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Best Care Options
Aging in Place or
Moving to a Senior Community

As you and your loved one consider the best care options, it may surprise you both that transitioning to a senior community may be very comparable to making the necessary home modifications to age in place.

Keep in mind that most of the expenses that you have at home are covered in the monthly care costs of a senior community.  Plus, living in a community where there are others to interact with, can be very beneficial for seniors who would be otherwise isolated at home alone.



Comparing Costs

Let's explore the many costs associated with staying at home vs the same costs at a care community.


Let's face it, cooking for one can be very hard, especially if they have never had to cook until the loss of a spouse.  Now, are they trying to cook for one and keep it healthy?  Or do they rely on one basic meal a day that is either a microwave dinner or delivered by Doordash?

So if your senior stays at home, you need to not only count the costs of the food at home but the quite possible lack of quality healthy meals that would be provided in a community.


These are out of pocket at home.  And you may visit to find that your senior is sitting alone, in the dark, with no lights on, no TV on, and the without the heat or air set at a comfortable temperature.  All of this is in an effort to save money.  Utilities are included in a community, with no extra charge for heat or electricity.

Internet and Cable

Your senior may have cable, but depending on their age they may not have internet.  But are they using it or do they struggle with making things work, give up and just shut it off?  In a community, not only are these included, they are often available in a community setting where they can watch TV in a social setting or get help with navigating the internet.


Many of our seniors let a lot of dirt slide.  They either just don't care anymore, or they don't see it anymore.  So it is either up to you as their caregiver to clean their house and do their laundry or help them hire someone to do it for them.  In a community, cleaning of common spaces is included, and for private apartments or rooms, it may be included or it may be offered for a small fee, a fee that is way less than having someone come to the house.  Laundry is the same.

Property Taxes

Take a few minutes and look up the cost of property taxes.  Our loved ones have to pay this expense every year and it keeps going up.   If they don't pay it, they might get away with it for a few years depending on the county, but eventually, they have to pay it or the county will take their house.  This is not a cost at all in a senior community.

Home Maintenance & Repairs

If you own a home, you have the cost of keeping it maintained.  If this home is over 20 years old, it's just a matter of time until the roof needs replaced, the furnace and air conk out, or something else needs to be repaired or replaced.  In a care community, other than the maintenance of personal items, like furniture and the TV, there is nothing much that needs to be maintained.

Entertainment Costs

Most seniors just don't do entertainment.  Their fun outing is when you take them to Mcdonald's and the grocery store.  On the other hand, senior communities have a lot of onsite entertainment options to keep your seniors active and interacting with others.

Home Modifications

The other cost to consider is the cost of making modifications to the house or other items added to the home to keep your loved one safe.

Senior Monitor

Some sort of device to keep tabs on your seniors to make sure they are safe.  This could be an emergency alter necklace, cameras, or the new Alexa devices that will talk with them.  These have upfront costs and ongoing monthly charges.

Lost Cost Modifications

This can be as simple as removing throw rugs, clearing out excess furniture and adding handrails and grab bars.  Or putting down slip-resistant flooring.

More Costly Add Ons

Next, we might see the installation of a wheelchair ramp to eliminate stairs going in and out of the house.  Or adding a stairlift so they don't have to climb stairs.

Structural Changes

Then we might see changes to the overall structure of the house.  It might require doorways to be widened to accommodate a wheelchair.  Replacing bathtubs with walk-in showers.  Or even building a bedroom and a bathroom on the main floor.

Universal Design

Known to builders, architects, and others involved in the construction of residences, "universal design" is a concept for building, designing, or remodeling a home so it's more comfortable, convenient, safer, and easier for people of all generations to use, especially the elderly.  Some purchased homes long ago with universal design in mind for when they got older and they may not need to make as many modifications.  Or perhaps you are not quite senior and are planning for your own future.

Researching Costs

Costs of Care

The cost of that care varies based on the care setting, geographic location of care, and level of care required, among other things. Using Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey Tool, you and your family can calculate the cost of long-term care across the U.S. Understanding what the median cost is today is a first step to helping you plan for it.

For 2021 in the Kansas City Metro Area

  • Home Care $4,957 a month
  • Home Health Aide $4,957 a month
  • Adult Day Health Care $1,733
  • Assisted Living Community $4,585
  • Nursing Facility for Semi-Private Room $6,464
  • Nursing Facility for Private Room $7,908

Cost of Repair or Modification

There are a lot of different sites online that you can find that will give you a rough idea of the cost of repairs and modifications.  You can visit to compare the average costs for 22 different remodeling projects with the value those projects will add to the value of the property.

Which is Better?

Housing and Urban Development, HUD has a special report that has some interesting information:

The choice to either age in place or enter institutional care is a complex and deeply personal decision that hinges on factors such as the amount of health care needed and the availability of family assistance. However, one reason most older adults choose to age in place for as long as they are able is simply because doing so is the most economical option. Some older people — 21 percent of those aged 65 to 74 and 18 percent of those aged 74 to 84 — own their homes outright and thus no longer have mortgage expenses. Others are enrolled in the Federal Housing Administration’s Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) program, which helps elderly homeowners age in place by allowing them to access the equity of their homes as income.

Even when seniors are ready to move, selling their homes can be difficult. Their homes tend to be older and are less likely to have been updated, making them less desirable to potential buyers, especially in a slow housing market. A 2008 survey from the American Seniors Housing Association found that nearly a quarter of seniors have not improved their homes in 10 years, and 41 percent say they won’t spend money to attract a buyer. These findings are starkly different from the 57 percent of all homeowners who made home improvements in the 3-year period from 2009 to 2011.

So while it may be less expensive to age in place, if no major modifications need to be made to accommodate your senior.  Their home may be in disrepair, although, that may or may not matter.

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