When deciding whether or not to move to a retirement community, older adults and their families often assume the cost of senior living will be out of reach. It may actually be more affordable than you think especially compared with the cost of aging at home today. That's right; staying home is not always less expensive!
Whether it's you or your loved one who's considering senior living, we recommend older adults and their adult children work together as we know a decision this big can be overwhelming. These tips can help you compare costs and better understand your budget.
First, let's give you an idea of what to expect regarding cost. Whether at home or in senior living, there are different levels of care available. While several variables affect the amount you'll pay, typically, the more care you need, the higher the cost. That said, according to the most recent Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly costs are as follows.
When considering the cost of senior living versus staying at home, the mistake families often make is to compare the monthly fee in a community to their mortgage or rent alone. However, the total monthly cost of staying at home also includes food, utilities, home maintenance, property taxes, insurance, entertainment, and healthcare. It's essential to factor these in for a realistic comparison between the cost of senior living versus staying at home because most of these are included in the former. This worksheet can help families more easily compare their specific circumstances.
Once you've compared, you may find that the cost of senior living is actually less than what you pay at home per month! Particularly with higher levels of care at home, as caregiving costs can quickly skyrocket the more help you need. Not to mention you may have to pay for home modifications for safety and accessibility.
Gain a Better Understanding of Your Budget
Even if the cost of senior living does turn out to be less than you would pay at home, you may still worry whether or not you can make it work with your budget. To find out, consider your or your loved one's financial picture to get a better handle on the budget for senior living. The basics include:
Also, keep in mind that there are a number of options that can help offset the cost of senior living, such as the Veterans Aid & Attendance benefit for wartime Veterans or their surviving spouses, life insurance conversion, or a reverse mortgage.