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Assisted Living & In-Home Care Compared

Last Updated: May 6, 2015

Many families struggle to make decisions about the best living situation for their aging parent. Most seniors, if given the choice, would choose to remain in their own home for as long as possible, and most families want to respect that choice. What is it that makes staying home possible? This is very subjective and varies in each situation. Many family members or caregivers have a threshold - an event in which they know that living at home is no longer an option, yet others are absolute in their commitment to keep their loved one at home no matter the circumstances. There are many options, some of which people don't always think about:

Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. What are the wishes of your loved one?
  2. Do they live alone?
  3. Is there a way to improve the safety of the home?
  4. Is there someone who could move in with them?
  5. Is there someone they could move in with?
  6. Could care or supportive services be brought in to keep them safe, well-fed, and healthy?
  7. Would they benefit from having regular meals prepared for them?
  8. Do they need medical care?
  9. Do they need medication reminders?
  10. Have they visited any communities that could be options?

Weighing In-home Care Options

  1. Continue living in their home
  2. Move in with an adult child
  3. Have an adult child or other family member move in with them
  4. Hire a live-in caregiver
  5. Hire a part-time caregiver or home health care agency for oversight
  6. Increase socialization and sign them up for an adult day program
  7. Use a meal delivery service like Meals on Wheels

Weighing Senior Care Options

  1. Move into an independent living community
  2. Move into a continuing care community
  3. Move into a residential care home
  4. Move into an assisted living community

Seniors who live alone often experience social isolation and poor nutrition which contributes to cognitive decline, health problems, depression and a lower quality of life. Many families hire home care aides, arrange for Meals on Wheels or other meal delivery services and use adult day services at senior community centers to provide a healthy environment for seniors who live at home.

Including your loved one in the decision and finding a solution that all family members can feel good about may take considerable research, time, and the support of a professional. However, knowing you gave this significant decision the consideration it deserves allows everyone to move forward feeling good about the choice.

Costs Comparison

After dealing with the initial sticker shock and touring a community most families change their minds and realize assisted living is a great value.

A Place for Mom created this chart to help you figure out whether assisted living costs more or less than living at home. The sample figures cited below represent U.S. national averages, so please fill in your loved one's actual monthly costs in the spaces provided, as well as figures for a specific community you may be considering:

Amenities/Services/ Expenses

Monthly Costs At Home (average)

Assisted Living Costs (average)

Monthly mortgage or rent



Property tax



Property insurance



Condominium maintenance fee



24-hour security services



Three meals a day






Housekeeping services



Daily health aide visitations



Personal care



24-hour emergency call system



Landscaping/snow removal



Home maintenance



Trash removal



Social and entertainment



Total Actual Costs




*All costs calculated in U.S. dollars.

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