The Cost of In-Home Care Vs. Senior Housing


When it comes to senior care, financial considerations are important and weigh heavily on the minds of seniors and family members seeking care. While every person’s financial situation is unique and personal, we can do a general cost comparison to determine if in-home care or senior living is more affordable. The results may surprise you.

Cost of In-Home Care

At first glance, it may seem like staying in the home is the cheaper option. After all, you already have everything you need there, right? However, as seniors age and needs progress, hiring in-home care often becomes inevitable. The average cost of in-home care in the United States is $19/hour, dependent on the job description and increasing as care needs increase. To hire an in-home caregiver for 8 hours per day for 30 days, it will cost $4,560 per month. This cost is for care alone and does not include any mortgage or rent, meal preparation, activity planning, or any of the amenities that come with senior living communities.

To avoid the astronomical cost of professional caregiving, many family members will become full-time caregivers. However, family caregiving can be wrought with hidden costs. A study done by Metlife on the cost of family caregiving found that for women caregivers, the total individual amount of lost wages due to leaving the labor force early because of caregiving responsibilities was $142,693. For men, the total individual amount of lost wages due to caregiving responsibilities was $89,107. Additionally, with age comes more medical care and the need to hire a medically trained professional to manage these tasks.

To determine the true cost of staying in your home, walk through your monthly budget and create a list of current expenses. These expenses should include:

  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Groceries
  • Entertainment
  • Home insurance costs
  • Home care costs (i.e. air filters, light bulbs, normal home maintenance)
  • Medical care costs (cost of caregiver to come into home)
  • Emergency budget for immediate home repairs (ie snow removal, flood damage, and other miscellaneous items)

Adding up your monthly budget can give you more insight into the cost of staying in your home and help you understand the financial cost of senior care in both your home and in a community.

Cost of Assisted Living

The average cost of assisted living in the United States is $3,500. This rate is generally all-inclusive meaning that it includes rent, groceries, entertainment, care costs, and it also eliminates the need for emergency repair costs – all of the line items not included when it comes to in-home care. When compared to assisted living communities, in-home care is generally more the expensive option.

In addition to including everyday home care and monthly budget items, assisted living communities offer around-the-clock care services, giving families priceless peace of mind, knowing their loved one is being cared for 24/7. Assisted living and senior living communities can also provide freedom for family caregivers to develop personal relationships with loved ones, in a role other than a medical caregiver. And, senior living communities feature robust activity and social calendars for residents to make friends and build a community where they live.

The decision will look different for everyone. What makes sense for your family may not make sense for another. Explore your options thoroughly, knowing senior living may be more affordable than you think. If you’d like to explore senior living options for yourself or a loved one, give us a call. We would love the opportunity to walk you through what life in senior living really looks like and then show you how we can work with your budget to find a community that fits your needs in every way.

About the author

Alissa has been working in marketing and the senior living industry for over 7 years. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a B.S. in advertising and has worked all over the world as a freelance communications strategist and writer. Currently living in Okinawa, Japan, Alissa loves to travel, read, cook, and spend time with her two children and golden retriever.

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