If your parent could use a helping hand to live their best independent life, your family may be considering which is most affordable – remaining at home and bringing in care services vs. moving into a senior living community. To help you create an accurate comparison, it’s important to consider the total cost of senior living, the level of care needed, and what each option includes.

Cost of senior living: services that may be required

Make a list of the level of services needed or desired. Note that there will be additional costs if specialized care is needed for dementia or chronic health conditions.

When determining what basic services your loved ones might need, you may want to consider what could help improve their quality of life:

  • Assistance with tasks of daily living
  • Help with shopping and preparing healthy meals
  • Available social and entertainment events
  • Access to health and wellness programs
  • Opportunities to make friends and enjoy companionships
  • Help with housekeeping and laundry
  • Transportation for those who no longer want to drive
  • Community security and safety measures
  • Access to a maintenance-free lifestyle

Comparing senior living community costs vs at-home care

Many variables determine the costs of senior living – whether received at a community or at home. These can include the number of services, level of care and even the geographic location. Talk to a community or home care agency for specific pricing but the following information can help get you started.

Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples

One common mistake mortgage-free homeowners might make is to assume that staying at home is automatically cheaper because they consider housing to be the only major cost of senior living.

But housing is only one consideration and there are monthly housing expenses that go beyond the mortgage payment. Also, many services included in the cost of community life will require payment if they are brought into your home.

Determining home care costs

The following process can help you come up with a general budget for in-home care:

  1. Decide the types of care and the number of hours needed weekly for:
  • health care
  • personal care
  • adult daycare
  • the hours when no assistance or monitoring is needed
  1. Determine who will provide this care and calculate the cost, including the hours that family and friends are available.  

For specific prices, talk directly to agencies in your area, but according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, a home health aide’s hourly rate ranged from $17 to $33. The median yearly cost for a home health aid was $54,912. These costs would also need to be combined with the expenses of maintaining a home.  

  1. You’ll also want to calculate the following costs when determining the total expenses of receiving senior care at home:
  • mortgage or rent payments
  • home or renters’ insurance
  • utilities
  • cable television
  • Internet
  • food
  • telephone
  • maintenance and repairs
  • yard work
  • security system
  1. Additional costs that should be included when considering expenses while living at home:
  • car ownership, including payments, insurance, gas, maintenance and repairs
  • activities and social events
  • fitness centers, gyms or exercise classes
  • housekeeping
  • laundry

You’ll also want to take into account whether any expensive or extensive renovations will be needed to make the home more age-friendly and safe.

Life in a community

According to the Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly cost of an assisted living community ranged from $3,000 to $6,690, depending on location, services and the level of care needed. If specialty care is also required, such as memory care or skilled nursing, there will be additional charges.

The following are typically included in the cost of living in a senior community:

  • residence
  • assistance with daily tasks
  • dining options
  • activities and amenities
  • social events and entertainment
  • fitness centers and exercise classes
  • scheduled transportation
  • housekeeping and laundry
  • security systems and features
  • maintenance-free lifestyle
  • cable television and internet
  • utilities

Considerations that go beyond price

While budgets and costs are important considerations of senior living, remember there are other features that go beyond the bottom line when searching for the place for your parents to call home.

Be sure you also discuss which option offers your loved ones the best chance to maintain their independence and high quality of life. For example, even if they are able to save money by living at home but become lonely or socially isolated, the negative impact on their physical and emotional health can be devastating.

The Charleston Senior Community

Locally owned and operated, we offer personalized care by our dedicated team members. Setting a new standard in Assisted Living and Memory Care, we don’t define our residents by their limitations or illness but instead believe in focusing on the positive and the possibility.

The Charleston Senior Community includes private apartments for assisted living residents and for those living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

Your loved ones will benefit from our attention to detail, routine health assessments, delicious dining and daily activity programs as we support them to live their best life.

Consider a few of our amenities:

  •       Chef-led dining program
  •       Community movie theater
  •       Salon
  •       Ballroom
  •       Live entertainment
  •       Outdoor patio
  •       Social lounges
  •       Housekeeping

If you or your family is thinking about assisted living or memory care, we hope you will consider The Charleston Senior Community. We are a trusted resource and are here to answer any questions. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, A Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing.