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Assisted Living Or In-Home Care? Comparing Costs

Posted by Robyn Huetter on Mar 6, 2019 5:08:00 AM

Comparing Costs in West Seattle

Deciding when to move from one’s own home into a community living arrangement can be difficult. For most people, cost is a significant factor in choosing a retirement community. In fact, the cost of senior care is significant, which is why it is important to make sure that you gather as much information as possible about the pros and cons of the various senior care options.

Assisted Living Or In-Home Care? Comparing Costs in West Seattle

Skip to Frequently Asked Questions

Choosing the Right Senior Care

Most families are more than happy to help their parents age in place, and the majority of home assistance is provided by one or more family members. When a senior loved one shows signs of needing more help than family can provide, the first option many people think of is in-home care. And, in-home care might be the best choice if your loved one needs minimal assistance and is still fully engaged in his or her neighborhood. However, if mobility, isolation or safety issues are among your concerns, assisted living might be the better option, not only from a financial perspective, but for a better quality of life.

Cost of Assisted Living

The cost of assisted living varies according to individual needs, but assisted living communities such as Daystar Retirement Village typically charge a monthly fee that is inclusive of most or all meals, housekeeping services, laundry and some utilities. If residents need additional assistance such as monitoring medications or showering, those services can be added. There are also different levels of care, so if a resident needs more help in a few years they are moved to a different level of care at a different cost base.

View Pricing for Assisted Living Senior Apartments Available Today

Cost of In-home Care

Scheduling in-home care might seem to be the most cost-effective arrangement, but it all depends on how much in-home care is needed. In the Seattle area, the average cost of in-home care is $31.95 per hour. If you need in-home care for four hours each day, Monday through Friday, that works out to $640 a week or about $2,500 per month. If isolation is a problem, or if your loved one needs help with meals or other daily activities, the hours of in-home care—and the costs—can quickly climb to twice that amount. It's also important to note there is a difference between home health care and homemaking services: your senior's home care aide will focus on health; regular housekeeping duties are separate and will increase your total in-home care costs. Note these costs are added to your senior's normal household expenses, so when comparing home care to assisted living you should take this into account.

What will it cost? Download Cost Comparison Worksheet

You may have other specific questions related to paying for retirement living. Below are frequently asked questions related to the cost of in home care versus assisted living.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does in home health care cost?

The average monthly cost of home health care in the Seattle area in 2018 was $6,092, based on a 44 hour work week. That means if you only need help 22 hours a week your monthly bill will be around $3,046.

How much does in home homemaking care cost on average?

Homemaking is different and separate from health care; if you need help with cleaning or cooking the cost will be approximately the same. That means if you need both helpers full time you'll be paying an average of $12,184 per month.

What does assisted living cost per month on average?

Although the cost will vary by community and level of care the average assisted living community in Seattle in 2018 cost $5,750 in 2018.

Are assisted living costs tax deductible?  

The medical expense portion of your assisted living may be deductible if it is more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income but you must be considered chronically ill to qualify. Most assisted living facilities prepare care plans for their residents that will outline whether the care qualifies for a tax deduction.

Does Medicare cover assisted living costs?  

Although Medicare does not cover living costs it may cover certain health care costs that are included in your care.

What is included in assisted living?

This is an important question when comparing communities because some are more inclusive than others. Look for a campus that includes weekly and daily housekeeping, laundry, meals, utilities, and transportation as well as a wide variety of social activities.

Are there fees for additional services?

Some communities may charge extra for utilities, transportation, and similar services. It's a good idea to make or download a spreadsheet so you can compare covered services and costs for extras. You can get started with our Cost Comparison Worksheet, where you’ll see that most additional services are already included in your monthly rent.

Cost Comparison Calculator

To get a more accurate estimate of the cost of care that you actually need, download the Cost Comparison Calculator.  If a loved one truly needs 24-hour care in home or in assisted living, the worksheet can help you determine what level of care, supervision or monitoring is required at what times, and approximately how much it will cost.


What will it cost? Download Cost Comparison Worksheet


While simple supervision costs less than personal care which costs less than nursing care, the logistics of hiring different people to provide different levels of care can be time-consuming and complicated. Simplify your life and provide better care for your loved one. At an assisted living facility such as Daystar, your loved one has a multitude of activities, programs and outings to choose from every week and peers to share them with—along with customized plans of care based on his or her needs. Learn more about assisted living at Daystar.



How to Decide What Kind of Senior Care is Best for You

It's a good idea to tour several assisted living communities even if you plan on using in home care right now. This will allow you to make comparisons without feeling rushed to move and will help you make long term plans for the future if home care is not working well.

When you tour a campus it's good to keep in mind they are showing off the best features, so have a plan in place before you begin. Don't visit more than one or two communities a day, and don't be shy about returning to see an area you missed the first time. Be prepared before you visit; know what questions to ask, download and print a comparison chart so you can check off items at each community and get a clear and detailed understanding to help you make your decision or future plans.By becoming proactive in your long term care plan you can relieve the stress and uncertainty of your future care, and truly enjoy your golden years!


West Seattle Assisted Living Is Affordable Alternative To In-Home Care

sami consentrationDid you know that the annual cost of hiring a homemaker aide to help your aging parent complete daily tasks is nearly the same as the cost of living in an assisted living facility where meals, housekeeping laundry and some utilities are included?

Not only that, but most assisted living facilities offer a full range of social, educational and fitness opportunities. Daystar Retirement Village offers literally dozens of activities for residents to choose from each week.

According to Genworth Financial, the median cost of hiring a licensed homemaker aide in Washington state for 44 hours per week would be $49,192. If your loved one requires “hands-on” care, a licensed home health aide for the same hours would cost slightly more, at $51,366.

Hiring an in-home aide for 44 hours each week still leaves 164 hours of the week to account for. In some areas, adult day centers offer seniors a safe, stimulating place to stay, and their caregivers a much-needed respite. The median cost of adult day care in Washington state is about $17,563 annually for five days a week.

Families trying to cobble together their own caregiving for an aging parent with in-home care, adult day care and other adult services realize that the costs—financial and emotional, add up quickly.

When an aging parent requires skilled nursing care, the main options are in-home one-to-one care, or placement in a skilled nursing facility. Because of the level of skilled nursing provided in these facilities, the cost is significant. The median cost for a shared room in a skilled nursing facility in Washington state is $88,633 annually. A private room would cost $95,995 per year.

Assisted-living facilities such as Daystar Retirement Village are not substitutes for skilled nursing facilities. Assisted living facilities are not equipped to provide the same level of care as a skilled nursing facility. However, assisted living facilities are equipped to provide your loved one with a social, safe and stimulating living environment with a caring environment and compassionate staff.


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Figuring Out the Cost Of Assisted Living In West Seattle

Daystar_4-thumbPeople often say that the cost of in-home care is far less than assisted living, but that depends entirely on how many hours of care, or companionship, your loved one needs.

Typically when people do a cost comparison, they look at the monthly cost of assisted living versus the cost of 10 to 20 hours per week of in-home care. For a more accurate comparison of costs, you should really be looking at all of the costs associated with living in your existing home, plus the cost of in-home care. For instance, those costs would include monthly rent or mortgage payment, if there is one, groceries, homeowner fees, housekeeping services, yard maintenance, home repairs, a home security system if you have one, gym fees, class fees and other miscellaneous costs. Typically all of those services, and a lot more, are included in the monthly rental fee at assisted living.

What will it cost? Download Cost Comparison Worksheet

Once you have a list of four or five Assisted Living Facilities to visit,  Download the Checklist to take with you to each facility. If you fill out the forms as you go, it’ll help you remember the differences between facilities and what you liked or didn’t like about each place.

20190117_175415-1-1When you visit, bring a trusted friend or family member with you, if possible. It’s usually helpful to have someone to talk things over with. Along with the checklist mentioned above, write down any other questions you might have. Now is the time to ask as many questions as  you can think of. First impressions are important, but so is checking back at an unscheduled time on the weekend or early evening. You want to find the facility where you think your loved one will be best able to settle in, feel safe and cared for, and engage in an active and supportive community.

