Senior Living

Comparing Costs: Home Care vs. Senior Living

Growing older brings the need to make decisions about how and where to live, whether it’s at home or in a senior living community. More often than not, those decisions are made as the need for additional help arises, including everything from help with home upkeep and maintenance, to assist with activities of daily living, to short- or long-term medical care. Understanding the actual costs of the choices at hand can be difficult, but will help seniors make the right decisions at the right time. Here’s a general comparison of costs for different senior living options to help guide the decision-making process.

In-home care vs. assisted living cost

In-home care can range from non-medical aides who provide companionship and light housekeeping to certified nursing assistants who help with ADLs and more skilled health care required for an illness or injury. As the level of expertise and time required for care increases, so too does the cost of the services. According to Genworth’s 2020 “Cost of Care Survey” the national monthly median cost (assuming 44 hours per week) for homemaker services is $4,481, while the cost of home health aide services is $4,576. These costs are, of course, in addition to the costs of living including:

  • Mortgage or rent
  • Utilities
  • Housekeeping services
  • Property taxes and insurance
  • Home security systems
  • Transportation and gas
  • Home maintenance and repairs
  • Lawn and landscaping services
  • Groceries and/or dining out
  • Entertainment
  • Exercise and wellness
  • 24-hour emergency alert system

Assisted living, on the other hand, provides maintenance-free living space that also includes:

  • Community dining in a full-service restaurant with chef-prepared meals
  • Transportation
  • Housekeeping 
  • Maintenance
  • Utilities including internet and cable television
  • 24- hour safety and security systems
  • Companionship
  • Help available as needed
  • Community amenities such as:
    • Theater
    • Wellness center
    • Pool
    • Bistro with 24-hour grab and go options
    • Salon
    • Daily events & entertainment

The best part is that all of the above are included in a lump-sum package instead of paying dozens of bills each month! Surprisingly, the 2020 national monthly median costs for assisted living provided in the Genworth Survey total $4,300 for a one-bedroom private apartment, less than both in-home options.

Genworth also notes that the 2020 (as reported) national hourly cost for a home health aide is $24, and “The median yearly cost of in-home care in the United States in 2020 was $54,912 for a home health aide and $53,768 for a homemaker. The hourly rate for a home health aide ranged from $17.00 in Louisiana to $33.00 in Minnesota.”

Since costs for in-home care and senior living communities do vary geographically, it’s a good idea to zero in on the state of residence to get a more refined idea of costs. The Genworth Survey’s “Median Cost Data Tables” provide annual, monthly and daily costs for comparison by state. Hourly costs are also provided for homemaker and home health aide services.

To compare real-world costs, try the resources in the payingforseniorcare.com blog, “Calculating the Cost of Assisted Living vs. Home Care.” 

Long-term care at home versus a senior living community

For those needing skilled-nursing care, the in-home costs can be determined based on hourly rates and in accordance with the recommendations of a healthcare provider. For example, care for seniors who are bed ridden and require 24/7 care will be much more costly than care for seniors who require only daily visits for assistance with personal care and meals. 

The cost of long-term care in a senior living community or nursing home will also vary by place, with the Genworth Survey showing the national median daily rate of $255 for a semi-private room and $290 for a private room. 

One type of long-term care deserves special attention: memory care for seniors with forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. For many, some memory loss is just part of aging, however, diagnosed dementia means memory loss may escalate to the point that a senior will need 24/7 care to stay safe. Some families are able to manage this with help from an aide, while others are not, so memory care in a senior community is an option. Again, costs for memory care vary by state, but according to retirementliving.com’s blog, “What Does Memory Care Cost?,” the average monthly cost for memory care in the United States is $5,745. When dementia is a concern, the senior’s physician can help assess their needs and determine the best place for them to live and when.

Comparing Costs: Leveling the playing field

As noted above, the costs of being cared for at home versus in a senior community should include the costs of living at home plus the costs of care in that home. Even if a senior’s home is paid for, there is still a long list of line items such as:

  • Housekeeping services
  • Property taxes and insurance
  • Home security systems
  • Transportation and gas
  • Home maintenance and repairs
  • Lawn and landscaping services
  • Groceries, take-out and/or restaurant dining
  • Entertainment
  • Exercise and wellness
  • 24-hour emergency alert system

All of these are included in senior living so there are no piles of monthly bills to pay, and better yet, and no worries. Arrow Senior Living offers a range of senior living options from independent living to memory care. Our beautiful communities provide a range of events and amenities and we welcome the opportunity to help seniors and their families with their decision making. To speak with a senior living specialist, contact us today.

Related Articles

Back to top button