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Kaplan 4-4-23_Comparing the Cost of SL to Home (1)Which is more expensive, staying at home or senior living? For most people, the gut reaction is that senior living would cost more, but that’s not always the case. Not to mention, when families consider the two, they often make a common mistake that doesn’t reflect the true cost of staying at home. Here’s how to accurately compare the costs of senior living versus staying at home.

The cost of care at home versus the cost of senior living 

Before we get into the comparison, it’s important to understand the cost of senior living and care at home. There are actually different levels of care for each. While a number of factors affect the amount you’ll pay, in general, the more care you need, the higher the cost. According to the most recent Genworth Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly costs are as follows. 

Care at home 

  • Homemaker services – These include assistance with household tasks like cooking, cleaning, and errands that cannot be managed independently. The average monthly cost is $4,957, assuming 44 hours per week. 
  • Home health aide services – These services assist with personal care, not medical care. The average monthly cost is $5,148, assuming 44 hours per week. 
  • Adult day care – This includes meals and snacks, health monitoring, medication assistance, enrichment programs, and social activities during regular business hours, five days a week. The average monthly cost is $1,690

Care in senior living 

  • Independent Living – This type of senior living is ideal for older adults who can still live independently as the lifestyle is focused on convenience and active living with home upkeep, cooking, and cleaning taken care of for you. Residents also enjoy a range of amenities as well as social and enrichment opportunities. Published data on the average cost of independent living varies, but you can typically expect it to be between $1,000 to $4,000 monthly. 
  • Assisted Living – This level of care provides many of the same services, amenities, and activities as independent living, but you’ll also have assistance with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing, and medication management. Onsite medical care is also available. The average monthly cost for a private one-bedroom is $4,500. 
  • Memory Care – This level of care is just for those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia and offers 24-hour support in a secure, nurturing environment with specially trained staff. Published data on the average cost of memory care also varies, but you can usually expect a range between $2,000 to $7,000 a month. 

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Comparing the cost of senior living and home 

When considering the cost of senior living with staying at home, the mistake families often make is to compare the monthly cost in a community to their mortgage or rent alone. However, that’s not your total monthly cost of living at home. You must also add food, utilities, home maintenance, property taxes, insurance, and entertainment to that cost. And don’t forget the cost of care at home as well as what you’ll pay for safety and accessibility modifications if needed. Why? Because all these things are included in the monthly cost of senior living! This worksheet can help you more easily compare apples to apples between the two using your specific circumstances. 


Monthly Expenses 

Costs at Home  

Senior Living Costs  

Mortgage or rent 






Property tax and insurance 



Home maintenance and repairs 



Lawn care and yard maintenance 






(electricity, gas, water, trash removal, etc.) 



24-hour security 



(insurance, gas, registration, repairs) 






Social and Entertainment 



Exercise and wellness 



24-hour emergency alert system 



Total Actual Costs 




But even if your comparison shows the cost of senior living is more than home, make sure to keep the positive impact on quality of life in the equation; there are many benefits that are hard to come by at home. And remember that there’s no price tag on peace of mind. 

For more information, download our Senior Funding Guide today! Contact us to schedule a tour today. Click here to download our Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing

Written by All American