Calculating the Cost of Senior Independent Living

Calculating the Cost of Senior Independent Living

Many seniors who own their home (and are therefore free of mortgage payments) believe their cost of living is lower than it would be at a senior living community. However, when you do the math and make an item-by-item comparison, the expenses are often nearly the same and in some cases, the cost of living at a senior community is even a little less.

In “Be Your Own Hero: Senior Living Decisions Simplified,” a chapter is devoted to calculating the real cost of senior living. You’ll need to itemize your monthly and annual expenses to get a true picture of what it costs to live in your home.

Expenses to consider:

  • Appliances (repair & maintenance)
  • Cable, internet, phone
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Entertainment/Dining Out
  • Garbage collection
  • Groceries
  • Health club fees
  • Home renovation (painting, carpeting)
  • Home repairs (roof, gutters)
  • Housekeeping service
  • Insurance (health, life, home)
  • Lawn care
  • Medical (prescription & nonprescription drugs)
  • Mortgage or rent
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities (electricity, water, sewer)
  • (clothing, household supplies)

While working through the above will help you put dollars to concrete expenses, the book’s author, Catherine Owens, points out the importance of weighing the intangible costs as well. “The cost of remaining in your home is more than just dollars,” Owens writes. Life should not be about “getting by” and surviving; it should be about day-to-day contentment and well being. This means you need an environment, be it your single family home or your home at a senior living community, which can support and address your mental, emotional and physical needs. All of these are important to maintaining health.

A Life Plan Community like Meth-Wick provides easily accessible, ongoing support for these needs. A broad range of planned programs help residents exercise both body and mind while also interacting with others, which is another important factor in healthy senior living.

While it is possible for an individual’s needs to be met in their home, it takes effort. For instance, it can be difficult to locate senior-focused exercise classes and to make sure there is social interaction with friends or relatives several times a week. Older adults who remain in their home, especially those living alone, often do not have their needs fulfilled.

Consider the following questions as you assess your cost of living. These are the intangibles, but carry as much weight as your “dollars and cents” expenses:

  • What is important in my day-to-day life? What is the cost if I don’t have it?
  • What is important for me to have in a community? What is the cost of living without it?
  • What value do I see in the intangible I will gain by moving to a senior community? What will be the cost to my health and quality of life if I don’t make a change?

As you compare the cost of staying in your home versus moving to a senior living community, it’s important to remember that the goal of Life Plan Communities like Meth-Wick is to enrich your life, not to change who you are. The knowledgeable, experienced staff and senior-focused programs at these communities provide the peace of mind and support needed for every resident to live their best life.

As you evaluate your needs and ask yourself “Can I afford to move to a senior living community?” it’s also important to ask, “Can I afford not to?”

Contact Julie Farmer to discover how affordable life at Meth-Wick can be.