Many seniors have lived in their homes for such a long time that they find it hard to imagine going anywhere else. Still others have worked for years, raised a family, cared for others, and dreamed of spending their retirement in a community where they have no daily worries and will enjoy seamless access to future care options. There are many factors to consider when choosing where you want to be. Perhaps most important is the cost of senior living—whether that’s at home, or in a senior living community.
But just as important is making an apples-to-apples comparison. And that requires factoring in the total costs of living at home.
More than a mortgage: The real cost of senior living at home.
It’s easy to think this is the most economical solution, especially if you no longer have a mortgage. But don’t forget all the possible expenses you might face.
Taking care of a home can involve:
- Exterior and interior maintenance: replacing the roof, clearing out gutters, cleaning the garage, painting walls, updating flooring and cabinetry, repairing or replacing kitchen appliances, washing machine and dryer, and so on.
- Services: fertilizing and mowing the lawn, installing and monitoring a security system, conducting annual checks of heating and air, hot water heater, plumbing, and more.
- Conveniences: buying gas for an auto, as well as insurance and maintenance costs, delivery charges for groceries, employing a housekeeper or cook. Homemaker services alone: $4,004 a month according to a 2018 Genworth survey.
- Extras. This can be all kinds of things, such as a membership to a gym, entertainment, which could involve driving to a museum, theater, or special event. Much more.
- Taxes, Utilities, HOA fees, Homeowner’s Insurance. Important to add to the list as these costs seem to rise every year.
- Personal assistance. If you choose to receive care in your home, you’ll have to pay for it. Home health aide services—personal care, but not medical care—has been estimated at $4,195 a month.
In addition, consider safety and comfort in the cost of senior living at home. As the years go by, some things just become more difficult or inconvenient, and can even become dangerous. Such as driving at night to see a show. Getting out in bad weather to try to visit a gym or walk around the block. Perching on a rickety ladder to change a lightbulb. Paying overtime for a plumber to come out on a holiday or weekend evening when the hot water heater gives out. Running out of groceries and realizing you’re too tired to get to the grocery.
It adds up. Not only in what you pay to maintain the kind of lifestyle you’d enjoy, but also in the stress of having to think of it all. If you’re like a lot of older adults, you’re tired of making lists!
What comes with it: The cost of senior living in a senior living community.
If you only look at the monthly service fee for one of today’s modern senior living communities, you might first have a bit of a sticker shock. But like anything that represents a major purchase or change, it’s vital to consider the value it offers.
Consider what is covered in your monthly service fee:
- Home maintenance and repairs
- Lawn care and yard maintenance
- Utilities (electricity, gas, water, trash removal)
- 24-hour security
- Transportation (insurance, gas, registration, repairs)
- Social and entertainment
- Exercise and wellness
- 24-hour emergency alert system
Plus, you do not have to pay any more property tax or homeowner’s insurance. And maybe even better are the other things you no longer have to do: plan and prepare meals (unless you choose to), wash the dishes, clean your house, mow the lawn, fix the leaky sink, crawl through an attic, clear out gutters, drive at night to do anything fun, miss out on exercising because you can’t get to the gym, and worry at 2 a.m. because the electricity went out and you can’t reach anyone.
Now that’s a list to consider when you are considering the cost of senior living!
In addition, senior living offers you a carefree lifestyle.
Even if your comparison on the cost of senior living shows you might pay more in a senior living community, remember quality of life. More opportunities to make friends and socialize. Excellent dining options where you don’t have to lift a finger. A professional staff ready eager to help make your days a breeze. Dynamic fitness and wellness programs that can inspire and motivate. Peace of mind knowing assistance is available 24/7 so you don’t have to call upon a neighbor, family member or friend. Plus, the confidence of knowing you have a plan that includes seamless access to future care options.
Priceless advantages—they could be worth a great deal to you.
At St. Mark Village, we are ready to welcome you! Contact us or call 727-464-1750 today to connect with our friendly and knowledgeable counselors and learn why so many are proud to call St. Mark Village home.
Learn more about budgeting for senior living: download our Financial Planning for Retirement Living Guide – Everything You Need to Know About the Costs of Senior Living.