Cost is usually a significant factor in deciding on whether to move to assisted living apartments or not. Many people see it as an option only for the rich. Many compare the monthly cost of assisted living only to their mortgage or rent payments. But the amount paid includes so much more than a room to live in!
An assisted living apartments bundle in many other services and perks into its cost. Factoring in all these “extras” makes an assisted living apartment a very affordable housing option.
Let’s break down the myths about cost holding you back from choosing an assisted living apartment!
Get a piece of paper and put a line down the middle. On one side, let’s write down “assisted living apartment cost.” On the other side, let’s write down “living at home cost.”
For the “assisted living apartments cost” column, write down the estimated cost of your monthly package. You can check out our price for an assisted living apartment for a starting point if you need.
In the “living at home cost” column, write down your monthly mortgage or rent expense.
#1 Utilities and Property Taxes are Included at Assisted Living Apartments
Mortgage and rent payments aside, utilities can make up a large part of the budget for most people. Even if you have eliminated your mortgage payments, you still need to pay for utilities. As energy and water delivery and maintenance costs rise, so will your bill – even with the most careful usage.
In an assisted living community, your monthly charge includes utilities. Some communities even include cable!
In an assisted living apartment you don’t have to pay property taxes either! Depending on the community you live in, this could be a substantial bill all on its own.
So in the “living at home” costs column, you can add your average utilities cost and the property taxes if applicable.
#2 Meals are Included
As you age, you might find it stressful or tiring to prepare meals like you once did. Driving to get groceries, pushing heavy carts, and carrying laden bags back into the house might be more painful and stressful than in the past.
In an assisted living apartment, you wouldn’t need to get groceries, plan meals, or worry about the rising cost of healthy food. Your monthly fee included meals and snacks.
If you like cooking, you’re not missing out either! Many communities offer a kitchenette, cooking classes, or other opportunities to cook when the mood strikes you.
Back to our worksheet, in the “living at home” costs, including what you spend on monthly groceries on average. If you pay for a grocery delivery service or a helper to do shop or cook for you, you should include those too.
#3 Wellness programs and Gym Memberships are Included
A small gym and wellness programs are standard services that an assisted living community offers its residents. Whether you want to walk, try some water aerobics or do strength training for seniors, there are many options. But no monthly gym membership fee!
In our worksheet, we can add the cost of your current gym membership or health classes to your “living at home” costs.
#4 Maintenance and Housekeeping are Included
Home ownership comes with the added responsibility of maintaining your house. The routine upkeep of a home can get difficult for many seniors, and the costs can add up quickly if you hire help. Lawn care, snow removal, spring and fall cleanings, furnace repair, AC repair, duct cleanings, etc. can take a lot out of your budget.
On top of this, doing housekeeping is an additional task to consider. Laundry, cleaning the home, doing the dishes can all drain time and energy from a senior as these tasks start to become more difficult.
But none of these are extra costs when you’re in assisted living apartments. They’re all included so that you can focus on doing the things that are important to you.
In our financial worksheet, we can add the cost of any housekeeping, property management, and insurance costs you currently pay under the “living at home” column. An allowance for capital projects on your house (like a roof or a new furnace) also needs to be inclusive. I suggest about 1-2% of your property value for an annual amount would be good.
#5 Transportation is Included at Assisted Living Apartments
In assisted living apartments, most of what you need is on site. For group outings, the facility provides transportation to and from the venue. You can arrange with the facility’s transportation services if you need for the occasional need.
This means you can sell or give away your car. You won’t have to pay for servicing and maintenance, insurance and fuel. If you’re currently living at an apartment that charges for parking, then that’s another cost you can remove from your monthly budget.
So in our worksheet, let’s adding car payments, car maintenance, insurance, fuel and even licensing amounts into the “living at home costs” column.
#6 Recreational Activities are Included
Everyone imagines their retirement to be full of enriching activities. What these activities are would depend on your tastes and personality. It might mean relaxing and reading in the gardens. Or playing cards with your friends. Or even starting on a new hobby like dancing or cooking.
There are many options in the activity programs and recreational rooms on-site at your assisted living apartment. Games, movies, art classes, music programs, book clubs, and more are all free for the residents.
This amount requires a little bit more thinking about our personal spending habits. When you figure out an amount of how much you spend, add it to the “living at home costs.”
How Do Assisted Living Apartments Compare?
Consider the totals between the “assisted living apartment” and “living at home” costs.
Many people find that living at home is usually much more expensive or equal to the cost of an assisted living apartment.
Still worried about the cost?
If you are still concerned about the cost of an assisted living apartment near you, there might be solutions you don’t know about. Call the assisted living community you want to join and discuss your options with them. They will be able to direct you towards local resources and experts to discuss the possibilities.
An assisted living apartment should not be out of reach for any senior.