When envisioning retirement, seniors may plan to travel the world, spend more time with family and friends, or take up a new hobby to fill their days. But they don’t always plan for the cost of care should they need it. From just a little help with housekeeping to hands-on assistance with daily living to around-the-clock care, many seniors realize over time that their game plan for staying at home may need to change. When seniors need more and more help at home it may be time to consider assisted living. Before retirement, take a moment to get a clear idea of how the cost of care in assisted living vs. home care actually compares. Here’s a look at the realities.
Home care or assisted living: Understanding levels of care
Everyone ages differently, but the majority of seniors eventually come to a point where they need at least occasional help. Many are lucky to have family, friends or neighbors who can pitch in, check on them and help manage home upkeep and maintenance. But for those who need more assistance, such as with dressing and personal hygiene, preparing and eating meals, and taking medications, the stakes are higher. And then there are seniors who have conditions like diabetes or mobility challenges that require daily help or nursing care to ensure their health and safety. Each advance in the level of care ups the burden on caregivers as well as the costs. When comparing the costs of assisted living vs. home care it’s important to get the level of care needed. Find out how to assess when more care is needed in our blog, “When is Home Care Not Enough? 5 Signs to Look For.”
Comparing costs and benefits
When comparing the cost of assisted living vs. home care, there are the services to compare, but also the amenities. Since many seniors prefer to stay at home, they may not be familiar with everything assisted living has to offer that they often cannot easily get at home. For example, 24/7, 365 safety and security and daily assistance with tasks they can no longer manage alone. Then there are activities, nourishing meals, companionship and socialization, and peace of mind knowing they aren’t inconveniencing those they love.
Seniors in assisted living also no longer have to worry about paying utility bills and home maintenance costs, cleaning the house, doing the laundry, getting groceries, or feeling isolated and alone. Everything is included and part of a package designed to make life as easy and fun as possible without compromising independence and privacy. So, when comparing the cost of assisted living vs. home care be sure to tally not only the monetary costs but the value-added benefits of living in a caring community. To help make the cost comparison the payingforseniorcare.com blog, “Assisted Living vs. Home Care Affordability Calculator,” is a great tool.
A look at home care costs
Assisted living communities offer residents choices in services so that they know exactly what the monthly costs will be. With home care, it’s not so easy. While there are many companies that provide home care, there are often substantial costs associated with that care. According to the aginginplace.org article, “Home Care Cost Factors,” the national median hourly rate is $21, but that number changes from state to state and the shortage of skilled workers is helping to push costs up and availability down. Then too, a senior may not always get the caregiver they prefer, and the costs climb with the time and number of services provided as well as the level of expertise of the caregiver (i.e., housekeeper, certified nursing assistant, LPN, or RN). Thus, when comparing costs of assisted living vs. home care, it’s essential to keep these economic realities in mind.
Assisted Living vs. Home Care a Big Picture Comparison
The Genworth Cost of Care Survey Median Cost Data Tables published in late 2020, break down annual median costs for home care, assisted living, and nursing home facilities. According to the survey, the U.S. national median cost is as follows:
- Homemaker services – $53,768 (monthly cost – $4,481).
- Home health aide – $54,912 (monthly cost – $4,576).
- Assisted living (private one bedroom) – $51,600 (monthly cost – $4,300).
In Michigan, the survey found even greater cost differences.
- Homemaker services – $54,912 (monthly cost – $4,576).
- Home health aide – $54,912 (monthly cost – $4,767).
- Assisted living (private one bedroom) – $50,400 (monthly cost – $4,200).
Of course, there are many variables to factor in when comparing the cost of assisted living vs. home care but for many seniors and their families, the blanket coverage of an assisted living community is a relief and a blessing. For more information about Countryside, please call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.