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Most people think there’s no reason to compare the cost of staying home versus senior living. Because they assume senior living always costs more. But that’s actually not the case. There are times when senior living can be cheaper than the cost of aging at home. It depends on your individual circumstances or those of your loved one, so it’s always best to consider the costs fully. Here’s how.

Understanding the Costs

The first thing to understand in comparing the costs is that there are different levels of care both at home and in senior living. Multiple factors affect the amount you’ll pay, but in general, the more care you need, the higher the cost. Here are the levels of care as well as their average monthly cost according to the most recent Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

Care at Home

  • Homemaker Services - Help with household tasks such as cooking, cleaning and errands that cannot be managed independently. The average monthly cost is $4,481.
  • Home Health Aide Services - Help with personal care, but not medical care. The average monthly cost is $4,576.
  • Adult Day Care – Typically includes meals and snacks, health monitoring, medication assistance and fitness, plus enrichment programs and social activities during normal business hours, five days a week. The average monthly cost is $1,603.

Care in Senior Living

  • Independent Living – Rather than daily assistance, the lifestyle in this setting is focused on convenience and active living with home upkeep, cooking and cleaning taken care of plus a range of amenities and social and enrichment opportunities to enjoy. Published data on the average cost of independent living is rare because it varies so greatly; but you can usually expect it to be between $1,000 to $4,000 a month.
  • Assisted Living – This level of care provides many of the same services and amenities and activities as independent living but it also provides assistance with daily tasks such as bathing, dressing and medication management as well as onsite medical care. The average monthly cost for a private, one-bedroom is $4,300.
  • Memory Care – This level of care is exclusively for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia and offers 24-hour support in a secure, nurturing environment with specially trained staff. Published data on average monthly cost for memory care is also rare because it too varies greatly, but you can usually expect a range between $2,000 to $7,000 a month.

Comparing the Costs at Home versus Senior Living

Now it’s time to compare based on your specific needs and circumstances. Here it’s important to understand that you should be comparing more than just your mortgage or rent to the average monthly cost of senior living. You need to compare the total cost of living at home which includes food, utilities, home maintenance, property taxes, insurance, entertainment and healthcare because those costs are already included in the monthly cost of senior living. This worksheet can help.

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



The Value of Senior Living

Regardless of whether your comparison results in senior living being cheaper or not, it does offer added value that’s hard to replicate at home, especially when living alone. Quite simply, senior living can enhance quality of life for you or your loved one in a number of ways. It removes the burden of managing chores, maintaining the house and the worry over unexpected expenses from your shoulders. It also makes it so much easier to stay connected and engaged with a full calendar of activities, outings, events, clubs and classes – all planned by us and right outside your door. Lastly, you’ll have invaluable peace of mind that support is always there for you should you need it; and with multiple levels of care on the same campus you have an easier transition should health needs evolve over time.

For more information download our Family Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing or contact us today to schedule a tour.

Click here to download our Guide to Funding Senior Care & Housing

Written by All American