Aging in place at home often seems like the best option for retirement, and for many it is … until it isn’t. As more and more help is needed to live safely at home it may make sense to consider hiring in-home caregivers or moving to an assisted living community. While it may seem less costly to remain at home and just hire help, it pays to first compare the cost of assisted living with that of in-home care before deciding.
When comparing the cost of assisted living and those of living at home with paid help, it’s best to level the playing field right from the start. Totaling all the costs of living at home may seem simple, but there are many that escape the tally. For example, there are the mortgage, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes, homeowners association fees and utilities like gas, electric, water, sewer and trash that are obvious.
But what about ongoing grocery costs, maintenance and repair, and upkeep like lawn care and snow removal, pest control, and security systems? Another angle that should be considered is that of entertainment like movies, fitness club dues, and other opportunities to socialize.
The cost of assisted living bundles all of these home costs into one package. Everything from utilities to delicious, nutritious meals to fitness centers to daily planned events and activities are all included in the monthly fee. Learn more in our blog, “The Cost of Staying at Home Vs. Moving to Senior Living.”
Once an honest calculation of costs for living at home is prepared, it’s time to add the costs of in-home care to that total. According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2021, the national monthly median cost for full-time in-home care is as follows:
For those who can get by with less than full-time help, the costs are still pretty high. For example, the costs for 20 hours a week (four hours/day for five days) is $2,253 for homemaker services and $2,340 for a home health aide.
Now compare these costs with the monthly median cost of assisted living which the 2021 Genworth Survey notes is $4,500. Keep in mind all that the cost of assisted living includes such as the amenities noted above, as well as a private apartment, 24/7 year-round assistance tailored to each senior’s needs, full-time security, free local transportation, and a vibrant and fulfilling lifestyle with plenty of things to do and friends to make. Learn what the best assisted living communities have to offer in our blog, “How Assisted Living Improves Quality of Life in Retirement.”
Assuming the exorbitant cost of in-home care isn’t a concern, there are other issues at play that should be considered. For starters, there is a shortage of in-home caregivers. According to the npr.org article, “There’s A Shortage Of Home Health Aides For The Elderly, And It’s Getting Worse,” the PHI report U.S. Home Care Workers: Key Facts notes there are about 2 million home health aides in the nation and 54 million Americans at or above 65 years of age, and that number is expected to reach 95 million in 2060. Add to that the pay for these workers is low, the turnover is high, and the work is hard and the result is that there simply are not enough home health care aides to go around.
Then there are the problems that occur even when a caregiver is hired. The care.com article, “5 common issues with in-home caregivers and how to tactfully address them” notes these include caregivers showing up late, caregivers spending too much time on their phones, caregivers who are not equipped to appropriately handle seniors with behavioral problems, caregivers who do not stimulate and engage seniors, and caregivers who do not communicate well.
Together, these make the cost of assisted living more reasonable because included in the cost of assisted living is the peace of mind that comes with knowing each resident will get the care they need when they need it from a compassionate team member who is at their beck and call around the clock. No surprises, no no-shows, no distractions, just dedicated caregivers who know and care about each resident’s happiness and well-being.
When considering the cost of assisted living versus the cost of in-home care, it’s easy to see that assisted living is by far the best value. Find out more about what Thrive Senior Living has to offer: contact us to schedule your tour today! Download our free guide: Senior Living Options: A Step by Step Guide for Making an Informed Decision for more information about assisted living.