One of the top questions families have about senior living communities is the cost. Often, seniors wonder if they can afford it. Ready for some good news? Senior living communities are more affordable than many people assume.
Whether or not to move into a senior living community is an important decision, so it’s essential to gather all of the facts beforehand. Let’s explore the cost of senior living versus the cost of your senior loved one staying in their current residence.
The Cost of Senior Living
Several factors impact the cost of senior living, including care type, the location of the community, the size of your loved one’s apartment, and community amenities.
Similar to real estate, communities in rural areas are generally not as expensive as those in suburbs or cities. Real estate trends also impact senior living. For example, some cities or neighborhoods may naturally be more expensive than others due to nearby economic growth and revitalization.
Larger floor plans increase the monthly cost of the apartment. However, senior living communities consider the various budgets of those they serve, so they often provide several types of floor plans, such as studios or one-bedroom apartments, to accommodate these budgets.
Senior living lifestyles include assisted living, memory care, and independent living:
- Independent living is a great option for seniors who don’t need regular hands-on assistance with personal care tasks but want someone else to handle the hassles of homeownership like lawn care and cooking.
- Assisted living provides the regular hands-on support your loved one requires with activities of daily living such as bathing, eating, and other necessary personal tasks.
- Memory care provides a specialized community with support for residents who have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
The type of assistance and care your loved one requires will affect the cost of senior living. For example, assisted living communities and memory care communities provide individualized services and care that meet your loved one’s needs. These necessary services impact pricing.
However, when comparing the price of a senior living community to the cost of staying at home, be sure to consider the fees for in-home health aides as well as regular household budget items such as a mortgage, food, and landscaping. Services like these at senior living communities are often all covered under one price tag.
Luxury amenities will increase the monthly cost of senior living. However, these amenities offer comfort and convenience such as on-site wellness resources, housekeeping services, and transportation.
The Cost of Staying in a Current Residence
If your senior loved one stays in their current residence as their preferences and care needs change, it can result in a lower-quality retirement and immense stress for them and other family members. Focusing on the monthly price tag of a senior living community is all too easy, but be sure to consider the financial and personal costs if your loved one stays in their current residence.
Home Maintenance Costs
Does your loved one pay rent or a mortgage as well as utilities? Are they able to perform home maintenance tasks or do they pay someone to mow their lawn, shovel snow, rake leaves, and do other chores? All of these home maintenance costs can really add up.
When you’re wondering if it may be cheaper to live at home, it’s important to consider that these maintenance costs—not even including groceries and other weekly necessities—can add up to a couple of thousand a month. Also, consider the cost of home modifications for your loved one to age in place. For example, purchasing and installing grab bars, ramps, safer flooring, and better lighting can cost up to several thousand dollars.
How much is your loved one’s grocery budget each month? What entertainment and transportation costs do they regularly incur? Does your loved one own a car, with a car payment and insurance cost each month? These costs can add up quickly. In a senior living community, transportation is taken care of (and your loved one doesn’t have to drive if they don’t want to), and delicious, healthy meals are provided daily.
If your loved one needs in-home health aides, the expense can run up to several thousand dollars per month. In fact, in-home aide costs are often higher than senior living expenses, and no matter how attentive the in-home aides are, they provide fewer amenities and less around-the-clock care than a high-quality senior living community.
As we age, our social circle naturally gets smaller, leading to feelings of isolation and loneliness. These feelings can have a significant impact on our physical health, increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, stroke, heart disease, and dementia.
Socialization is a highly effective way to improve mental health, but the cost of engaging in regular social activities while living alone can be expensive. When your loved one lives alone, spending time with friends can include regular budgeting items like the price of restaurant meals, concert tickets, movies, and other activities.
Senior living communities are centered on connection, and one of the most overlooked benefits of these communities is social connection. Whether your loved one is having dinner in the dining room, going for a walk around the outdoor spaces, or participating in an organized activity, they have the regular daily opportunity to make new connections and strengthen existing ones.
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Sometimes taking on the role of a family caregiver can result in caregiver burnout. This may lead to lost opportunities at work, physical and emotional exhaustion, depression, and more.
For many caregivers experiencing the effects of caregiver burnout, the answer to decreasing these effects is to consider senior living. Your loved one will receive the support they need while living the lifestyle they want, and your daily responsibilities and burnout will ease. Often, the move to a senior living community can improve relationships between family members, with each person having their needs better met.
Find Your TRUEcost of Senior Living
The thought of paying for senior living can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Many people find senior living more affordable than they expected. Consider the true cost of senior living and the community’s ability to care for your loved one’s needs as they change.
Our free TRUEcost Calculator helps you explore the cost of senior living based on location, dining choices, and more. It also takes into account your loved one’s unique costs such as home maintenance, mortgage, and more, and then delivers personalized results.