Is Aging in Place More ExpensiveConsidering aging in place? You’re not alone. According to a survey by AARP, 87 percent of seniors hope to stay in their own homes as they age. 

    So long as it suits you, spending your retirement in your home is likely ideal. However, after spending many years saving up retirement funds, you probably want to know which option is more economical.

    As you review your finances and consider your options, you’ve probably noticed that the cost of care is rising. But here’s a bit of good news for those looking to age in place: The cost of at-home care has not risen by the same degree as has the care provided in a facility, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

    To help you determine the best route for your lifestyle, budget and future needs, we break down the costs of aging in place versus retirement facilities.

    Costs of Senior Care Facilities

    The two main categories of senior care facilities are assisted living homes and skilled nursing facilities. Because each offers a different level of care, there’s a considerable difference in cost. Most facilities allow you to pay for care annually or monthly, and these costs cover various levels of care as well as on-site activities and amenities.

    Assisted living homes have staff available 24 hours a day to help residents with day-to-day tasks they may not be able to manage on their own, like getting dressed or doing basic housekeeping. Some of these facilities specialize in caring for those with memory issues.

    Skilled nursing home care is more comprehensive and offers 24-hour attention from licensed healthcare professionals.

    Seniors who have invested in long-term care insurance can expect coverage for some of these costs, but it is important to note that Medicare coverage for senior care facilities is limited to short-term rehabilitation stays in skilled nursing.

    The Cost of Aging in Place

    While aging in place can be more economical, it depends on the services you need as well as additional expenses required to future-proof your home. Here are a few of the costs you’ll need to work into your budget for long-term care:

    • Home Modifications
      You will need to make a few changes to your home to ensure it is a safe and comfortable space. These updates may include grab bars, walk-in bathtubs, slip-proof flooring and stair lifts. As your mobility needs change, additions can be installed over time so you can spread the expenses over many months or years. You also may be eligible for government programs to help offset some of these costs.
    • In-Home Health Care
      A growing number of options exists for seniors who seek many of the services offered in care facilities, but prefer to stay in their own homes. Unlike moving to a facility, staying at home allows you to pick and choose only the offerings you need, or you can opt for part-time care.
    • Transportation
      If you cannot drive yourself, you may need to pay for transportation services. But if you live close to public transportation or rideshare services, these costs may not be significant. You also may be able to share rides with friends or family.

    Depending on the level of care you require, aging in place can be more economical than moving to a facility. Many factors play into this decision. As you evaluate your opportunities, it’s important to get input from professionals. Most importantly, don’t wait to begin planning for your future. There’s no time like the present to begin making decisions so you can enjoy retirement to its fullest.

    Considering aging in place, but not sure where to start? Sign up for one of our free discovery seminars and learn what you need to retire at home successfully.


    (Originally published March 9, 2016; last updated Jan. 12, 2019.)

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