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Cost of Home Care Higher Than Senior Living

Apr 1, 2017

It's well known that the vast majority of adults say they would rather age in their own home than a senior living community, but the cost of doing so may be higher than most think.

That's because many don't factor in basic housing costs, such as taxes, home maintenance, mortgage payments and more, according to an analysis by Jerry Doctrow, writer of Robust Retirement and former industry analyst.

When comparing the cost of living at home versus living in seniors housing, home care services are often compared to monthly rates at senior housing communities. This "apple-to-apples" comparison doesn't provide a comprehensive look at all expenses, however.

For example, here are the average costs of care levels at senior housing communities, according to data from the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing & Care (NIC):

Independent living – $3,076 per month
Assisted living – $4,722 per month
Memory care – $6,082 per month

Aging in place at home with some home care services, by comparison, is estimated to cost $2,400, according to data from A Place for Mom, Doctrow cited. However, this figure does not include mortgage expenses; it assumes a person aging at home has already paid off their mortgage or doesn't have this expense.

This calculation "ignores the value of the house in which a senior is living and ignores the cost of caregiving and the socialization benefits that a senior would receive if she were living in a seniors housing facility," Doctrow wrote.

The added costs of paying for a home or condominium, along with living costs, brings the monthly cost of aging in one's own home much closer to that of living in a senior living community. With home care services added, the costs climb even higher.

"As soon as any degree of paid home health care is provided, the cost advantages of living at home disappear," Doctrow wrote.

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