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Staying in Your Home vs. Moving to a Life Plan Community

Although life plan communities offer residents many conveniences and amenities, the top reason that seniors visit, and eventually move to Vista Grande Villa, is their desire to move to a community with a full continuum of care services. Not knowing what services they may need in the future, a continuum of care promises their needs will be taken care of, without needing to move again.

However, there are factors that are holding people back from making a decision on a life plan community, or causing them to delay their move to one. The top on the list of prospective residents reasons not to move is they simply don’t think they are old enough to move to a senior living home yet. But second on the list of things that are holding people back is concerns about the long-term affordability of living in a community, like Vista Grande Villa.

Is it really cheaper to stay in your home?
While people would like to move to a senior living center, they often believe staying in their home will be less expensive on a month-to-month basis. But is this actually the case? Maybe, maybe not.

The first thing to consider is your current home’s mortgage or rent, which is most people’s biggest monthly expense. Of course, many seniors are living in a home that has already been paid off. In this case, the equity is a common source of funding for a life plan community entry fee as well as potentially the monthly fees charged by these communities.

Utilities are another considerable expense for those who live on their own. The cost for your home’s power, water, phone, cable, internet, and other utilities can add up pretty fast. When living in a life plan community, these costs may be rolled into your monthly fee. You will want to ask this question when visiting communities to verify.

Homeowners insurance and property taxes also can be quite expensive for homeowners, especially in high-tax states. Again, you will want to check with the community you are considering, but both of these expenses may be reduced if not eliminated at a life plan community.

Other miscellaneous costs that come with owning a home like trash removal, snow removal, HOA fees, lawn and landscaping services, housekeeping services, gym memberships, and most home repair costs will also likely be included in the monthly fee for the majority of senior living communities.

As for your monthly food expense—most life plan communities will include at least one meal per day as part of the monthly fee, but meal plans are becoming more flexible and the options can vary from one community to the next. Also, keep in mind that there will likely be an additional cost for meals if a resident is living in the healthcare center.

The biggest difference in costs
When calculating the cost of moving to a senior living community, such as Vista Grande Villa, versus staying in your home, perhaps the number one cost to consider is care services. Generally speaking, there are two options for in-home care: either hire someone to provide the services you need, or have an unpaid loved one perform those duties.

The Genworth 2019 Annual Cost of Care Study reveals that the 2019 median hourly cost for homemaker or home health aide services hired from a home care agency is $22.50 and $23.00, respectively. In-home skilled nursing care (usually from an RN) can cost approximately $87.50 per visit.

So, for just 20 hours of in-home care per week (part-time care), the cost can range from around $1,800 to $2,650 each month. That’s a hefty tab, but the cost of having an unpaid loved one serve as caregiver can be even greater.

According to Caregiving in the U.S. 2020, a joint research study between the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, in the prior 12 months, approximately 53 million Americans have provided unpaid care to a loved one age 50 or older. And studies from the National Alliance for Caregiving revealed that, over their lifetime, the average unpaid family caregiver loses approximately $300,000 in wages and benefits.

In addition to these financial losses, there are other well-documented non-monetary costs often experienced by these unpaid family caregivers such as higher stress, health issues, and time away from other family members and friends.

So, staying in your home, with the long-term assistance of a loved one, may or may not save you money as compared to moving to a life plan community, but people often don’t realize that those costs actually get transferred to the next generation in the form of lost wages and benefits, as well as health impacts.

Calculate the cost difference for yourself
To help you get a better idea of the real monthly cost of remaining in your home as compared to moving to a community like Vista Grande Villa, you can use our simple online calculator on our website to calculate your costs. It lists the typical things that homeowners pay for each month, so you can fill in those values for your particular home situation. Quite often people find that the monthly difference is much less than they thought. In fact, some actually find that they will save money each month.

It’s important to note that the cost of assisted living or healthcare services would be in addition, but this is true of staying in your home or living in a retirement community. However, as it relates to life plan communities, the cost of such care services may be included in your monthly fee, depending upon which type of contract you have.