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Comparing the Cost of Senior Living with Staying at Home

When assistance is needed with tasks of daily living, families may begin comparing home care with a senior living community. While it’s essential to determine which option provides a quality life, cost is also a factor.

It’s often assumed that remaining at home is the more affordable option. However, it’s important to understand the features communities provide and the comparison when included in the expenses of home care.

Senior living communities typically provide a residence, personal assistance, activities and amenities in their monthly rate. Services provided by a home care agency are generally billed by the hour. You’ll also need to factor in the costs of housing, food, utilities, outside activities and social events if your loved one will be remaining at home.

The Cost of Senior Living

The costs for a community or home care depend on the level of services provided, the type of community and even the geographic location. We recommend contacting each to discuss specific fees so your determination is based on accurate numbers.

When making your decision, consider the following primary features and whether they are included in the cost or will need to be budgeted separately:

1. The cost of an accessible private residence

At a senior living community: Included in the fee is an accessible residence that can be personalized for your loved one to make it home

Remaining at home: Along with mortgage or rent payments, homeowners will need to add insurance, property taxes, maintenance and repairs. If renovations are required for accessibility, include those numbers as well.

2. The cost of assistance with daily tasks

At a senior living community: The fee for assisted living or memory care includes assistance with daily services, such as bathing, dressing and managing medications.

Remaining at home: Calculate the hours assistance will be needed, subtracting time that family or friends can provide. Multiply this number by the agency’s hourly rate. If healthcare is required, the rates will be higher.

3. The cost of healthy dining

At a senior living community: Included in a community’s cost is a healthy dining program with a wide menu selection. Some communities also offer choices in venues.

Remaining at home: Budget the hours needed for shopping and preparing meals. If assistance with eating is required, include those charges here as well.

4. The cost of activities and social events

At a senior living community: A monthly calendar of activities is included in the cost. Participation is optional but many residents enjoy the engagement and opportunities to make new friends.

Remaining at home: It can become challenging to remain active when living at home. Look for opportunities and include their fees, transportation costs and agency hours if they accompany or provide the driving.

5. The cost of fitness and wellness goals

At a senior living community: It’s important to stay in shape – both physically and cognitively. Included in the cost is a fitness center or classes as well as brain stimulating activities to maintain wellness goals.

Remaining at home: Unless your loved one has home access to exercise equipment or virtual classes, you’ll want to arrange for an activity membership, transportation if needed, and budget for these fees.

6. The cost of meeting and making new friends

At a senior living community: It’s easy to make new friends at the activities, social events or while crossing paths – all included in a community’s monthly fee.

Remaining at home: As isolation and loneliness can be detrimental to health and well-being, it’s critical to provide opportunities to engage with others regularly. Arrange for activities and include the costs here.

7. The cost of transportation options

At a senior living community: Scheduled transportation, included in the fees, ensures your loved one can attend medical appointments, social events or go shopping – without worrying about traffic or parking.

Remaining at home: If your loved one is no longer driving, families will need to provide rides or contract this service with the home care agency or other ride services. Include the costs here.

8. The cost of safety and security features

At a senior living community: Security features in both the community and personal residence are included in the cost of senior living. It’s also reassuring to know someone is there if help is ever needed.

Remaining at home: Include any repairs or renovations in the budget and consider adding security or personal safety alarms in case of an emergency or if an injury occurs while at home alone..

Life at a Milestone Community

If you’re looking at options for retirement living, we invite your family to visit one of our Milestone communities – designed to support your loved ones to live their highest quality of life.

We offer studio and one-bedroom private apartments for our assisted living residents as well as private or shared memory care suites for those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Our memory care residents are cared for by our compassionate and specially trained team – who meet them wherever they are in their journey with patience and kindness. The residents also have access to customized activities, programs and an elevated secured courtyard.

Our amenities and services encourage our residents in assisted living to engage with others, remain as independent as possible and be reassured that help is available whenever needed.

In addition to our personalized services, we offer:

If your family is considering retirement living, we hope you will visit one of our communities. We are a trusted resource and are here to answer any questions. Please contact us

with any questions you may have or to arrange a personal tour.


We also invite you to download our complimentary Family Decision Toolkit