When comparing the costs of home care versus assisted living, you have to be realistic. Preparing to care for an elderly loved one can be stressful and expensive. There are many details to consider depending on the wants and needs of you and your relative.
Home care may be less expensive than alternatives, but it may be more complex. The 2018 Genworth Cost of Care survey states the national median is $4,004 per month for family member care and $4,195 per month for a home health aide. Here are a few of the questions you must ask yourself.
- What kind of care is required? Home care assistance is separated into medical and non-medical. Medical care is more expensive, so only use it if necessary. It wouldn’t be appropriate for help with daily tasks such as eating, getting dressed, and social interaction.
- How much care is required? When deciding to care for a loved one at home, you have to calculate how much attention is needed. Overnight care is more expensive. There are adult daycares that can be less costly for social interaction. Often, the programs also offer transportation. The survey stated costs of $1,560 per month.
- How much do you plan to do yourself? Every hour of care you provide is an hour of cost saved. However, it may impact your ability to have full-time employment or free time if you take on too much. It is also emotionally draining.
- Are you going to make any improvements to a property? Installing wheelchair ramps, removing walls, or adding accessibility equipment will add additional costs. Remodeling may not be possible if you are renting.
- Will your loved one require Alzheimer or dementia care? If so, it can add over $1,000 per month.
Assisted living isn’t one size fit all either. The Genworth survey national median is $4,000, but privacy can be pricey, especially in high-cost areas. Here are some questions to ask.
- What type of room? In 2018, a semi-private room was about $7,441 per month. A private room was about $8,365 per month. Sharing a room might be a disappointment to your loved one but it may be the affordable option.
- Do you want to pay for a la carte services or a flat rate? Some facilities will charge all residents the same flat fee no matter what services are provided. Others charge per service or the time it takes for the service.
- Does the facility charge move-in or other fees? When using a facility, costs may rise unexpectedly.
All of the costs will vary based on your location. With in-home care, a lot of the expenses are tax-deductible for federal taxes. Some states also offer tax deductions. Most, if not all, will not apply to assisted living. Long-term care insurance may or may not be beneficial. It can be costly yet unusable if your claims don’t fit specific criteria.
Each situation is unique, so using a calculator can give you a better estimate of future costs. This care calculator accounts for medical, non-medical, and personal hours plus utilities, food, transportation, other expenses.