Is It Less Expensive to Age at Home?

September 26, 2018

Researching the costs of a senior living community can sometimes give folks pause. Thoughts turn to aging in place, where seniors remain in their home. However, many folks often underestimate the costs inherent in this option.

Home Safety Modifications

Traditionally, homes are not built to accommodate the specific demands of seniors. As we age, safety becomes an increasing priority. Grab bars in bathrooms and other key locations provide assistance and help prevent against falls. For seniors who require the use of a wheelchair, doorways throughout the home often have to be widened in order to allow for mobility between rooms.

Stairs become a focal point when considering the option of aging in place. As health concerns come into play, ascending and descending the stairs become an increasingly difficult prospect. For many, these difficulties amount to danger, with both seniors and their families growing apprehensive about the prospect of going up and down without someone nearby. Ramps or powered stair lifts provide a simpler method to move between different floors of the house.

Other families make the decision to avoid the stairs altogether, with seniors moving into a bedroom on the same floor as the kitchen and the living room. However, while the vast majority of homes have a bathroom on this main floor, a large number of these bathrooms don’t include a bathtub or shower. To make a fully-functioning one-level residence, many families are forced to renovate and expand the existing guest bathroom.

Safety systems, alarms, and monthly monitoring services also provide peace of mind to seniors and their families. But the costs for all of these updates mount quickly, often rocketing into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Healthcare Support at Home

For home care, needs range from part-time assistance to full-time care. On average, the cost for an independent at-home care provider or home care service is typically more than $100 per day. This is in addition to the other costs inherent in living at home, such as rent or mortgage, groceries, water, electric, and in some cases, cleaning, lawn care, or snow removal.

For some seniors, a family member takes over the role of at-home care provider. While this may seem like a “free” option, there is a tangible cost in terms of lost wages and benefits, as well as lessened earning potential if and when the family member returns to work.

Emotional Costs to Family

Aging in place requires a lot from family members. For those who choose to provide full-time at-home care, there is an impactful  mental, emotional, and physical strain. Caregivers often report feelings of anxiety and depression. Even if families choose not to go this route, being on standby for part-time care also takes its toll. Providing transportation to and from medical appointments and social activities, helping to keep up with the home, and rushing over to handle unplanned concerns or emergencies takes time and effort. Often times, frustrations and resentments emerge, directed at either the aging family member requiring aid or other family members helping to—or expected to help—split up these responsibilities.

One of the unexpected benefits of making the move to an assisted living community is often a greatly improved relationship with family. In many cases, it is children who provide care for their parents at home, an arrangement that can make both parties feel uncomfortable with the role reversal. Freed from these responsibilities, families find that they can get back to enjoying one another again. As visits turn from providing care and assistance to simply hanging out and being together, seniors and their families often regain an ease and a rapport, not to mention affection, that may have been absent for a while.

To learn more about the costs of assisted living in Elmhurst, IL or Lombard, IL, contact Lexington Square today. We pride ourselves on working with seniors and their families to find an option that works. To that end, we accept many long-term care policies and Veterans Benefits. Give us a call at 630.812.7241. We’re here to answer any questions you have.

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