It is not uncommon for families to begin their search for senior housing, only to be flustered by the seemingly insurmountable costs of care and the multitude of options available. On average, an assisted living facility costs between $2,714-$3,500 per month, according to the 2007 Genworth “Cost of Care Research” study. Conversely, when adding up the costs of living at home, coupled with potential home health costs, families need to use real-time figures to make an honest comparison. The following items should be part of your budget outline:
- Monthly mortgage or rent.
- Property tax.
- Property insurance.
- 24-hour security services.
- Three balanced meals a day, plus snacks.
- Housekeeping services.
- Daily health aide visitations.
- Personal care.
- 24-hour emergency call system.
- Landscaping/snow removal.
- Home maintenance.
- Trash removal.
- Social and entertainment.
Now, compare that cost to the all-inclusive assisted living cost rang, and you’ll likely notice that the staying-home option is either the same, or more expensive, with a lot less security and peace of mind.
The last category mentioned in the budget outline, social entertainment, is often one that seniors and/or families forget to include, yet it is a crucial component to realizing a better quality of life. Families will cut back on entertainment and social expenses to conserve funds, yet one of the contributing factors of senior depression is a lack of socialization – losing connections and friendships as they age, seniors become isolated. When adding up the monetary costs, most families realize they are saving money, providing a safer, more secure environment for their loved one, and above all giving them a higher quality of life than they would experience if they stayed at home. For most, that realization is priceless.
Even if you are just beginning the search into local senior care and housing options, ask questions about each facility and what they include in their price. Compare them to other facilities, and with a real financial snapshot of what it costs to stay at home, you’ll be able to make a solid decision when the time comes.
Lisa Baker is the Administrator of Spring Hill Assisted Living in Neosho, Mo. She has 22 years experience in long-term care, and has been a licensed nurse since 1993 covering Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Baker is also a Licensed Nursing Home Administrator for the state of Missouri.