Comparing the Cost of Assisted Living With Care at Home

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Some people wonder whether they can afford assisted living. They assume that staying in their current home and receiving care there will be cheaper. But that’s not always the case.

According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey Tool, the national monthly median cost in 2021 for assisted living in a senior living community was $4,500. And for a home health aide to provide care in your own home it was $5,148.

Surprised that the cost is higher for care at home? A lot of people are.

Now, before we go any further, it’s important to acknowledge that the cost of a home health aide is based on 44 hours per week. You may not need that many hours of support each week, so the cost may not be as high for you. The Genworth Cost of Care Survey Tool allows you to adjust these hours to come up with a monthly median cost for a home health aide that’s closer to your actual needs.

Suppose that when you factor in the amount of home health support you actually need, the total cost comes in less than for assisted living. Does that mean that receiving care in your current home is a better deal?

Not necessarily.

One reason is that the cost of assisted living doesn’t just include care. It includes other living expenses that you’re paying right now. Things like property tax, utilities, and costs of maintaining and cleaning your home. It may also include food costs.

For that reason, it’s important to add up all your current living expenses before making a comparison with the cost of assisted living. Our handy calculator can help you do that.

When you compare your current total living expenses (including any paid home health support) with the total costs of assisted living, you may find that assisted living is cheaper overall.

Check out our free ebook,

Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living

Is care at home a good choice for me?

Even if receiving care in your home is less expensive, you’ll still need to decide whether it’s practical. Here are a few factors to consider.

The layout of your current home. If changes in your health status mean that it’s now difficult for you to live in your current home, how practical is it to make it more accessible? Are the modifications you’d have to make too extensive or too costly? If that’s the case, would moving to an accessible assisted living apartment make more sense?

Location. If you have to travel long distances for things like medical appointments, shopping, or socializing with people you know – and driving yourself everywhere isn’t an option – are there enough transportation services to get you where you need to go when friends or family aren’t available to take you? Many assisted living communities offer transportation services.

Availability of services. Are the at-home care services you need available in your community? Even if at-home care service agencies serve your area, they may have trouble recruiting staff. This may mean cancelled visits, forcing you to scramble for alternatives at the last minute. This isn’t a concern if you’re living in an assisted living community.

Strain on your family. No matter how much at-home care you have in place, family members are usually still providing a lot of support. Are they reaching their limit? If you move to assisted living, the strain on them may be much less.

Summing up

A move to an assisted living community may be an attractive alternative to receiving care in your own home. Assisted living communities have senior-friendly layouts. Property maintenance, housekeeping services, and transportation services are often included. They serve restaurant-style meals that accommodate any special dietary needs you might have. A wide range of social activities are offered on-site. And personal care can be provided as needed by community staff.

Interested in learning more? Check out our free ebook, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living.

download your assisted living guide

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