If you're considering assisted living as a retirement option, you may get a little confused by the amount. It's important to look at all the numbers involved in your lifestyle to draw a fair comparison. Note that the numbers below are averages; you may spend twice as much for home health care per week but half as much in transportation. The average cost for home care is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and accounts for professional nursing help.
Traditional home costs
As you reach retirement age your home may no long have a mortgage but it still costs a lot of money. Here is a list of things you're probably paying for when you live in your own home:
- Yard maintenance
- Home maintenance
- Burglar alarm
Let's add typical everyday living expenses:
- Caregiver for four hours a day
- Weekly housekeeping
In the Seattle area, these expenses average $75,000 per year, so let's compare that to the cost and benefits of assisted living:
Assisted living in the Seattle area costs approximately $48,000 per year. Keep in mind some or all of the cost may be covered by your retirement or insurance benefits, and compare the benefits:
- Independent housing
- Caregiver on call 24 hours, seven days a week
- Social activities
- Scheduled transportation
- Emergency aid available 24 hours, seven days a week
- All utilities included (except phone)
- All food (three meals a day)
- Weekly housekeeping
As you can see, the bottom line saves you over $25,000 per year, and your home costs will rise as you need more assistance with everyday living.
There's more to assisted living than a good value though. Once you get past the number crunch you'll see other advantages that will save you time and stress, so you can concentrate on the fun things in life. Assisted living also offers you:
- Cheerful, well trained, friendly staff
- Transportation to worship services, shopping, social activities, and medical appointments
- No home maintenance ever again!
- 24-hour emergency staff
- Decrease or eliminate your need to drive
- A secure environment with friendly neighbors
- Increased social interaction
- No more housekeeping!
- Prepared nutritious meals
- Beautiful grounds
- Onsite fitness options
- Community meals
- No more hauling groceries!
- Write one check a month instead of ten
As you see, there's more to look forward to in life than worrying about cleaning gutters and chasing dust bunnies. Once you make the move to assisted living you'll begin to see why they call them the Golden years!