Living in your home may seem like the most economical housing choice for retirement but if the cost of living at home is compared fairly to the cost of senior living, the reality can be surprising. Even today’s luxury senior living communities can be less expensive, more fun and much safer if the costs are compared apples to apples. Here’s what to consider.
To compare the cost of living at home versus the cost of senior living, start with the recurring monthly/annual payments like the mortgage, homeowners insurance, property taxes, waste collection, utilities (i.e., gas, water, electricity), and cable and internet. Then add in occasional payments like lawn care, snow plowing, and housekeeping.
Next, consider home repair and maintenance costs like new roofs, plumbing repairs, major appliance replacement (furnaces, dishwashers, refrigerators, water heaters, etc.), as well as repair or replacement of the elements of a home that eventually succumb to daily wear and tear (paint, flooring, etc.).
Now look at what costs are associated with just living. Groceries are certainly a line item as are entertainment, eating out, gym and club memberships, and transportation (car costs including payments, insurance, and maintenance, and/or the costs of public transportation). All of the little things that make living at home seem like the best option also cost money so they can make a big difference when comparing the cost of life at home against the cost of senior living.
Another set of costs that many seniors fail to include is the cost of renovations to make a home safe and accessible for aging in place. For example, widening doorways for walkers or wheelchairs, installing walk-in showers, building ramps over steps, and adding chairlifts on staircases all can be necessary and often costly changes. For a look at what else might be needed, check out our blog, “Aging in Place Safely: What You Need to Know.”
Finally, consider how much at-home care could cost if you need it in the future. As noted in our blog, “Understanding the Cost of Long-Term Care,” the cost of care at home is already high and still climbing and the ongoing shortage of caregivers may make it difficult if not impossible to find qualified help when it’s needed.
In the 21st century, the best senior living communities like Thrive Senior Living are often comparable to luxury resorts in that they include just about everything a senior could want or need in one monthly fee. Residents can choose from a variety of housing options with floor plans in different sizes and configurations, well-appointed kitchens, bathrooms with a variety of safety and accessibility features, plenty of open space and natural light, and a level of security that is hard to get at home.
In addition, chef-prepared meals and a variety of formal and casual dining venues are now the norm, and housekeeping, maintenance and repair, utilities, lawn care, and local transportation are generally included in the cost of senior living.
Another aspect to consider in the cost of senior living is socialization, something that can make the difference between aging well or becoming isolated and lonely. Our blog, “Combatting Senior Loneliness: Connectedness and Health Effects” explains their dire health consequences. Top senior living communities go the extra mile to offer a diverse array of activities, events, classes, and trips that make daily life fun, interesting and purposeful for residents. Whether working out in the fitness center, taking a dance class, playing card or board games, or joining an excursion to a local museum or festival, the cost of senior living includes so much, many seniors wonder why they waited!
Even with all of the above included in the cost of senior living, the aspect of care might well be the most important consideration. Since according to the Association for Community Living, about 70% of people age 65 and older will need some level of care in their remaining years, knowing that care is readily available can be life-changing.
In senior living communities that offer different levels of care, residents can move seamlessly from independent living to assisted living or memory care without having to move, find qualified help or suffer the consequences when help isn’t available. Not only does this offer seniors peace of mind, but families can also rest easy knowing their loved one is in a place where their every need will be attended to with compassion and empathy.
When the true cost of living at home and the cost of senior living are compared it’s easy to see which is the better deal. For more about how to afford retirement in a senior living community download our free guide, “Family Guide to Paying for Senior Living.” Contact us to learn more about Thrive Senior living and schedule your tour today!