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Price of Assisted Living Vs Homecare
Chelsea Sayegh

By: Chelsea Sayegh on May 9th, 2017

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Price of Assisted Living Vs Homecare

Aging & Caregiving

Deciding between home care and assisted living can be a confusing, stressful, and time-consuming process. As a caregiver, you naturally want what is best for your aging relative, but you also know that there are limits to what you can do – both physically, and financially. Many caregivers considering assisted living report that their loved ones are reluctant to leave their home, or to be away from family members. All of these factors are what make this decision so very personal.

One of the largest determining factors for many families is the price of assisted living. Monthly costs will vary by facility, space requirements, medical need, and personal care, but for many caretakers, the initial price quote can lead to some serious sticker shock. If you have experienced this too, know that it is a completely normal reaction, especially if this was first time you have priced out assisted living.

However, while it is easy to focus on the total at the bottom of a brochure, it can be very difficult to accurately assess the expenses you are already paying to provide home care for your loved one. With this in mind, we have a step-by-step guide to help you decide which option is most affordable for your family.

Determine Your Current Care Expenses

If your loved one has moved in with you, you may have noticed that your monthly expenses have risen to help accommodate this new part of your everyday life, but have you sat down to figure out how much it is actually costing you?

Likewise, caregivers who visit loved ones in their own homes or apartments may also be unaware of the day-to-day expenses required to pay for this separate residence.

Here are some often overlooked expenses that you should consider when comparing the price of assisted living to the costs of home care.

  • Rent or mortgage for your loved one's residence
  • Utilities for their separate residence, or increased utility costs in your home
  • Property tax, insurance, and HOA fees, if applicable
  • Grocery costs
  • Additional services such as housekeeping or security
  • In-home healthcare, and/or adult daycare costs
  • Gas, tolls, or parking fees associated with traveling to your loved one's home, or transporting them to medical appointments
  • Public transit, taxi fare, or shuttle bus service expenses for your loved one
  • Personal care costs
  • Landscaping, snow removal, and exterior home maintenance
  • Interior home maintenance, cleaning services, laundry costs
  • Social and entertainment costs

There is a lot to add up, and many families discover that it may actually be less costly to bring their loved ones into an assisted living community. Why? Because in many cases, nearly every expense listed above is included in the single monthly fee. For a free worksheet on cost comparison between living at home and in an assisted living community, click here.

paying for assisted living

What You Get from Assisted Living Communities Versus In-Home Care

The brochures you receive will tell you all about what your loved one will be getting as a result of transitioning to assisted living, but the question is what will you be gaining from this, as a caregiver?

For one thing, caregivers and family members spend an average of 20 extra hours per week providing direct care and support for an elderly relative. Because many caregivers are still working and have their own children to consider, regaining 20 hours of availability can be extremely valuable.

Caregivers often experience stress, depression, and anxiety over their caregiving responsibilities. For example, you may feel that your loved one needs more direct personal support that you can provide, but your job and family responsibilities are making it very difficult to meet those needs. Additionally bringing an elderly family member into your household can sometimes feel very disruptive to your children, and you may also begin to internalize those feelings as well.

By entrusting a welcoming assisted living community where you know your loved one is receiving the best care and has numerous opportunities to socialize and thrive, the strain on your emotions, your family, and your personal life can lessen dramatically.

Calculating the Cost of Care

For many families, it is most helpful to see a cost breakdown. We have included some national averages to help you make a better comparison. Most seniors stay in assisted living for an average of 3 years, so be sure to take that into account when comparing costs.

Assisted Living Care (All Inclusive) - The national average is about $3500 per month for a 1-bedroom apartment and access to all community amenities. This, of course, varies dramatically depending on geographic location and care level needs. A major factor to consider when thinking of assisted living is that your loved one is in community. This means the opportunity to socialize as much as they’d like, have access to meals, food, transportation, friends and potential medical staff 24-hours a day.  

In Home Medical Care – The national average is about $21 per hour. Depending on the severity of your loved one's needs, they may require only occasional visits, or full-time availability from a medical professional.

Home Care Aide – National average is $19 per hour. A home care aide is not able to provide medical assistance, but can provide help with everyday living needs, such as transportation, grooming, toileting needs, house cleaning, and general supervision.

Adult Day Care – National average is $60 per day. Adult day care centers are non-residential group care settings which can provide assistance with everyday personal needs, supervision, social opportunities, and meals. Remember to factor in transportation costs, especially if there are no centers available within a short distance.

Care Provided by Friends and Family – Generally speaking, the added cost for friends or family to provide care is zero dollars. This doesn’t, however, take into consideration the physical, emotional and financial drain that friends and family may be experiencing. As much as you care for your loved one, you have to make sure caregiving isn’t taking an overwhelming toll on you.  

The Difference between Price and Value in Senior Care

One last thing to remember: there is an important difference between the price of senior care and the value of senior care.

Caregivers sometimes express concern that their loved ones are suffering from loneliness or a lack of exercise, so for them, the value of knowing that there are numerous opportunities for group activities and outings in assisted living might be greater than the cost.

Other times, caregivers worry that their own skill with medical assistance is lacking, especially for some issues such as wound care. In these cases, they feel much more secure knowing that there will always be medical professionals available to handle these very important responsibilities.

Ultimately, this very personal choice rests with you and your family. Caregivers usually reach a threshold where they understand that their loved one will need assisted living, but don't feel they have enough understanding of cost to make a fully informed decision. We offer a guide to senior care transition payment options which will provide further information and data to help you as you research your options for assisted living.

paying for assisted living

About Chelsea Sayegh

I started working as a Marketing Coordinator for United Methodist Homes in October of 2016. I work on public relations, website management and community planning for their award winning independent and assisted living communities. As a graduate of Ursinus College with a degree in Media and Communications and a passion for serving nonprofits, United Methodist Homes has become my home away from home. I spend my days working in a community filled with smiling faces, helpful hands and wonderful residents. I have a passion for assisting seniors and take great pride in being able to promote a company with such a positive mission and values. As an individual committed to learning and growing, I have jumped right into this exciting career!

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.