At any point in your decision-making process we’d be happy to talk with you about life at Daystar Retirement Community. Our residents are the experts on why moving to Daystar is a smart move.



Making Assisted Living Affordable For Seniors In West Seattle

From time to time we hear from people who say, “I think assisted living would be perfect (for themselves or a family member), but there’s no way we could afford it.”

Don’t let vague notions of affordability stop you from talking with a financial planner or senior care expert who can explain the various funding options available.

Affording Assisted Living in Seattle

The truth is that many people who don’t think they can afford assisted living actually can afford it. Once you’ve explored what assisted living facilities such as Daystar have to offer, and talked with a financial planner, you might decide you can’t afford not to make a move. 

We are biased because we see seniors thriving at Daystar Retirement Village and know their quality of life is far superior to what it would be if they were isolated in their own homes. 

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Average Monthly Cost of Assisted Living

In the state of Washington, the average monthly cost of an assisted living facility is about $4,500, with significant differences depending on the level of assistance required, according to a survey by SeniorHomes.com.

Paying For Assisted Living

We suggest that prospective residents talk with the experts at Elderlife Financial Services. Elderlife is the national leader in helping families access quality senior living services.

The experts at Elderlife can talk with you about lines of credit, especially as a bridge loan while waiting for a house to sell or other benefits to arrive, reverse mortgages, home equity loans, life insurance settlements and long-term care insurance.

Although you’ll probably want to talk with an Elderlife financial specialist, their website is a great starting point to learn more about both private and public options for funding senior living.

At Daystar Retirement Village we understand that moving to an assisted living facility is a significant financial commitment, but we believe the benefits—safety, peace of mind, and enhanced quality of life—are truly priceless.

If you are one of those people who would like to explore assisted living but don’t think you can afford it, think again, and then give us a call at Daystar. We’d love to give you a tour and let you see what we have to offer. 


Learn More About Assisted Living


Paying For Assisted Living In West Seattle if the House Hasn’t Sold

 For many seniors considering a move to assisted living, the question of how to pay for it all looms large.

Use-caution-when-hiring-an-in-home-health-care-aideAlthough there are a variety of funding sources that might provide some help, including VA benefits and long-term care insurance, for most people, the cost of assisted living is privately funded. Private funds can come from personal investment portfolios, like 401k plans or Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA).

How Much Will You Need for Assisted Living?

Although it’s impossible to say for sure how much you or your loved one will need for assisted living, the AARP has created an online calculator to give you a very rough idea of what to expect, depending on how many years you need care. (Actuarial tables might help you predict life expectancy, but family history is likely a better guide.)

Selling Your Home to Pay for Assisted Living

Many seniors put their house up for sale in anticipation of a move into assisted living, intending to use the equity they’ve built up over the years to fund this new chapter in their lives. If the window for making a move is fairly wide, it might make sense to wait until the house sells before making the move, since the seller can wait for the right buyer while ensuring that the home is well cared for and maintains its value while on the market.

If this is your plan, check with the assisted living facility where you would like to live. If the facility has frequent openings, it should be easy to plan for a seamless transition once your home sells.

But, if the facility tends to have limited availability, you might want to consider other options, such as moving to assisted living first and then selling or renting your home. Another reason to move first and sell later is if a health concern or crisis makes moving a high priority.

Residents who decide to move first have a couple options to pay for assisted living.

At Daystar Retirement Village, we often recommend that prospective residents and their families talk with a financial planner at Elderlife Financial Services.

While it can seem overwhelming at first, experts at Elderlife can explain a variety of tools that can bridge the funding gap while waiting for a home to sell, including lines of credit, home equity lines of credit and reserve mortgages, which is borrowing against the value of your home.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has a good analysis of reverse mortgages.

Other good resources for information about paying for assisted living include:

Seniorhomes.com, ALFA.com (Assisted Living Federation of America), Caring.com.

View Pricing for Assisted Living Senior Apartments Available Today


Tags: Senior Living 101

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