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 elder 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 elder care options.
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 an elderly 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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
What other levels of care are offered?
Make sure the community you choose has other levels of care so you don't have to move if you have a major change in health. Understand if you or your loved one may need full health monitoring down the road and ensure you can get the care you need.
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.
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!