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Elder Care Costs Compared: In-Home Care, Assisted Living, Nursing Homes

Last updated: June 29, 2015

The population of American seniors is expected to double in size within the next 25 years, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the U.S. Census Bureau. For the next 20 years, about 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 each day. As our aging population continues to grow, so does the demand for both in-home care and residential care facilities. This means that elder care and retirement planning are crucial to help support an aging population.

Affording the Cost of Elder Care

At some point we may need to make decisions for ourselves or our loved ones when living at home alone is no longer possible and more care is needed. But can we afford the elder care costs? How much do the options really cost?

Three options for seniors and their families to consider are: in-home care agencies, nursing homes, and assisted living communities. It makes sense to most people that nursing homes, with their more intensive levels of care, cost more than assisted living communities. But many don't realize that the elder care costs associated with home care can quickly outpace the costs of assisted living as well. Because home care agencies typically charge by the hour, it will depend on how much care is needed, but the expenses can add up quickly for anyone who needs extensive help.

Comparing Long Term Care Types

The long term care costs cited below are national averages, and figures do vary by location. In urban areas elder care costs typically exceed those in non-urban areas across America. The average cost for a one-bedroom unit in an urban area assisted living facility is 15.2% more than in non-urban areas and 14% more for an urban area private nursing home room, according to A Place for Mom's 2015 Senior Living Price Index.

Care Type

In-Home Care

Nursing Homes

Nursing Homes (private)

Assisted Living

Hourly Rate





Daily Rate





Monthly Rate





Planning Ahead & Doing Your Research

Seniors and their families often opt for independent caregivers because of the cost saving. But it's important to factor in the value an in-home care agency and understand what they have to offer as screened and bonded trained professionals. Many states require accreditation and licensing for in-home care agencies, whereas there are no such standards for independent workers. Doing your homework is important. Have questions? Our expert Senior Living Advisors can help you simplify your search.

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