Is It More Cost-Effective to Age at Home or Move to Assisted Living?
In truth, a private residence isn’t always the safest or the least expensive place to grow older. If your aging loved one is weighing the costs of staying home versus moving to an assisted living community, here’s what you should know about the costs of aging in place.
Hiring In-Home Caregivers for a Senior
Family caregivers may start out trying to provide the necessary assistance a senior may need in order to stay at home. Unfortunately, it isn’t always possible to maintain those demands over the long term. As an older loved one requires more care, it can become increasingly difficult to keep them safe and healthy.
When additional support is needed, families often enlist the help of a paid caregiver. A professional care provider can help with meal preparation, personal care, medication reminders, and light housekeeping. Regrettably, these services can be expensive. On average, families should expect to spend $20 per hour for in-home care. Some parts of the country are significantly higher.
There are typically two options for hiring in-home caregivers:
- Private hire: Some families find it more financially feasible to hire a few caregivers independently and avoid higher home care agency fees. While it is generally less expensive, it will take more time to do the work required. For example, family members will need to interview, hire, train, pay, and supervise all private caregivers. There is the additional worry about what happens if a caregiver quits or becomes ill.
- Home care agency: Working with a home care agency can lighten the work of finding caregivers and can provide greater peace of mind. All of the hiring and supervising of care personnel is provided. Also, if a caregiver is ill or has an emergency, the agency will arrange for another team member to come. The downside of working with an agency is that the hourly fees are typically much higher than a private-pay service.
As you are budgeting for senior care, pay close attention to how much assistance your loved one needs and how much this support will cost. Clearly, home care expenses can quickly add up.
Home Modifications Necessary to Age in Place
Few homes are designed to meet the needs of an aging adult. From bathtubs to stairways, private homes often require modifications to be safe. In order to assure that your aging loved one can remain at home, consider having a professional safety audit of the senior’s home conducted.
A physical or occupational therapist can be hired to identify potential hazards around the home and make recommendations for modifying them. A few basic home modifications include:
- Improved lighting: Vision changes that are common with aging may put a senior at a high risk for falling. Lighting near stairways, in hallways, and in frequently-used rooms should be of special concern.
- Bathroom safety: Of all the falls that seniors experience in the home, 80% happen in the bathroom. Many times, these falls occur when an older adult is getting in or out of the bathtub or using the toilet. Other hazards can include lack of convenient storage (which often results in storing items on higher shelves that require the use of step stool), slippery tile floors, and a lack of stationary supports to grasp. Adding a step-free shower, as well as grab bars near the shower and toilet, is recommended.
- Emergency alert system: When a senior lives alone, it’s important that they have a quick way to summon help in the event of an emergency. You’ll want to purchase and install an emergency alert system if the older adult is considering aging in place.
- Overall accessibility: As seniors age, they sometimes require assistive devices, such as a cane, walker, or wheelchair to aid their mobility. Unfortunately, many homes are not designed for these devices. Consider that wider doorways, ramps, lower countertops, and similar modifications may be required.
Once you take realistic look at the true cost of aging in place, it’s easier to see the value of an assisted living community.
If you would like to learn more about the monthly costs of assisted living and all of the programs, support, and services that are included, we can help. Call the Five Star Senior Living community nearest you today!