At a glance, most people would assume that aging in place is the most economical way to spend your golden years. However, the truth is far less simple than that. It is true that for some people it is going to be the most cost-effective choice. But, as a person’s care needs increase, the choice between aging in place and moving into an assisted living facility becomes less and less clear.
The financial feasibility of aging at home needs to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. In an effort to help you plan for your future, we’ve outlined the major expenses that need to be considered as your plan to age in place.
Home Renovations To Accommodate Aging In Place
Renovating your home to make it more safe and accessible is an extremely important step for those looking to age in place. Unfortunately, it can also be a somewhat expensive process, depending on the scope of work needed. Retirement Living has outlined potential projects that you might need to undertake, as well as average costs. Some of these projects include:
- Walk-in Tub Installation -$5000
- Entry Ramp Installation – $1100
- Stair Lift Installation -$8000
- Handrail Installation – $1000
Another home alteration project that can prove beneficial for those aging in place is the installation of an adjustable hospital bed. Electric adjustable hospital beds like those sold by Transfer Master are easy to use, aesthetically pleasing, and can significantly improve safety and security as you get in and out of bed.
The home remodeling projects noted above are just a few of many options available to seniors as they plan to age in place. The price tag of these projects is difficult to ignore, and it is important to remember that just because you may not need one of these amenities now does not mean you won’t need them in the future. Creating a realistic projection for your future needs is the best way to ensure that you accurately account for the expenses of renovating your home for aging in place.
Home Health Care Costs
Home health care costs are some of the largest expenses that a person might encounter as they age in the comfort of their own home. One of the primary benefits of an assisted living facility is the medical attention tenants receive. Still, other arrangements will need to be made for those who plan to age at home. Home health aides can provide an array of skilled care services, typically on a scheduled or as-needed basis.
According to Paying For Senior Care, the average hourly rate of a home health aide in 2019 was $22/hr. If you use this number to calculate an annual expense based on 8 hour days and 250 workdays a year, this service will cost you $44,000 a year. Of course, this number will vary based on a number of factors, including location, hours, and scope of services required. That being said, the example noted above illustrates the major impact that home health care can have on your age in place budget.
Non-Medical Home Care
Those who are looking to age in place will also face a wide range of other expenses not directly related to health care. These costs might include a house cleaner, laundry service, lawn maintenance, or any number of other projects that will prove more challenging as you age. Many of these tasks can be accomplished by friends and family, and many people who age in place rely on friends and family to help make it possible. However, it is best to ensure that you have the financial means to pay for these services if required.
Transportation is an additional expense that needs to be accounted for. If you find that you can no longer safely operate a motor vehicle, then you will need to secure an alternative means of transportation. This is another variable that many people will rely on friends and family to take care of. Still, it is best to establish a means of transportation that you can access without their assistance, such as a bus, taxi, or uber. The costs of transportation will vary greatly depending on the distance traveled, frequency, and the form of transportation you choose. It is best to evaluate all options while establishing your plan to age in place.
Meal assistance is another expense that becomes more and more prominent as you continue to age. Ensuring that you are eating wholesome meals is of the utmost importance if you want to have a happy and healthy life. As cooking becomes more difficult, it might become more practical to utilize some form of meal assistance. There are numerous federal, state, and private nutrition programs available to seniors. Determining the best option available to you is largely dependent on your location and financial situation. Nutrition.gov is a USDA-sponsored website that serves as an excellent resource for seniors looking to identify nutrition programs that are suited to their needs.
Aging In Place: Is It Financially Feasible?
We have outlined many of the most prominent expenses that seniors can expect to incur throughout their time aging in place. It is worth noting that the expenses noted above are additional expenses that are specific to aging in place. We have not covered many expenses that are not specific to aging in place, including things like cable television, internet, insurance, and many others.
As you continue to evaluate if aging in place is a fiscally sound option for you or a loved one, the secret lies in producing a comprehensive and realistic expenditure projection that allows room for unforeseen expenses. By accomplishing this, you can confidently and safely achieve your dream of aging in place.