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Compare the Costs of In-Home Care with Assisted Living

Posted by Tom Laborde
Date:

Aegis Living bistro residents

As you research care options for a parent who can no longer live on their own, there are many factors to evaluate to make the best decision for your family.  We know that your choice cannot be based simply on economics, but we understand that the cost is an important factor that needs to be considered.  Does assisted living cost more or less than in-home care?  We can provide you with some guidelines to help you compare the costs and educate yourself as a consumer.

Evaluating the cost of an assisted living community or memory care community is straightforward once you have toured a community.  The community will assess your parent’s needs and provide your family with a breakdown of the costs and what that includes.  But to make an “apples-to-apples” comparison with in-home care will take a little more work on your part.  You will need to assess all the costs for your parent to live at home.  In-home care services charge on an hourly basis, but it does not include living expenses such as rent or mortgage, property taxes, insurance, home maintenance, utilities, and food. These at-home living expenses should be part of your evaluation for a precise comparison.

The average monthly cost for an assisted living community in California is $4,275 per month and $4,660 per month in Washington, according to Genworth.   If your parent needs additional services due to memory loss, a memory care community ranges between $5,500-9,500 per month. But if your parent needs around-the-clock care, an assisted living or memory care community will cost much less than a comparable 24-hour, live-in home health aide.

When considering in-home care, you need to assess the number of hours of assistance your parent will need.  A home health aide costs between $23 and $35 per hour.   If you are working full time and need someone to stay with your parent 40 hours per week, then it will cost approximately $3,220-4,900 per month; this does not include the additional at-home living expenses. Also, you will need to consider any modifications to the home (ramp, handrail, grab bars, chair lift, and bathroom fixtures) for safety and comfort.  As their caregiver, you would handle their care between scheduled hours, manage the schedules of your in-home care staff, and cover if help is not available or during holidays.  And you need to prepare for increased hours if their needs change or health declines.

As you evaluate your options, weigh the intangible benefits and amenities that come with living in an assisted living community:

  • Companionship and social interaction
  • Access to transportation, especially for medical appointments
  • Chef-prepared meals and nutritional programs for seniors
  • 24-hour security
  • Around-the-clock care staff
  • Medication monitoring
  • Housekeeping and laundry services
  • Entertainment and amenities, such as a movie theater or pool
  • Exercise and fitness programs
  • Activities and outings
  • Private or shared apartment

The additional benefit to consider when moving your parent into an assisted living or memory care community is your peace of mind.  You can relax knowing they are well cared for when you are not there—no middle of the night phone calls from your parent or worry they are not taking their medication on time.  And best of all, you will be able to work on your relationship as parent/child with less focus as their caregiver. This can be a beneficial move for their health and help lower your stress.

If you have questions about comparisons between assisted living care and in-home care contact your nearest Aegis Living community.