How to Realistically Compare the Cost of Senior Living to Home

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When considering senior living for themselves or a loved one, one of the biggest hesitations for families is that they believe it’s much more expensive than staying in their home. As a result, they assume that they likely can’t afford it. Some may even think they have the numbers to prove it. The trouble is, often, that comparison isn’t taking into account the total cost of living at home. Yet, when you compare the cost of senior living to home in this way, your family may find that a senior living community actually costs less! Here’s how to more realistically compare the two in cost.

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Understanding the Cost of Care

First, you need realistic numbers on the cost of care. As you might expect, whether you’re at home or in senior living – some variables affect  the cost – including the level of care that’s needed. In general, here’s what you can expect in terms of average monthly cost according to a recent Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

At Home

  • Homemaker Services – Help with household tasks like cooking, cleaning, and errands that can no longer be managed independently. The average monthly cost is $4,481.
  • Home Health Aide Services – Assistance with personal care, but not medical care. The average monthly cost is $4,576.
  • Adult Day Care – Social activities, meals and support services, five days a week during normal business hours. The average monthly cost is $1,603.

In Senior Living

  • Independent Living – This level of care is less about daily assistance and more about an active, convenient and independent lifestyle with home maintenance, meals, and housekeeping – plus a range of amenities and social opportunities – provided. It’s uncommon to find published data on the average cost of independent living because it varies so greatly, but it typically ranges between $1,000 to $4,000 a month.
  • Assisted Living – Featuring many of the same services and amenities as independent living, this level of care differs in that it also provides help with personal care and onsite medical care. The average monthly cost for a private, one-bedroom is $4,300.
  • Memory Care – Exclusively for those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, this level of care offers 24-hour support in a secure yet comfortable and nurturing environment with specially-trained staff. Published data on average monthly cost for memory care is uncommon as well because it also varies greatly, but it typically ranges between $2,000 to $7,000 a month.

How to Compare the Cost of Senior Living to Living at Home

We mentioned above that most comparisons between the cost of senior living and living at home don’t take into account the total cost of living at home. Instead, the monthly cost of senior living is simply compared to the monthly cost of your mortgage or rent. In reality, you pay much more than that at home each month. Your total cost of living at home also includes what you pay for food, utilities, home maintenance, property taxes, insurance, entertainment, and healthcare each month. Factoring in these costs is essential in providing a realistic comparison between the two because most are included in the monthly cost of senior living. 

This worksheet can help you compare your costs.

Monthly ExpensesCosts at Home Senior Living Costs
Mortgage or rent
Property tax and insuranceN/A
Home maintenance and repairsincluded
Lawn care and yard maintenanceincluded
(electricity, gas, water, trash removal, etc.)
24-hour securityincluded
(payments, insurance, gas, registration, repairs)
Social and entertainmentincluded
Exercise and wellnessincluded
24-hour emergency alert systemincluded
Total Monthly Expenses

Then There’s the Value of Senior Living

Once you’ve compared your costs with the help of our worksheet, you may find that senior living is actually cheaper than what you pay at home per month! But even if that turns out not to be the case, there’s a value offered in senior living that’s hard to match at home. 

Not only does senior living remove the burden of managing chores, maintaining the house, and worrying over unexpected expenses, the lifestyle also makes it so much easier to stay socially connected and engaged each day. Senior living communities like ours at all levels of care feature an ever-changing monthly calendar of activities, events, clubs, classes, and volunteer opportunities. And it’s all right outside your door!

Not to mention, amenities like multiple dining venues that feature chef-created menus, concierge services, pool, library, dog park, and walking trails on beautiful grounds are also included. We also offer wellness services, a state-of-the-art fitness center, yoga and Tai Chi classes, an onsite spa, and salon experiences.

Perhaps most importantly is the comfort in knowing that support is always at hand should you need it, and many of our communities even offer multiple levels of care on the same campus for added peace of mind.

Check out our Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing for more information on how to compare the cost of senior living to home. Or, contact us today to schedule your virtual tour!