Can Aging in Place Save You Money in the Long Run?
There will be approximately 14.1 million people over the age of 85 in the U.S. by the year 2040. The majority of these people would love to age in place, which means staying in their own homes long after they retire. However, they don’t see that happening to them with the rising costs of healthcare. Can aging in place truly save you money over the long term? Being able to stay at home during retirement may be much cheaper than you think. Here are three major factors to consider on whether aging in place makes better financial sense for you over other options.
Home Modifications And Upkeep
As you get older, you may need to make certain modifications to your home in order to stay physically safe as your mobility declines. Almost 25% of all seniors die after breaking their hip by falling. You’ll need to determine how much you’ll need to spend to install things like safety ramps, and grab bars. You’ll also want to consider having a no-step shower and a generator to protect against power loss. All of these repairs can cost you around $100,000 in total, which is approximately what you’ll pay for one year alone of nursing home care.
You’ll also need to have a plan in place for the occasional home repairs that need to get done, such as replacing the roof. This needs to be figured in with the regular maintenance tasks that need doing like landscaping and gutter cleaning. How will you manage these needs when you can no longer do them yourself? Do you have family and friends that can help? Figure out how much it costs you currently for this upkeep and compare it with the costs of living in an assisted living center or nursing home near you.
You may be able to save money on maintenance work by researching local programs in your community that can help you cover these costs. Certain modifications with assistive equipment may be able to be covered by insurance. You may even want to consider home-sharing where you offer a room in your home for reduced rent in exchange for the renter providing the maintenance services you need. There are also free transportation services available that can take seniors to medical appointments and even grocery shopping.
Individual Medical Needs
As your health declines as you get older, you’ll probably need to have some sort of assistance with your overall medical care and everyday tasks. For example, you may be one of the 75% of people who experience foot problems at some point in their lives and have a hard time getting around. Or you may become bedridden with a serious medical condition. If you want to stay at home, you may need to hire home health care services to take care of you or help you with household chores.
Seniors who age in place typically pay $928 per month for living expenses. This number is much lower for seniors who have paid off their mortgages and only have to cover property tax and utility expenses. The average cost jumps up to $3,800 a month for 44 hours of health care each week in your home, which can be covered in many cases by Medicaid or Medicare. You may need less or more care, depending on your individual needs. If you have a family that can help care for you, you’ll dramatically reduce those costs should you have to pay out of pocket. If you are not eligible for Medicaid, consider looking for supplemental insurance to pay for costs that Medicare won’t cover.
The typical cost for assisted living is around $3,628, but that’s assuming you need very little hands-on care. If you need any cooking or cleaning done, you’ll have to pay for those services a la carte. Medicare will only typically pay for assisted living if it’s a temporary situation. You can plan on spending around $8,000 per month for nursing home care and more than that if you need 24-hour care. In both of these cases, you will most likely have to pay these costs out of your own pocket, unless you’re very low income and can qualify for Medicaid.
Social Life And Mental Health
Studies have shown that there are numerous health benefits for seniors who age in place. Around 40 million people experience an anxiety disorder every year. Seniors who age in place reduce their risk and symptoms of anxiety and depression because they are able to be more connected with their community. This engagement can also help increase life expectancy, build up physical strength, and improve memory function. These positive outcomes were significantly higher for seniors who age in place than those who lived in nursing homes, according to data collected by Missouri’s AIP program.
These health benefits can help seniors save money in the long run by being able to stay in their own homes. They can maintain their environment and not be subjected to other illnesses from being in confined spaces with numerous other people. They have more opportunities to stay physically active by getting at least 25 minutes of high-calorie burning activity three times per week. They also reduce their risk of potential neglect in an overcrowded and understaffed nursing facility. They are able to have more control over their nutrition and the ability to rest and relax when needed.
According to the National Aging in Place Council, it can cost much less to society for a person to stay in their home rather than go into a care facility. Aging in place can save you money long term if you take steps as soon as possible to prepare for it. If you want to stay at home, make financial plans for home modifications and look into local community programs that can provide assistance. Take good care of your health to have a better chance to save money on healthcare costs during retirement. You’ll be able to enjoy the comforts of your own home for as long as you desire.