Is Senior Living Affordable?

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Updated: June 5, 2022


Is Senior Living Affordable?


We have all seen the swanky, beautiful senior living communities that look more like a resort than a retirement center. Such facilities often have fitness clubs, restaurants, free transportation options, and a personal concierge.

If you have lived modestly throughout your life, you may look at such plush accommodations and assume that they are for someone from a higher tax bracket. But at the same time, have you stopped and considered how much it would cost to age in place? Factoring in items such as the Life Alert cost will help you make this determination.

Here are some things to think about when choosing your retirement location.


Are you paying on a mortgage?

If you have a monthly mortgage payment, you may consider comparing your monthly cost with that of senior living community. You may be surprised that the monthly fee of a senior living community is the same or higher than what you are paying for an entire home. But as you will see by reading this article, there are more things to consider.

If your home is paid off, you may not like the idea of incurring a considerable monthly expense. This is understandable, especially if you have health issues that cause your medical expenses to be rather high.


How much are you paying each year in home maintenance?

Although most real estate experts say to expect to pay 1-3% of your home’s value in maintenance costs, what is the age of your home? If you live in an older home, you may be facing some big repair bills. Consider the price of a new roof, furnace and AC unit, and appliances.

Most senior living communities take care of these repairs for you.


How much are your property taxes and homeowner’s insurance?

Even if your home is already paid for, you will still be required to pay property taxes and insurance. These bills may have increased over time if you live in an area where the homes are gaining in value.

Of course, living in a senior community means that you are free of such expenses.


How much do you pay in utilities?

If you live in a big old drafty house, your heating and cooling bills are probably astronomical. Even if your senior community requires you to pay for your own utilities, paying to heat and cool a small, new unit will cost much less than before.


How much do you pay for transportation costs?

If you own a car, you are used to paying for repair bills, maintenance, tires, gas, and insurance. What if you were able to remove this budget item from your monthly expenses?

Some retirement communities have free transportation available for nearby businesses and churches or synagogues.

You may add all the numbers and realize that the senior community is still much more expensive than your current accommodation. While the numbers may determine that you need to age in place at home, there are other things to consider

First, living in a senior community means that you have built-in neighbors and friends. Even if you are not the most social person in the world, you still have the ability to make the acquaintance of a few people to share polite conversation. Having human interaction gets more critical as we age.

Second, many times people who age in place develop a sedentary lifestyle. They become less active because leaving home becomes more of a bother. On the other hand, if you live in a senior community, there are usually plenty of activities planned for seniors of all fitness levels.

Finally, there are more people to check on you in a senior community. Granted, you may wear a fall detector or panic button at both places, but depending upon the situation, help may be closer at a senior living center.

Only you will be able to determine how you want to spend your golden years. But we hope this discussion allows you to see both sides of the situation.


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