Weighing the Costs of Home Care versus Senior Living

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When it comes to healthy aging, quite honestly, there’s a lot to do. You’re supposed to make sure to keep your body active and your brain engaged all while maintaining your social connections as well. Sure, the benefits to your overall well-being are worth the effort, but retirement is supposed to be a time with less responsibility on your plate, right? Well, it turns out that in senior living you can have your cake and eat it too, so to speak. Here’s how programs like our Vivid Life make keeping active, engaged, and connected easy and fun! 

Benefits of Healthy Aging 

Good things happen when you focus on healthy aging. In addition to feeling better overall, which in and of itself is a win, other benefits of keeping active, engaged, and connected include:  

  • Improved ability to do everyday things ​ 
  • Reduced impact of illness and chronic disease​ 
  • Enhanced mobility, flexibility, and balance
  • Improved sleep
  • Increased energy level
  • Reduced feelings of depression and stress
  • Increased feelings of happiness and self-confidence
  • Reduced risk of cognitive decline 
  • Increased mental adaptability and cognitive reserve 
  • Improved memory recall and problem-solving skills 
  • Improved concentration and attention to detail  

How Senior Living Can Help 

At home, particularly when living alone, it can be hard to stay as active, engaged, and connected as you’d like. From lack of opportunity to lack of motivation to lack of transportation to mobility challenges, and more, it’s tough, we get it! That’s why we created the Vivid Life program in our senior living communities. It’s composed of three parts: Vibrant Body, Vibrant Brain, and Vibrant Connections. Here’s what each entails:  

Vibrant Body We offer amenities such as a state-of-the-art fitness center, a pool, walking trails, gardening opportunities, and even a dog park to help you stay active. A sample of activities includes:  

  • Walking club – Daily walks at different outdoor locations using pedometers to measure steps. 
  • Yoga – At least once per week for gentle yoga, and once per week for mindful breathing. 
  • Fitness classes – At least two times per week using a variety of hand weights, resistance bands, and circuit-type exercises. 
  • Tai Chi – At least once per week with a live instructor. 
  • Non-traditional exercise – Dancing, gardening, etc. at least two times per week. 
  • Physical games and sports – Golf, putting, bowling, croquet, bocce, and ping pong available daily with organized events one to two times per week. 

Vibrant Brain We offer monthly calendars filled with classes, events, creative arts, and enrichment opportunities to help keep you engaged. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Visiting lecture series – Twice per month with topics such as cultural, historical, local interest, career-oriented, etc. 
  • Creative art series – At least one per week with a theme that runs 3-6 weeks, such as poetry writing, storytelling, painting, digital photography, etc. 
  • Learning series – At least three times per month with an emphasis on learning something new such as foreign language, sign language, technology, hobbies, etc. 
  • Games – At least one time per week and may include poker, bridge, Scrabble, etc. 
  • Mindfulness – A meditation class once per week and gratitude discussion group twice monthly. 
  • Church service – At least once a week through visits by local churches. 
  • Stress reduction – At least once per month class that offers deep breathing exercises, nature walks, music appreciation, spa-type treatments, etc. 

 Vibrant Connections We offer resident-led clubs, social events, outings and volunteer opportunities for any interest to help you stay connected. A sample of activities includes: 

  • Outings – At least twice per month and may include going to concerts, art shows, museum visits, theatre productions, etc. 
  • Intergenerational programming – At least once per month and focuses on building relationships between young adults/children and residents. 
  • New resident welcome party – At least once per month to formally introduce all new residents, and includes ice breakers, social games, etc. to encourage connection. 
  • Philanthropic program – At least once per month provide residents the opportunity to give back to the community, such as volunteering for a local food bank or pet shelter. 
  • Resident-led clubs – May include game clubs, professional clubs, common interests, etc. that meet at least monthly.  

What’s more, it’s all right outside your door (or transportation is provided offsite) and all in a supportive environment with home maintenance, housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining freeing your time to make it even easier to stay active, engaged, and connected. 

Learn more about Vitality Living’s Vivid Life programs. Or find a Vitality Living community near you today to schedule a tour. 



“There’s no place like home.” Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz may have said it first, but she is certainly not the last to feel that way. That’s why the question, “Should you stay home as you age or move to senior living?” is often balked at when asked. Of course you’d rather stay at home. In fact, nearly 90 percent of people over age 65 want to stay at home for as long as possible according to AARP. It’s understandable; there are a host of emotional reasons most people feel this way. And on the surface you might also think that it’s the most budget-friendly option even if you need care. Surprisingly, that’s not always the case. Let’s weigh the costs of home care versus senior living.

Understanding Your Options

Before we look at costs, you need to know what you’re comparing. Luckily today seniors have more options than ever when it comes to care, whether at home or in senior living.

At Home

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

In Senior Living

  • Independent Living – An option for those who require little daily assistance, but seek a vibrant social community and worry-free living without chores and home upkeep.
  • Assisted Living – Provides housing, personalized care and support with daily tasks to help residents remain as independent as possible and enjoy an active, engaging life.
  • Memory Care – This option is designed to nurture and support those with Alzheimer’s and dementia by providing 24-hour supervision, structured activities and a secure, calming environment with specially trained staff.
  • Skilled Nursing – Provides 24-hour supervised care with a licensed physician or nurse. These senior living communities also offer physical, speech and occupational therapists onsite.

For more information on comparing home care versus senior living, check out our Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing!

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The Cost of Care

From the care environment to services offered to geography, there are many factors that affect your cost. But perhaps the best example of what you can expect comes from the Genworth 2018 Cost of Care Survey which found these average monthly costs:

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 Real Comparison

The cost of living at home isn’t just your mortgage or rent. When comparing to senior living you must look at the total cost of living at home which also includes your monthly food, utilities, home maintenance, property taxes, insurance and entertainment costs. Why? Because these things are typically included in the cost of senior living. 

In addition, you must also factor in the cost of any home health care and/or home modifications to support your needs. But be careful in doing this as four out of five adults underestimate the costs of home healthcare with the average American underestimating the cost by almost 50 percent according to the Genworth Long Term Care/Caregiving Online Survey.

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

The Value of Senior Living

Even if the comparison shows senior living may cost more than staying at home in your case, factoring in the positive impact of quality of life may tip the scale.

That’s the true value of senior living for you, and your family. Not only is the full calendar of social, fitness and enrichment opportunities a benefit, as is the worry-free lifestyle without unexpected expenses, chores or maintenance. You also have the added peace of mind that support is available however your care needs evolve. What’s more, your family won’t have to take on caregiving burdens and instead, can enjoy life right alongside you.

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