When you begin researching assisted living communities for yourself or for your loved one, you likely focus on location, care, and amenities. However, you must also pay attention to a rather important part of the selection equation: the cost. If you have had a bit of sticker shock when it comes to assisted living costs, you are not alone. It can be jarring to see a monthly fee that perhaps exceeds what you or your loved one are used to when it comes to a mortgage payment.
However, while some people will turn away at the mention of the assisted living cost, it is much wiser to research it further. For many people, assisted living is much more affordable than it may seem. In fact, it is quite possible that you could end up saving money by opting out of living at home alone and moving into an assisted living community.
Comparing the costs
Breaking down monthly and annual expenditures can be overwhelming at first. However, if you are able to take the time to review those costs, you can get a more accurate picture of what money you or your aging loved one are currently spending while living at home in the community. To help get you started, here are just a few things to consider.
Costs associated with living at home
For seniors living at home in the greater community, monthly and annual costs can add up quickly. In addition to a monthly mortgage payment, homeowners are also responsible for property taxes assessed yearly. With the average American mortgage being a little more than $1,000 and property taxes averaging around $2,000 per year, costs of living at home start off at a high rate.
Beyond mortgage and property taxes, seniors living in the community are also responsible for monthly payments for utilities. Electricity, water, gas, and garbage pickup can average up to $200 per month, and access to WiFi, cable, and phone service can make a monthly budget increase further while living at home. In addition to these expenses, don’t forget to add in any home health services that you or your loved one may be incurring on a regular basis. With the average home health aide coming in at $20-$30 per hour (and visiting nurses’ rates even higher), it is easy to have hundreds of dollars in home health care costs each week or month, depending on the needs of your loved one.
As you continue to work out your budget, consider grocery costs or meal delivery services for the month, any regularly scheduled housekeeping services, cab fare or transportation costs to get to the store or to the doctor, as well as money spent on time with friends. You may be surprised at how much you or your loved one is actually spending per month.
Costs associated with living in an assisted living community
The national average for a monthly payment to live in an assisted living community is $3,500. While this number is certainly higher than a $1,000 mortgage, this fee often includes much more than simple room and board. Residents living in assisted living are treated to included costs and do not pay extra for utilities. Many assisted living communities also give residents access to free cable, phone, and even WiFi as a part of their monthly fee.
The included amenities don’t stop with internet access and garbage disposal. Assisted living residents also receive three delicious and nutritious meals per day at no additional cost, along with regular housekeeping services. Transportation is offered on a regular schedule for most assisted living communities, at no cost to residents, and typically offers service to local grocery stores, churches, and doctors’ offices. Finally, monthly fees include access to a lively and engaging calendar of events and trips that happen on-site.
Monthly fees for assisted living residents also include access to the most important part of senior living: quality care and monitoring. With caregivers on staff 24 hours per day, assisted living communities give residents and their families peace of mind knowing residents are well taken care of, healthy, and happy. This reassurance, many would agree, is priceless.
Wondering what your monthly costs are, and how it may compare to premiere assisted living communities in your area? Use our Cost Calculator to determine if it is worth it to commit to a lovely apartment, exceptional care, engaging activities, new neighbors, and peace of mind by moving into an assisted living community. We know you will be pleasantly surprised.