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Comparing Costs: At Home vs. Assisted Living vs. Nursing Homes

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When it comes to caring for our loved ones, we naturally want the best. But in the case of senior care, the best often comes with a hefty price tag, and that’s not always possible. So what can different care options provide, and at what price point? Let’s take a look.

Unless otherwise stated, costs reflect the 2017 Michigan state average according to the Genworth Cost of Long Term Care Survey.

At Home Care

Living at home for retirement is a popular and attractive option. After all, you’re already comfortable in your house, you know the community, and it holds many memories. But taking care of a home as you age can be difficult, not to mention medical assistance. Is at-home care a viable option?

Monthly Cost (Homemaker Services): $4,004

Homemaker services help seniors and disabled adults maintain their homes and lifestyles. From cleaning to landscaping to companionship, homemaker services allow seniors living at home to maintain as much independence as they can without needing to move. However, most homemaker services are not able to offer assistance with medical needs, or their ability is limited.

Monthly Cost (Home Health Aide): $4,099

Home health aides offer a range of services to seniors who require care at home. Like homemaker services, home health aides can help with activities of daily living (ADLs) like cleaning, grocery shopping, and meal prep, but they also are trained in care services such as bathing, dressing, and even some basic medical assistance. Some aides may charge more based on tasks performed, so be sure you understand the pricing model while looking for a home health aide.

 

Assisted Living

Assisted living communities offer living and care options for seniors looking to reduce the burden of ADLs during retirement. Depending on the community, seniors can experience catered independent living, to assisted living, to memory care. Living arrangements can be comparable to apartment living, with options for private and shared spaces.

Monthly Cost (Private, One Bedroom): $3,500

A community member’s experience with an assisted living depends heavily upon the community they’re living in. Different communities have different opportunities for living spaces, entertainment, and even care services. Some common services are:

  • Cleaning and maintenance
  • Personal care and hygiene
  • Meal preparation and eating
  • Community-wide activities and entertainment
  • Assistance with medication

Though moving can be an intimidating process, assisted living seeks to provide its community with all the comforts of home, with the convenience of care.

Learn more about what assisted living means with our in-depth resource.

 

Nursing Home

Nursing homes get a bad rap from the media and popular culture. They’re often seen as the worst case scenario for an aging adult, or as a punishment. But they’re not all doom and gloom, and could be the right choice, depending on your loved one’s needs.

Monthly Cost (Private Room): $8,608

Nursing homes are the priciest of senior care options, at more than double the next highest cost (home health aide.) There’s a reason for that, which is also the biggest advantage of a nursing home: around-the-clock skilled nursing care. While the medical atmosphere of some nursing homes can make it unappealing to some seniors and their loved ones, for seniors who require skilled care due to conditions or disabilities, the capabilities of nursing homes can literally save lives.

It’s worth mentioning, however, that you can still receive 24-hour care with the other options; however, they have their limitations. Not all assisted living communities, for instance, offer skilled nursing care around-the-clock, and hiring a home health aide to live with the senior they’re caring for can be extremely expensive.

You can see the full Genworth Cost of Care Survey here, with reports on different states, as well as specific areas within those states.

Cost is a large deciding factor in the care that people seek for their loved ones, but it’s also important to weigh their wants and needs with the cost. If you think an elderly loved one may need to start thinking about assistance or care options, download our free guide: 17 Signs It’s Time to Talk to Your Parent or Loved One About Senior Living.

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