Understanding the Cost of Long-Term Care


Is your parent or other loved one in need of assistance or care? If so, your family may be researching the options available, including whether it would be better to remain at home or to move into an assisted living community.

While there can be advantages for both, much will depend on the needs of your parent, your family, and most importantly – where your loved one can live the highest quality of life.

While there are many considerations, the cost of long-term care is also an important element for most families. The following information can provide guidance to help in making your decision.

Senior living services to consider

The first step is to understand your parent’s needs and wants when deciding whether home or assisted living might be the best answer. Consider the number of daily tasks that might require assistance:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
  • Preparing healthy meals
  • Managing medications
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Transportation

Other features to consider?

  1. Is the home accessible or would a renovation be required for safety?
  2. Is the neighborhood a safe and age-friendly place to live, with nearby walking paths, shopping and activities?
  3. Are there opportunities to spend time with friends? Is loneliness or isolation becoming more apparent?
  4. Are there activities and social events in their neighborhood or easy transportation options so they can attend functions and participate?
  5. Are they able to maintain their physical and cognitive fitness? Are there nearby gyms or facilities where they can exercise or take classes to stay in shape?

What’s included in the cost of long-term care?

To determine the accurate cost of long-term care, you’ll want to talk to a specific community as rates can vary depending on the level and type of services provided as well as by location. If specialty care is required, such as memory care or skilled nursing, there will be a higher charge, but the following services are typically included in the cost of long-term senior care:

  • Private residence
  • Assistance with daily tasks
  • Dining
  • Activities and amenities
  • Social events and entertainment
  • Fitness center or classes
  • Scheduled transportation
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Security systems
  • Utilities, television and internet
  • Maintenance

Comparing the cost of long-term care at home

If a home care agency will be providing services, you’ll want to discuss hourly rates with a specific company as these costs will also fluctuate depending on the level of services and the number of hours needed weekly.

Home care, including companionship services, housekeeping, shopping and cooking will be less expensive than if health care is required. The best place to start is by determining the number of hours of care that will be needed and which type.

After calculating the total number of hours and considering any time when no assistance or monitoring is needed, subtract any hours for care that will be provided by others. This could include time spent in an adult day center or when family or friends will be providing the care.

The remainder of hours will be the number needed to be delivered by the home care agency. Multiply this number by their hourly rate to determine the costs, as well as any charges from day programs or other paid services you may be utilizing.

You’ll also need to calculate the costs of remaining at home, such as mortgage, insurance, taxes, utilities, food, maintenance and security. Don’t forget to add in the expenses of activities, social events, gyms, housekeeping, laundry and transportation.

Considerations beyond the cost of long-term care

Although finances play an important role in most decisions, it’s also important to acknowledge the value of quality of life for your parents. Even if the family discovers that it might be more affordable to remain at home or to move into an assisted living community, that may not be the best decision for your parents.

Asking the following questions may help clarify what would be best:

  • Where would your parents be most happy?
  • Where would they feel safe and most comfortable?
  • Where would they be able to have a thriving social life?
  • Where would they have the best chance to be engaged in life?
  • Where would they most be able to remain independent and in control of their lives?
  • Where would they most likely find meaning and purpose in their daily lives?
  • Where would YOU have the most peace of mind?

Discover life at a Northbridge community

If you’re considering senior living for yourself or a family member, we hope you’ll visit one of our communities. You’ll find a maintenance-free, activity-filled and engaging lifestyle to help support your wellness goals.

You’ll also discover many benefits in a Northbridge Senior Living community, including our Signature Program S.T.A.R. Club (Sharp Thinking, Active Residents) – which offers our residents several activities to participate in with others, including:

  • Daily exercise group
  • Walking club
  • Tai Chi & yoga
  • Nutritional classes
  • Library and book club
  • Museum outings
  • Artists in residence program
  • Multi-generational music
  • Genealogy Generations

If you are considering senior living as the right choice for yourself or a loved one, we invite you to download our Family Decision Toolkit. Or, contact us to schedule a personalized tour.

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