Comparing the Costs of Senior Living

Explaining the Costs of Senior Living

There is no set price for any particular type of senior living or care options. Instead, what you pay will depend on a number of variables: are you looking for Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Home Care? Does your loved one have a cognitive disorder like Alzheimer’s or dementia, and need to be in a secured Memory Care unit? Do they have a skilled need, like a feeding tube or IV therapy, and are required to stay at a nursing home with medical staff? In addition, the area where you live also plays a role in determining costs. If you are looking for a community in a large city or urban area, you can expect to pay more than 15% more than someone in a rural or sparsely populated area.

Weighing the price estimates of each type of care will give you a head start in figuring out what the best option for you would be.

The following pricing information consists of the median rates for a variety of care options, according to the 2020 Genworth’s Cost of Care survey for the Southern California area. National rates vary depending on city and state.

Comparing the Costs of Senior Living

Independent Living Costs: $1,700-$3,500

Independent Living is a great option for seniors who need minimal or no assistance with activities of daily living, yet want to eliminate having to worry about certain aspects of residing in their own homes, like keeping up with repairs, utility bills, household chores and meal preparation. Seniors who enjoy making social connections, having planned activities, and having access to help with meals, light housekeeping, laundry and scheduled transportation to doctor’s appointments. Shared rooms and private studios are typically available, and some communities have one or two bedroom apartments.

Assisted Living Costs: $3,500-$5,500 per month (base rent plus care)

Assisted Living is designed for seniors who have discovered that they are having struggles with certain activities of daily living, such as cooking, household tasks, and getting dressed. Meals and light housekeeping are generally included in the “base rent”, and care charges are an additional cost, ranging from about $300-$1500 depending on assessment. Services included in care charges range from medication management to escorting and bathing, dressing and grooming assistance. Both shared rooms and private rooms are available and can cause the average rate to increase or decrease depending on room choice. Assisted Living communities typically feature attractive amenities such as outings, field trips, onsite activities, movie nights, lectures and restaurant-style dining.

Board and Care Home Costs: $4,500-$6,500

A Board and Care Home, also known as a Residential Care Home, is a house in a residential neighborhood that has been converted into a facility that provides supportive care for seniors who are safer being in a small group living environment. The majority of Board and Care Homes for seniors have 6 residents or fewer, although some can accommodate up to 20 residents. In most states, like California, these homes are licensed by the state, and licensing requirements include regular visits and inspections by state authorities (Licensing requirements do vary state by state). Residents live in shared or private bedrooms rather than studios or apartments. There is a smaller caregiver-to-resident ratio than at an Assisted Living community, so seniors receive more care with activities of daily living like transfer assistance, bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting. The level of activities, outings and amenities at an Assisted Living Community are not provided at a Board and Care Home, although many homes do offer activities like group music sessions or arts and crafts. Some homes also offer 24-hour “awake staff” for residents who are in need of around-the-clock care

Memory Care Costs: $4,500-$10,000

Memory Care is a type of senior care with a specialized focus devoted to individuals who have been diagnosed with memory impairment disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. A Memory Care Community closely resembles an Assisted Living Community, in that it offers seniors help with their activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing, toileting, and medication management, but there are safety and security measures in place specific to folks who have cognitive impairments, such as secured wings, obscured exits, door alarms, keypad-coded elevators, tracking bracelets and enclosed outdoor areas. The staff at Memory Care Communities are specifically trained to provide supportive and well informed one-on-one care to those with memory impairment, as well as those who have difficult behaviors like aggression, combativeness and wandering. Often, Memory Care Communities will have a nurse on staff who can assist with skilled care, like injections.

Home Care Costs: $32.00-$38.00 per hour

Home Care, also known as In-Home Care, is a term that encompasses a range of services for seniors who are aging in place in their own homes or the home of a family member, as opposed to receiving care at an Assisted Living Community or Board and Care Home. Home Care provides supportive, non-medical assistance for seniors who can no longer perform the activities of daily living on their own. Home Care Aides, known more commonly as Caregivers, are trained to help in tasks such as help with activities of daily living, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands, transportation to doctor’s appointments, and companionship. They are not licensed to provide nursing care such as wound care, administering injections, or physical therapy. Keep in mind as well that for 24-hour care, staffing will consist of two caregivers working 12-hour shifts each, and overtime charges (time-and-a-half) apply after 9 hours of each shift.

Nursing Home Costs: $350.00-$450.00 daily ($10,500-$13,500 monthly)

Nursing Homes are skilled medical facilities where patients with a high level of care receive treatment from qualified, licensed professionals. Doctors and nurses will be on staff to provide supervision and attention to medical needs. Patients will also receive routine help with their activities of daily living. Many patients at a nursing home will be there short term, to receive doctor-ordered rehabilitation therapy after a hospital stay. Since nursing homes provide 24/7 medical care as well as “custodial care” (meals and help with activities of daily living) they are more costly than Assisted Living or Board and Care Homes.

In Conclusion:

It can be an overwhelming and frustrating experience to decide what kind of senior living option you or your loved ones should choose that will fit within your budget. Our Senior Care Advisors will gather information about your care needs, financial means, geographic preferences and other concerns, and help you make a decision that will take some of the burden off your shoulders and guide you to a safe and satisfactory outcome. Contact us for a free consultation.


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