For many families, the decision made with a loved one to move into long-term care – such as assisted living – isn’t always an easy one. Comparing the amenities and services offered at a community with the costs of remaining at home can help to better understand which option might provide the best fit.
However, a common misconception when considering this transition is the belief that remaining at home is always the most economical choice. Budgets typically play a significant role in the decision, but families are often surprised to learn which is the more affordable option when considering the cost of long-term care.
The cost of long-term care
Features needed for quality of life
A great place to start a financial comparison is to determine what elements are needed to support the preferred lifestyle of your loved one. Although everyone’s lists may differ, creating a budget for these standard features will work well.
- An accessible and comfortable residence
- Assistance with basic daily tasks
- Healthy dining options
- Opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Planned activities and social events of interest
- Available transportation
- Safety and security features
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Comparison of care at home vs. assisted living
The next step is for families to obtain actual costs for an assisted living community as well as those for home care services. It’s better not to rely on internet estimates as fees can vary widely depending on the specific community, type of assistance offered and even the geographic location.
While the above features needed for a high quality of life are all included in the monthly rate of an assisted living community, you’ll want to look at what it would cost to budget for these separately if remaining at home:
1. An accessible residence: While it’s true that no monthly rent is due for homeowners with a paid-off mortgage, there are still costs. These can include:
- maintenance and repairs
- monthly utilities
- property taxes
- home insurance
- landscaping and yard maintenance
- security systems
- modifications to create an accessible space
2. Assistance with basic daily tasks: One priority when determining the cost of long-term care is if personal assistance will be needed beyond what the family can provide. Contact a home care agency for hourly rates and multiply these by the number of hours required.
3. Healthy dining options: Everyone knows the importance of eating right, but it becomes more challenging as we grow older. If your loved one needs help with shopping or cooking, a home care agency can generally provide these services.
4. Opportunities to meet and make new friends: Loneliness and social isolation not only can become more common with age, but also pose serious risks to both physical and mental health. You’ll want to consider if your loved one has the opportunity to get together with friends and share meaningful time with others.
5. Planned activities and social events: It can become more difficult to find and schedule activities and social events for your loved one but it’s essential to remain engaged. You’ll want to include the costs of these activities in your budget.
6. Transportation: When calculating the cost of long-term care, your loved one must have available transportation options for medical appointments, entertainment and shopping. Always relying on others for rides can cause many older adults to remain at home instead.
7. Safety and security features: It’s not uncommon for older adults to become more anxious about their safety and health, especially if they’re living alone. You’ll want to include added security features or solutions to ensure your loved one that help will be available if there should be a fall or illness.
Finding peace of mind
It’s impossible to put a price on quality of life but it’s critical for older adults to live where they are supported to live an engaged life. Knowing that they’re not truly alone in case something happens brings much-needed reassurance to both families and their loved ones.
As we discussed earlier, when considering the cost of long-term care, it’s essential to account for all the associated fees and services. When you factor in the comprehensive offerings of an assisted living community, you’ll likely discover it is not only comparable but often the more affordable choice in the long run.
The Charleston Senior Living 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 or dementia. Your loved ones will benefit from our attention to detail, routine health assessments, delicious dining and daily activity programs as we support everyone to live their best life.
Consider a few of our amenities:
- Chef-led dining program
- Community movie theater
- Live entertainment
- Outdoor patio
- Social lounges
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, contact us today.
We also invite you to download our complimentary Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing to learn more about making the move to senior living.