It’s no secret that senior living care is very expensive. It’s sadly something that many people have to worry about even affording as they age, but planning ahead and knowing your options as early as possible can help alleviate a lot of the financial stress and burden down the road.
So today, we’re comparing the cost of assisted living vs in home care (and other options) to help you and your family choose the most affordable option based on your needs and budget.
Factors That Contribute to the High Costs of Senior Living and Care
There are a number of factors that contribute to the high cost of senior living and care, including:
Higher Cost of Living
In general, the cost of living is higher for seniors than it is for younger people. This is because seniors have specific needs that require specialized care and assistance, which can be costly. But this also includes having to pay staff more so you can attract better, more qualified nursing staff to care for these individuals.
Another factor that contributes to the high cost of senior living and care is the aging infrastructure. Many senior living facilities are old and not up to date with the latest safety and security features. This can cost a lot of money to maintain and repair, which is passed down to the residents in the form of higher fees.
Senior living and care facilities also have to contend with medical-related expenses. This includes the cost of medications, treatments, medical equipment, and doctor’s visits. All of these costs can add up quickly, making an assisted living facility one of the most expensive types of care to receive.
Assisted Living vs. In-Home Care: Pros and Cons
Assisted living and in-home care are not the only options for elderly adult care, but there are some of the most common and often the prime choice for later-stages of care. Of course, like anything, there are pros and cons to both.
What Is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a type of care that is designed to help seniors with their activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs are things like:
- Using the restroom
- Getting around
Assisted living facilities are staffed with trained professionals who can provide the necessary assistance and support to residents. Assisted living is great for active seniors who want to maintain a sense of their independence but can’t care for a home on their own anymore.
Assisted living is like a senior living apartment, but with the benefit of having:
- Medically-trained staff on-site
- Nutritious meal plans
- Regular social and entertainment events
- Rransportation on-site
- Medication management assistance
- And more
Assisted Living Pros and Cons
✅ Pro: Hands-on assistance with daily activities
👎Con: Risk of neglect
✅ Pro: Adaptable care plans
👎Con: High cost
✅ Pro: Feels like independent apartment living
👎Con: Often have to follow set meal and activity schedules
✅ Pro: On-site nursing and medical staff
👎Con: Don’t always have quick access to emergency medical care
What Is In-Home Care?
In-home care is a type of care that allows seniors to age in place in the comfort of their own home. In-home care providers can help with things like:
- Meal prep
- Laundry services
- Bathing and dressing
- Toileting and incontinence care
- Medication reminders
An in-home care provider is often an RN (Registered nurse) or LPN (Licensed Nurse Practitioner). They may also be referred to as in-home nurse, home care nurse, home health aide, or medical caregiver— basically anyone who is providing medical assistance to patients aging in place in their own homes.
A caregiver could also even be a family member who goes through the proper first aid medical training and helps until their loved one needs further medical care. In that case, an in-home care specialist would be brought in.
In-Home Care Pros and Cons
✅ Pro: Individuals can age in place at home
👎Con: Risk of isolation
✅ Pro: Can be cost-effective
👎Con: Requires more coordination
✅ Pro: Provides a sense of normalcy and comfort
👎Con: Can be challenging to find the right caregiver
Comparing the Cost of Assisted Living vs In-Home Care
There are a number of factors to consider when deciding between assisted living and in-home care, including cost. And different factors can determine how much or how little an assisted living facility might cost per month, including:
- Medical needs
- Adequate staffing
- Specialty physicians
- Personal care costs
So while we can determine the average costs of assisted living for you or a loved one, it can vary greatly. It’s important to know how much to expect, budget appropriately, get the programs you need to pay for it, and compare different places before deciding.
How Much Does Assisted Living and In-Home Care Cost?
The cost of assisted living varies depending on the location and amenities of the facility, but, according to Genworth data, the average monthly cost of assisted living is $4,500. Meanwhile, the average monthly cost of in-home care sits at around $5,148. Again, this can be higher or lower depending on:
- Location (state)
- Staff credentials (RN vs LPN)
- Level of care required
How to Pay for Assisted Living or In-Home Care
Now that you know the costs and the differences between each type of care, you’re facing the age-old question— “how am I going to pay for this?” That can be tough for many individuals who don’t have the financial means to get the best care or haven’t yet utilized Medicare or Medicaid. Fortunately, there isn’t just one-size-fits-all when it comes to paying for senior care.
Pay Out of Pocket
One option to pay for assisted living or in-home care is out of pocket. This could include dipping into your savings, taking out a home equity loan, or utilizing a reverse mortgage. Essentially, this means that you would be using your own money to cover the cost of care.
Another option to generate extra income for care is to sell property. This could be your home, a vacation house, or other assets. You would then use the money from the sale of these items to cover the cost of care.
Long-Term Care Insurance
If you have long-term care insurance, you may be able to utilize those benefits to cover the cost of assisted living or in-home care. It’s important to check your policy to see what is included and how much coverage you have.
Medical Assistance Programs
State government programs like elderly, CADI, or TBI (traumatic brain injury) waivers can help alleviate some of the cost burden by allowing certain qualified individuals receive housing or medical care and prescriptions at discounted costs.
Veterans benefit greatly from the VA, especially when it comes to medical care. The Aid & Attendance pension can help cover some of the cost of in-home care or assisted living for qualified veterans and their surviving spouses.
Medicare and Medicaid
Medicare and Medicaid are two government-sponsored programs that can help those with financial needs cover the cost of health care. You may be eligible for one or both of these programs depending on your income, assets, health condition, and other factors.
While cost and payments are major factors to consider before making the move to assisted living or hiring an in-home caregiver, the ultimate consideration should be for the well-being and care of the individual.
Oftentimes the added costs are worth the benefits and quality of care given, and it shouldn’t be the only driving factor for choosing where you’ll receive such care. Of course, it’s a very personal decision, but there are places willing to help.
Still Unsure? Call Sunflower Communities Senior Living Community
The wonderful support team at Sunflower Communities are well-equipped to help you through this process and answer any questions you may have about cost, care, living options, or anything else. We understand this is a difficult decision, but we’re here to make it a little easier.
For more information on costs, benefits, how to pay, and living options, contact us today!