The Costs of Senior Living: How They Compare to Living at Home

When deciding the most economical place to live during retirement, many seniors assume the costs of senior living are more than those of living at home. But a careful comparison of all the costs can be a revelation! Before crossing senior living off the list of retirement options, take a look at an honest cost comparison of the costs of senior living versus those of living at home.

Home costs – Before beginning a comparison of the costs of senior living and those of living at home, it’s essential to consider all the usual costs of owning a home. First is the mortgage, and then insurance, utilities (electric, gas, sewer, water, and trash), property taxes, maintenance and repairs, and lawn care. Other costs can include entertainment, a gym membership, a car, and housekeeping.

In senior living these are either eliminated or included in the monthly payment. No stack of bills to pay, no high energy bills, and someone else always mows the lawn, keeps house, and handles repairs seamlessly! Account for all the costs of living at home using the worksheet “Cost of Living in Your House.”

Cost of dining – The costs of food and the time and energy it takes to make them into healthy meals is often left out of the equation when comparing costs of senior living and living at home. In addition to the rising cost of groceries, there are the tasks of grocery shopping, lugging bags of groceries into the house, putting everything away, then planning and cooking meals to factor in.

In senior living, however, residents can choose from different meal plans that are included in the monthly cost for assisted living and memory care. And the meals are excellent with chef-inspired menus, a variety of nutritious choices, and meals prepared to meet special dietary needs. At the same time, residents have the option of cooking for themselves in their own well-appointed kitchens. If food doesn’t seem that important, take a look at the benefits of nutrition in our blog, “Boosting the Brain: Nutrition for Older Adults in Memory Care.”

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Personal care costs – Getting care at home can be trying and expensive so it should be included in the costs of senior living versus living at home. At first, families can manage simple things like housekeeping and help getting dressed or taking a shower, but when those needs keep growing, it may require outside assistance. Not only is finding reliable, qualified help often difficult, it is also costly.

According to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey, in 2021, the national median hourly cost of homemaker services and non-medical home health aide services was $26 and $27, respectively. At seven hours per week that’s $789 per month for homemaker services and $819 for a non-medical home health aide. At four hours per day, five days a week, the monthly costs climb to $2,253 for homemaker services and $2,340 for a non-medical home health aide. And those costs are in addition to all the usual costs of living at home.

In assisted living and memory care, care is provided at the level needed, day or night. From daily personal hygiene to medication management to mobility assistance, care is built into the monthly costs of senior living and can change as required so residents never have to worry about going it alone.

Social activities – Also hard to get at home are opportunities to socialize. Families often have to spend time helping rather than visiting, friends can’t get around as often, and time weighs heavy. Sadly, isolation can result in physical and mental problems so avoiding it can also help avoid the costs and repercussions like those described in our blog, “Combatting Senior Loneliness: Connectedness and Health Effects.”

In senior living, socialization is a big part of the agenda, and each day is full of fun options like classes, entertainment, movies, games, and more. It’s all preplanned and included in the costs of senior living so residents can pick and choose what they like.

Safety and security – Safety and security in the traditional sense at home means keeping unwanted people out and the homeowner safe within. But for seniors it’s more complicated. Can they negotiate stairs and rooms safely or are renovations needed? Has the kitchen become a threat? Can they react quickly in the event of a fire? Should they be driving? Each of these factors and more can be costly not only in monetary terms but in health terms as well.

But they are all covered by the costs of senior living because they are built into each community. Security systems, safety alerts, transportation, and accessible designs throughout enable seniors to move about safely and securely. At Thrive Senior Living, seniors have the best of home and community life combined into an affordable package.

Learn more about this topic by downloading our free guide, Staying Home vs. Senior Living: Should You Stay or Should You Go? Learn more about Thrive’s communities, housing choices and amenities by contacting us today!

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