Comparing the Cost of Assisted Living with Care at Home

Elder woman talking to younger lady vaccummning in assisted living

The majority of seniors prefer to live at home and assume they will be able to get the care they need as they need it. In reality however, getting the same level of care provided in assisted living while living at home can be costly, hard on family caregivers, and often hard to get and keep. When planning for future care needs, be sure to consider all the facts about the cost of assisted living versus care at home.

5 facts to know when comparing the cost of assisted living with care at home

Fact #1: The odds are you’ll need care.

Healthy, active seniors may find it difficult to imagine a time when they cannot care for themselves and will need to rely on others. According to however, the odds are that they will. The article “How Much Care Will You Need” notes that a person turning 65 years old today has a nearly 70% chance of needing some kind of long-term care during the remainder of their life, with women needing 3.7 years compared to the 2.2 years required by men.

Fact #2: The costs are comparable – and sometimes lower for assisted living. The cost of assisted living is often assumed to be out of reach when it is actually quite comparable to the cost of in-home care — and may even be less! According to the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey the national monthly median cost for a home health aide is $5,148 while the same cost of assisted living is $4,500. On an annual basis that comes to $61,776 for a home health aide and $54,000 for assisted living.

Download our Senior Living Options Guide: A Guide for Understanding Which Level of Care is the Best Fit.

Fact #3: The care at home option costs more than you think.

The cost of in-home care does not include everything else that’s needed to live at home, it’s just care. So when comparing costs don’t forget to tally up all expenditures including mortgage and homeowners insurance, property taxes, HOA and condo fees, utilities and cable, groceries, transportation (public or personal including car payments, insurance, repairs, gas, etc.), home repair and maintenance, upkeep such as lawn care, and entertainment. Most if not all of these are included in the cost of assisted living making it an even better bargain than it first seems. For a more in-depth look check out the article, “The Hidden Costs of Owning a Home.”

Fact #4: Housekeeping and other in-home services cost extra.

Home health aides do not usually also provide housekeeping service so staying on top of daily chores can also become a costly problem. Often families will step up and help with cleaning, vacuuming, and even meal preparation, but this can put a strain on them as they also have their own homes and families to provide for and often full-time jobs as well.

While it may seem like a no-brainer to just hire a housekeeper, it may also be surprising how much that can cost. The Genworth Cost of Care Survey notes the national hourly median cost of homemaker services is $26, so that’s $163 per day or $59,488 annually for a full-time provider. That said, keep in mind that those costs can vary greatly around the country. According to the article “U.S. states with highest annual cost for in-home care, as of 2021 (in U.S. dollars), by cost for homemaker services,” can go much higher ranging from such $80,080 in Minnesota, $78,750 in Washington state, $70,928 in Massachusetts and South Dakota and $68,640 in Vermont, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Alaska, and Maine. The cost of assisted living, however, includes housekeeping services and often laundry and/or linen services as well.

Fact #5: Assisted living offers a lot for one monthly fee.

Assisted living provides much, much more than care and housekeeping. In general, the cost of assisted living includes a private or semi-private apartment, three nutritious chef-prepared meals served daily in a formal dining room, bistro or café, daily planned activities like exercise classes, games, movies, seasonal fun, on-campus natural areas, and events and excursions like trips to shop, enjoy local culture, and visit parks and other nearby venues. Also wonderful are the onsite services like hair salons and barbershops, therapy services, and 24/7 year-round security, as well as the many friends to meet and spend time with. For a look at what amenities are included in the cost of assisted living our blog, “Amenities Count: Comfort and Convenience in Today’s Senior Living Communities,” is an excellent resource.

All told, the cost of assisted living is often much more manageable than many seniors believe, making it a perfect solution when in-home care becomes a burden for family or finances. Learn more about comparing assisted living with at-home care in our Senior Living Options Guide: A Guide for Understanding Which Level of Care is the Best Fit. Then contact us to schedule a tour of our beautiful neighborhood!

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