There are a number of elements to consider as you help your parents navigate their options for senior living. In order to make a true comparison between staying at home and moving into assisted living you will have to delve deep into your parents’ monthly living expenses. You need to get a true understanding of what it costs your parents to stay home each month so you can appropriately compare it to the costs of a senior living community.
Costs associated with your parents staying at home
If your parents still owe money on their home then part of the expense of keeping them there will be the mortgage. If they have a paid-off house then that can relieve a large chunk of the financial cost associated with your parents staying at home. But, it is important to understand that there are many other ongoing costs your parents will have to pay even with a paid-off house. Two important costs your parents will continue to have are homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. Both of those expenses are necessary for your parents to keep their home. Utilities such as electricity, gas, water, phone and cable have to be paid each month and can vary based on factors outside of your parent’s control. Regular home maintenance costs such as lawn care and cleaning services should be factored into your parent’s budget. Larger infrequent repairs such as replacing a roof or fixing an air conditioning unit are more difficult to predict but will inevitably come up over time. There are a number of other miscellaneous costs your parents need to consider when staying home including food, transportation, home security, and entertainment.
Costs associated with your parents moving into a senior living community
The specific cost per month of staying in a senior living community can vary based on a wide variety of factors. But, you can use averages for your area to get a general understanding of what to expect. In California, the average cost of assisted living per month is $4,500.00. At first glance, that number may seem completely out of reach for your parents. But, before you give up on the idea of a senior living community you need to consider what is included in that price. The monthly cost of senior living includes the space as well as utilities like electricity, gas, water, security and cable. In addition, all maintenance is taken care of so your parents will not have any recurring or unexpected repair costs like they would at home. Property taxes and homeowners insurance are two other expenses that your parents will not have to worry about if they choose to sell their home and move into a senior living community. Regularly scheduled transportation and a variety of meal plan options are also part of the package your parents will have in a senior living community.
How can I compare the costs of my parents staying home versus moving into a senior living community?
There are a number of resources available to help you compare the numbers in your parent’s specific situation. One excellent resource available through Eskaton is the Assisted Living Cost Comparison Guide. This guide will help you compare the numbers side by side and gain a better understanding of what your parents can afford.
There are some elements of moving into a senior living community that are difficult to put a price on. Your parents will have an enhanced lifestyle in assisted living because of the programs, technologies and peace of mind that come with living in a place designed specifically to meet their needs. Keep these additional elements in mind as you talk to your parents and compare the costs of staying home versus moving to assisted living.
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