When someone you love needs long-term care, you want to do everything you can to make sure they receive exceptional attention in a caring and comfortable environment. Deciding between at-home care and care in a senior living community can be a tough decision, especially when it seems like the cost of senior living is greater. However, when you do a fair comparison, you might be surprised at the results.
What is long-term care?
Long-term care is most often needed as a person ages, becomes frailer or when an illness progresses. A person may receive long-term care in a variety of settings, including in the home or at a senior living community. The chief component of long-term care is usually assistance with activities of daily living, such as grooming, bathing, eating, medication management and more.
What is the cost of long-term care?
When it comes to the cost of senior living, or the cost of receiving care at home, many families often are not prepared for what is involved in long-term care. In fact, four out of five adults underestimate the costs of home healthcare, with the average American underestimating the cost by almost 50 percent according to the Genworth Long Term Care/Caregiving Online Survey. This is probably due to the fact that providing this level of care involves more than most people may realize.
For example, a person receiving long-term care needs 24-hour assistance with:
- Eating and drinking
- Using the toilet
- Transferring (moving from one position to another, such as from a chair to a bed)
And that’s just the beginning. At first glance, the cost of senior living may seem high, but remember, caring for someone at home also means housekeeping. Keeping the pantry stocked and preparing meals. Driving a loved one to physician’s appointments. Monitoring medications. Paying bills. Handling household repairs and supervising maintenance. Coordinating visits with family members. Being on call 24 hours a day for emergencies.
Often, a family member is doing all this while also working full-time, taking care of a family and handling other responsibilities. It can take quite an emotional and physical toll on a person. And for those who elect to bring in assistance, the costs of home care continue.
Over the past 15 years, the cost of long-term care services has steadily risen across the United States, according to the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey.
Average monthly cost of at-home long-term care:
- Homemaker services: Help with household tasks that cannot be managed alone: $4,957
- Home health aide services: “Hands-on” personal care but not medical care: $5,148
- Adult day health care: Social and support services in a community-based, protective setting: $1,690
Download our Financial Planning for Retirement Living Guide.
Long-term care and the cost of senior living
Today’s senior living communities often offer long-term care in a variety of settings:
Assisted living provides housing, onsite care and support with activities of daily living while helping residents maintain their independence and enjoy a purposeful life. Personalized care includes assistance with bathing, dressing, eating and medication as well as onsite medical care. Features include 24-hour supervision, transportation, access to exceptional amenities, housekeeping and other services, and more. (Some assisted living settings also include designated neighborhoods offering memory care.)
Average monthly cost—private, one-bedroom: $4,500
Skilled nursing offers 24-hour supervised care, a licensed physician or nurse on site, as well as physical, speech and occupational therapists. Features include health monitoring and medication management, exercise programs, social opportunities and activities, housekeeping, laundry service, three daily meals, and more. This level of care is best suited for those with chronic health conditions or incontinence, who require dispensing and monitoring intravenous medications and/or who are recovering after a surgery or hospitalization.
Average monthly cost—semi-private room: $7,908; private room: $9,034
The cost of senior living is just one factor. An older adult receiving long-term care in a senior living community is benefitting from an environment designed for maximum safety and comfort.
Staff are available 24/7 and personalized medical attention is onsite when needed. Family members have the reassurance that their loved one will have access to exceptional wellness programs, nutrition, therapeutic activities and opportunities for healthy socialization—all key to a higher quality of life and all reasons why when looking at the cost of at-home care, versus the cost of senior living, it’s wise to make a decision based on all the information.
Senior living, the LSS Senior Living way
At LSS Senior Living, our goal is to offer seniors quality care and comfort in a friendly and warm environment that feels like home. We offer a continuum of services to lend a helping hand when you need them. Find out more about our communities: