How to Choose the Right Elder Care Option Based on Cost

June 27, 2019

Though we don’t like to think about it, for many seniors there will come a time when they’re no longer able to take care of themselves. When that time comes, there are a lot of big decisions that will need to be made, and one of the most important factors to consider is cost.

As we age, we often incur more health deficits, some of which may require further care that we can provide for ourselves. So depending on the level of care needed, there can be a rather stark contrast in price.

Before making any decisions though, it’s best to know exactly what price range you can afford and to figure out exactly what your priorities are when it comes to your care. In this article, we break down the costs of three different types of care: nursing homes, retirement homes, and in-home care.

Cost of Nursing Homes

Nursing homes are the most expensive of all elder care options, and those prices are expected to increase dramatically in the coming years. The average cost for a semi-private room at a nursing home in the United States was $82,128 in 2016 and $88,297 in 2018. It’s expected to go up to $120,008 by 2028.

Those figures might have taken your breath away, but you will spend even more if you get a private room. The annual cost for a private room in a nursing home was $92,376 in 2016 and $100,375 in 2018. By the time 2028 rolls around, the cost is expected to jump to $134,896.

That being said, while nursing homes are expensive, they do provide a full range of healthcare services. You will receive room and board, personal care, activities, and healthcare at the facility. Still, these facilities are far too expensive for many Americans, which is why you should always consider alternative options for care when it comes to your loved ones.

Cost of Retirement Homes

Retirement homes — or assisted living facilities — are more affordable than nursing homes because they require less direct attention and care. This is why so many people choose them for their elder care needs, as it helps provide independence, but with the structure and accessibility of care close by. The average annual cost for a spot in an assisted living facility was $48,000 in 2018. That was a 3% increase over the course of five years, and it’s expected to go up to $64,508 by 2028.

If you or a loved one choose a retirement home, it’s important to understand that the facilities only provide limited services. Amenities depend on the home selected, but many offer transportation, meals, laundry, general housekeeping, and some wellness programs.

Licensed assisted living facilities also provide some healthcare services, but these facilities should not be confused with nursing homes or in-home care. The staff can manage medication and administer first aid if needed, and some facilities have a physician or nurse available to provide check-ups. However, residents should be in relatively good health. Retirement homes usually cannot handle residents with significant medical needs.

Cost of In-Home Care

In-home care is categorized in two different ways: homemaker services ( a companion who assists with day-to-day activities) or a home health aide (a registered or trained professional who assists with medical needs).

Homemaker services cost an average of $48,048 in 2018 and are expected to increase to $64,572 by 2028. The average cost for a home health aide was $50,336 in 2018, and it’s expected to go up to $67,647 by 2028.

The cost of in-home care is comparable to assisted living, but it comes with some benefits that you should consider. First, you get to stay in the comfort of your own home and the care is tailored to your specific needs. While you can get lost in the shuffle in a nursing home or retirement home, an in-home care professional will only focus on you.

In-home care providers also offer companionship that is critical as people age. Additionally, an in-home health provider has a better understanding of your personal medical needs and how to adjust based on your conditions.

Choosing an Elder Care Option

Selecting the right elder care option is important for your health and peace of mind. But the cost of nursing homes is prohibitive for many people. Assisted living facilities are more affordable but are not a good option for those who want to stay in their homes or require consistent medical care. In-home care is close to the same price as assisted living while giving people more benefits and freedom. You can stay in your home while receiving companionship and care with an in-home health provider, and for those who wish to stay at home, this is definitely a better option.

This is a guest post written by Cedric Jackson.