Aging in Place vs. Senior Living Communities – A Cost Comparison

Senior mailing a letterOne of the most common misconceptions among aging adults is that it’s cheaper to age in place than it is to move to a senior living community. However, that may not necessarily be the case. While you may no longer be making monthly mortgage payments on your home, there are still costs associated with aging in place, and they may be harder to plan for than if you were paying an all-inclusive fixed monthly rent.

To help you more carefully consider your options, we examine the costs associated with remaining in your home versus relocating to a senior living community.

Aging in Place is Not Free

Even if your home is paid for, there is still the expense of insurance, taxes and property maintenance to consider, maybe even landscaping and/or snow removal services. There are monthly grocery and utility bills – cable and internet have gotten especially expensive these days – and then there are the things you don’t plan for, like when the hot water tank goes, or the appliances or roof need replacing.

It’s also important to think about expenses you may incur to make your home more accommodating down the road. Modifications can range from installing a medical alert system and grab bars in the bathroom to installing lifts or ramps and widening doorways. You may also need cleaning services or a home health aide someday, so research the costs for hiring these professionals in your area to get a sense of the average monthly cost.

When you add all this up, you’ll have a better sense of what it costs to remain at home.

Senior Living Communities are Not as Costly as You Might Think

In recent years, retirement community pricing has largely evolved into a refundable entrance fee model, which is affordable for almost anyone who owns a home. These refundable entrance fee communities allow you to use your home equity to move into a safe and secure environment that offers independence and a full range of services and amenities at a stable monthly cost.

The entrance fee model means that you pay a monthly rent or service fee, as well as an entrance fee, similar to a down payment. Entrance fees typically start at around $100,000 and are paid for using a combination of proceeds from a home sale, investment income and pension or retirement plans.

For those who feel that moving into a senior living community will drain a good portion of their assets and savings, thereby leaving them or their heirs with nothing, the refundable entrance fee ensures that doesn’t happen. Depending on the option chosen, the entrance fee is refunded in part or in whole, should you move or pass away.

In addition to covering all housing expenses, maintenance and repairs, senior living communities also typically provide residents with dining options, transportation services, wellness programs, social and cultural events, entertainment, a fitness center, library and much more. Some even have swimming pools. When you factor in the many services and amenities, the monthly cost is usually rather reasonable.

Aging in Place or Senior Living, Which is Right for You?

Senior couple making a toastThere are, of course, many factors that will affect your decision aside from finances. One resident at Eddy Hawthorne Ridge Senior Living Community in East Greenbush, NY chose senior living over aging in place for a variety of reasons unrelated to cost. “I love the idea of having healthy, delicious meals prepared for me instead of cooking for one person,” says Marion S. “And I love all the friendly camaraderie with the other residents – whether it be at lunch or dinner, the Thursday morning Coffee Klatch, or enjoying an event in the Sterling Center.”

Marion also noted that safety played a part in her decision, recognizing that a secure community is better than being alone in her home. “Eddy Senior Living just makes life easier,” concludes Marion.

It’s important to weigh all the pros and cons. Just remember to calculate the true costs of homeownership, and get actual pricing for several independent senior living communities, before determining one option is more expensive than the other.

Because each community does have various floor plans, pricing options and refund options, it’s best to meet with a representative from the community of your choice. If you’d like to learn more about the cost of the Eddy Senior Living Communities in Troy, Slingerlands, Niskayuna, East Greenbush or Queensbury NY, call (877) 748-3339 or request information, and an Eddy Senior Living Specialist will contact you.