Costs

There are many factors that affect the cost of care. The three biggest are typically the level of care, geography and amenities offered, but a good example of what you can expect on average each month comes from the Genworth 2018 Cost of Care Survey.


At Home

  • Home Health Care
    • Homemaker Services —$4,004
    • Home Health Aide Services —$4,195
  • Adult Day Care 
    • $1,560


In Senior Living

  • Assisted living 
    • Private, one-bedroom: $4,000
  • Skilled nursing 
    • Semi-private room: $7,441; Private room: $8,365


Unlike the levels of care above, there is little published data on average monthly costs for independent living and memory care because it varies so greatly. However, typical ranges are as follows:

  • Independent Living 
    • $1,400 to $4,000 per month
  • Memory Care 
    • $2,000 to $7,000 per month


The Total Cost of Aging at Home

When most people compare senior living to aging at home they simply compare it to the cost of their mortgage or rent. But that’s not a fair comparison because the cost of living at home actually includes much more. The total cost of aging at home also includes your monthly food, utilities, home maintenance, property taxes, insurance and entertainment costs. It’s crucial to factor those in because these things are typically included in the monthly cost of senior living.

What’s more, you must also factor in the cost of any home health care and/or home modifications that you may need. But be careful in doing this as the average American underestimates the cost of home health care by almost 50 percent according to the Genworth Long Term Care/Caregiving Online Survey.

Once you’ve compared the total cost of aging at home, you may find senior living is actually less expensive!


Consider the Value of Senior Living

If you give senior living a chance, you might find your head and heart can both agree on its value to your quality of life. Not only can you enjoy the luxury of a beautiful campus, spacious accommodations and a full calendar of social, wellness and enrichment opportunities, the lifestyle is worry free without the unexpected expenses, chores or maintenance that may be weighing on you now.

What’s more you also have the added peace of mind that support is available however your care needs evolve and your family can enjoy life right alongside you instead of taking on caregiving burdens.

For more help in comparing aging at home to senior living, check out the 12 Oaks Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing today →


download our senior funding guide

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