Watching an aging loved one change before your eyes from dementia stemming from an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be heartbreaking. Wrestling with the question of how to give them the best care makes matters even more difficult. Should they stay at home or move into a memory care community? An online search pulls up a sea of information, but wading through it to find the real costs, and benefits, of memory care is a time-consuming task. We’re here to make it easier. Here’s what you need to know about the costs of memory care so you can make the best decision for your loved one.
A Closer Look at Memory Care Costs
Finding a memory care senior living community can make a world of difference in quality of life for those living with memory issues and brings tremendous peace of mind to their families and caregivers. With specialized supervision, on-demand medical care and enriching activities, memory care requires some financial planning as it is often paid out of pocket. This can feel overwhelming to families, especially if they don’t have long-term care insurance.
Like assisted living, Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans generally don’t cover memory care room and board, which drives costs up significantly. Barring things like veterans’ benefits and the possibility of Medicaid covering some costs of long-term care once assets are completely depleted, memory care costs can add up quickly.
The median cost of assisted living nationwide is $4,300 monthly, according to the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. It rises to $4,800 a month in New York ($5,991 in New York City) and $6,633 in Alaska, but falls as low as $3,800 in North Carolina. Memory care services can increase this baseline assisted living expense by varying amounts, depending on the area.
While these estimates for monthly memory care costs may seem high, at first glance, consider that in addition to specialized care, a memory care program encompasses living expenses that would normally be paid separately, including:
- Rent or mortgage
- Heating and cooling
- Home maintenance
- Landscaping and snow removal costs
- Well-balanced meals and healthy snacks
- Entertainment and activities, such as adult education courses, a gym membership, and social events
- Transportation services
Memory Care Costs in Comparison: Less Expensive than Aging in Place
When comparing the cost of memory care to hiring a home health aide to help an aging loved one with housekeeping and activities of daily living, memory care is the less costly option. Nationally, the median price of a home health aide is $5,824 per month for seven days a week, eight hours a day care. On average, that is $1,524 more than a memory care community. When increased to 24/7 home health aide coverage, this cost skyrockets to $17,472 per month.
Considering What’s Included in Memory Care Costs vs. Home Health Aide Services
When comparing memory care costs to hiring a home health aide, the savings goes far beyond the initial average price difference. While your loved one may not require 24/7 coverage, a senior living at home may still need care on evenings and weekends when you can’t be there. Depending on the aide’s duties, you might also need to pay someone else to drive them to doctor’s appointments and run errands while you are working. And don’t forget that these care costs are on top of your loved one’s regular housing and living expenses.
Since a home health aide typically doesn’t do handyman work or chores like mowing the lawn, they may also need to hire someone for home maintenance, landscaping and snow removal services. We can’t overlook the cost of home modifications. Creating senior-friendly bathrooms, adding better lighting and ramps are just a few of the costly expenses you may incur.
The Real Cost of Memory Care – Can You Afford Not to Take Advantage of the Benefits of a Memory Care Community?
As we add up all these costs, it’s much easier to put memory care costs into perspective and to see investing in memory care as a smart financial decision. In addition to seeing great value in memory care compared to aging in place, it can also be the best option for providing your aging loved one with opportunities for social enrichment, intellectual stimulation, and daily exercise that they may not get at home. In memory care, you can rest easy knowing your loved one is having all their needs met and can still find purpose, joy and connection despite their diagnosis. That’s because our team members know that memory care isn’t just for preserving memories, but also making new ones. We welcome your loved one to make them with us.
To learn more about memory care programs, call the Five Star Senior Living community nearest you. One of our team members will be happy to help answer questions and take you on a tour.