Aging In Place

9/13/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

Senior care can get expensive, regardless of the route you and your aging loved one decide to take. If a senior specifically needs help with ADLs, medical care, and so on, the standard next step is either assisted living or home care. But is home care cheaper than assisted living? We explore in-home care vs. assisted living costs, and the type of care each provides.

Is long-term care at home more or less expensive than assisted living? As you might expect, there are factors to consider before coming up with an answer. While the decision to provide care at home or in a facility isn’t based solely on financial considerations, here is a general rule of thumb from the perspective of cost: home care is typically the less expensive option if the senior needs 40 hours or less of paid home care each week.

However, some of the factors that can unbalance the equation include the state in which they reside, if they own a home, or require services ­­– such as dementia care.

Here is a breakdown of in-home care vs. assisted living costs for each option to help you decide.

The cost of in-home care

If given the option, most older adults will choose to age in place. And for anyone requiring nothing more than routine attention, home care will almost always be less expensive than assisted living. Of course, the cost of home care rises if the senior needs more hours with a caregiver. Conversely, overall costs go down if a relative or friend volunteers some or all of the caregiving hours.

Two other factors that affect in-home care costs are the supplies required to ensure a comfortable and healthy life for the senior and any additional tasks that the caregiver must undertake regularly.

Which states have the least and most expensive home care?

According to Genworth Financial, the national average for in-home care services is $4,481 per month. That works out to an average rate of $16 to $28 per hour, with the following states having the least expensive average rates:

  • ‍West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana – $16/hr.
  • Tennessee, North Carolina, and Georgia – $18

And the states with the most expensive home care:

  • ‍Minnesota, Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts – $25
  • Alaska – $26
  • North Dakota – $28

The three types of home care costs

  • Hourly rates: You will likely pay by the hour for home care. It’s ideal for active seniors who can still perform their activities of daily living (ADLs) and require care for only a few hours each day.
  • Daily Rates: Typically meant for the elderly requiring around-the-clock care, these rates average between $200 and $350 per day depending on the specialized care required.
  • Overnight Rates: Although the number of hours assisting is less than during the day, the rates are higher. It’s beneficial for seniors with degenerative conditions or those who get up frequently to go to the bathroom.

Average monthly cost for assisted living care

According to Genworth Financial, the national average cost of a private one-unit in an assisted living facility is about $4,300 per month or $51,600 per year. As with home care, the price will vary depending on your state. For example, if you live in Alaska, Delaware, New Hampshire, or New Jersey, you’ll pay about $6,650 per month, or nearly $80,000 each year. On the other hand, if you live in Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, or Georgia, you’ll pay between $3,000 and $3,500 per month – a difference of up to $44,000 per year!

Keep in mind that you might have upfront costs with an assisted living community in addition to the monthly fees. These fees could also vary depending on the hospitality and care services that come with additional charges.

If all of this information about in-home care vs. assisted living costs makes home care appear to be a slam-dunk decision, think about the total costs. Living at home may entail paying a mortgage, taxes, and maintenance in addition to the expenses of providing care. The assisted living fee covers all of that.

As you make your comparisons, also consider the level of care provided through assisted living and the opportunities for social interactions and activities it offers. In some cases, in-home care will win hands-down. In others, assisted living will be less expensive.

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff