According to a blog article by Dr. Jerry Doctrow, data shows that it can cost more for a senior to stay at home and receive medical care than it would for them to move to a retirement community. A statement like this no doubt runs contrary to what many people may think, but when taking into consideration all the factors at play in determining overall cost, it can be eye-opening.

Studying the averages
Dr. Doctrow calculated the average cost for independent living ($3,076/month), assisted living ($4,722/month), and memory care ($6,082/month). He then calculated the average costs of a senior living in a $150,000 home with the mortgage paid and receiving basic home-care services. When figuring in basic living and operating costs such as maintenance, utilities, property taxes, and meals the average total comes out to about $2,400/ month.

That seems quite modest, and far below even the average cost of an independent living apartment in a senior living community. However, when home care costs, conservatively averaging approximately $1,520/ month, are added to the equation, the overall average cost of living at home increases to about $3,900/month.  Then, to account for the value of the home itself, an estimate of the amount you could earn from renting your home (also referred to as implied rent) would also need to be calculated. A 7% cap rate on the assumed $150,000 value of the home would add up to $875/ month, bringing the total monthly cost of remaining at home to about $4,800. This adds up to be a bit more than the average cost of an assisted living apartment in a retirement community. The numbers don’t lie!

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The benefits of being social
Financial considerations will always be a major factor in the decision to make a move to a retirement community, but they are not the only ones that are of importance. A major perk of living in a retirement community is the ability to easily build new friendships that keep your social life active and vibrant. Finances are certainly important, but the health benefits of being part of a community are also impossible to ignore. Depression is less likely, your mind and heart will benefit from endless opportunities to learn and do new things, and your family relationships will strengthen when you can focus your time on simply being together and enjoying each other’s company.

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