Comparing Costs of Assisted Living vs. Living at Home

Are you or a loved one having some trouble living independently at home? Are you starting to consider assisted living as an option? If so, you likely want to find the right care, but you also want to know how much each option is going to cost before you make any final decisions. Comparing costs can help determine a final decision.

Complete this cost comparison worksheet to discover the cost of living at home compared to living at an assisted living community in Ohio.

Step 1: Comparing Costs of Living at Home to Assisted Living Services

Choosing to move to an assisted living community may initially give you sticker shock as you see the costs for the first time. But while assisted living may seem like the more expensive option, you might be surprised to learn that the cost of living at home are often comparable.

An assisted living community offers medical and living assistance, but it’s also focused on providing a social environment with planned activities, physical wellness programs and other convenient support services that help seniors continue to enjoy active, fulfilling lifestyles.

Average Assisted Living Costs in Ohio

Exact assisted living costs depend on the community and what services you need. However, Genworth Financial estimates the 2020 median monthly cost of a Columbus, Ohio assisted living community at $4,063.

Cost Comparison Worksheet

Use the worksheet below to determine how much you or your parent is already spending each month while living at home.

At-Home Expense (Monthly) Assisted Living Community
Rent/Mortgage Payments Included
Property Taxes Included
Home Insurance Included
Utilities Included
Telephone and Cable Included
Home Maintenance Included
Outdoor Upkeep (yard work, snow removal, etc.) Included
Housekeeping Services Included
Transportation (gas, insurance, parking fees, etc.) Included
Meals Included
Security System Included
Emergency Alert System Included
Recreation and Leisure Included
Total Monthly Expense $ $                                                                                                                                       *

*Fill in this box in after discussing the average monthly fees with an admissions counselor from the assisted living community you’re considering.

One thing to note before you move on to step 2: the included services and amenities may vary by assisted living community, but the items listed above are commonly offered at most communities as a part of the monthly fee.

When you’re choosing an assisted living community, don’t be afraid to ask which services and amenities are included in the cost and which are extra. For example, three daily meals may be included, but extras like hairdresser appointments might not be.

Step 2: Factor in In-Home Care Costs

If you or a loved one are experiencing health changes that make it harder to live on your own,  it’s likely you’ve already hired outside care.

For example, you may need help getting dressed in the morning or bathing. You may need help with the housework or may need someone to drive you to appointments and social events. You may not be able to provide those things yourself — and that’s okay.

At-home care services come at different costs, depending on what assistance you need and how often you need it.

In addition to the costs you filled in above, you’ll need to take into account the cost of at-home care services. Here are some examples of the average costs of different types of in-home care, using Columbus, Ohio’s 2020 median estimates:

Homemaker Services Home Health Aide Adult Day Health Care
$4,763/month $4,763/month $1,563

Again, these costs will vary depending on how many hours the aide is at your home, what type of services they’re providing, and so on. These numbers can help give you a baseline as you begin to research your options..

Step 3: Look at Your Options for How To Pay for Assisted Living

Typically, assisted living communities use a monthly fee structure that’s either all-inclusive or based on levels of care.

  1. All-inclusive fees mean that the monthly fee covers all services in the community.
  2. Levels of care fees or care services fees mean that residents’ fees are based on the level of care they need.

The services and activities included in the monthly fees vary by the community. To give you an idea of what might be offered, MacIntosh assisted living care communities provide the following services and amenities:

  • 24-hour professional nursing staff
  • Private apartments
  • Emergency call system
  • Housekeeping and linen service
  • Restaurant-style bistro menus prepared by chefs
  • Social and entertainment activities
  • Transportation
  • Health and wellness monitoring
  • Medication management
  • Assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming
  • Physical, occupational and speech therapy
  • Podiatry, dental and optometry services
  • Psychological services
  • Furnished respite suite for short-term accommodations

Will My Insurance Pay For Assisted Living?

Many people wonder if their insurance will cover assisted living services. It depends on your insurance. For example, if you have long-term care insurance, it may cover some or all of your assisted living expenses. Additionally, some insurance will cover rehab or home health services in assisted living if they become necessary.

VA benefits can help pay for assisted living. Unfortunately, Medicare does not pay for assisted living. Many people pay for assisted living privately. Ultimately, it’s a good idea to talk to your insurance provider if you have questions about assisted living coverage.

The Cost of a Columbus, Ohio MacIntosh Assisted Living Community

We know the world of assisted living can be confusing. We’re here to help by providing you with clear answers from our senior living experts.

We’ve also created a guide to assisted living to help you on your way to finding the best place for you or your parent. Click below to download the guide and learn more about assisted living.


Finding Long-Term Care For Your Parent

If you’ve started to notice changes in your senior parent, you may be looking for answers. Maybe Dad is having trouble eating and bathing himself. Perhaps Mom has received a new diagnosis or her chronic illness has worsened.

After seeking solutions and discussing your concerns with a physician, you might wonder if long-term care is an option that’s right for your parent.

Here’s what you need to know about long-term care – what it is, who’s a good fit, and how you can find the right community.

What is Long-Term Skilled Nursing Care?

Long-term care communities provide assistance with the activities of daily living (ADLs), which include walking, eating, getting dressed, using the toilet, bathing, and standing up.

Essentially, they provide the support your parent needs when living at home is no longer an option due to difficulties with the ADLs listed above.

Assistance with ADLs isn’t the only thing communities provide, though. They also provide resources and programming to help residents live their best lives socially, emotionally, and mentally.

What’s the Difference Between Assisted Living and Long-Term Care?

Some people get confused by the difference between assisted living and long-term care. How can you tell which one is a good fit for your parent?

Long-term care is for seniors who are no longer able to safely live at home on their own and require some form of 24-hour nursing care. By comparison, assisted living is for seniors who need some help with activities of daily living but don’t need nearly as much daily care.

Still not sure which is a good fit for your parent?  Use this evaluation chart and questionnaire to assess your parent’s ADL ability level. You can also talk to their doctor or discuss their situation with the staff at a long-term care or assisted living community.

How Much Does Long-Term Care Cost?

Because of the level of care and services, the cost of long-term care can be higher than having your parent remain at home. However, the costs are more comparable than most people realize.

For example, Genworth estimates that in 2019, the median monthly cost in Ohio for a home health aide was around $4,385 and for homemaker services was around $4,290.

In comparison, a semi-private room at a community that offers long-term nursing care was around $6,996 per month, which includes the same services a home health aide and homemaker would.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind that living at home would also come with other costs, such as utilities, transportation and mortgage payments — as well as necessary medical supplies. Ultimately, you should base your decision on your parent’s needs and whether or not those will be best met at home or a comprehensive long-term care community.

As discussed above, you should ask your parent’s primary care physician for their advice to help you make your decision.

How to Pay For Long-Term Care

If you and your parent decide that a long-term care community is the best fit for them, there are three main ways to pay for it: Medicaid, private pay or long-term care insurance.

Generally, most commercial insurance types will not cover long-term care services. If your parent does not have long-term care insurance, they’ll need to pay out-of-pocket.

If they can’t cover the costs themselves, they’re likely financially eligible for Medicaid (Medicare doesn’t cover long-term care if that’s the only care your parent needs).

What Happens In Long-Term Care?

Your parent’s needs are unique, and a good long-term care community will address them as such.

Here are some examples of the long-term care services you might find at a community:

  • A plan of care for each resident, centered on personal goals and functional abilities.
  • Support with ADLs to promote independence, mobility and self-care.
  • In-room amenities such as individual room temperature control, TV with cable, private phones and storage space.
  • Gathering spaces for socializing and relaxing.
  • Enclosed courtyards to let residents enjoy park-like surroundings.
  • Full-service salons and barbershops to allow residents to look and feel their best.
  • Scheduled outings and activities to keep your parent engaged and entertained.

Long-Term Care Activities

A big part of what long-term care communities provide is a wide range of activities and programs. A quality long-term care community will provide activities geared toward resident interests to make sure their mental and social needs are being met.

Here are some long-term care activities that residents at MacIntosh Company senior living communities enjoyed recently:

  • Columbus Zoo visit
  • Monthly birthday party
  • Group singalongs
  • Church and rosary services
  • Resident council meetings
  • Art classes

This is just a sampling of the activities your loved one can join in on every day. There are also plenty of community events tailored to residents. For example, in true Buckeye Country fashion, Ohio State University football games are shown each Saturday through the fall.

Of course, no one will force your parent to participate in an event or activity that they don’t want to. While socializing is proven to have enormous health benefits for older adults, they still have autonomy and can choose not to participate.

Personalized Healthcare: The MacIntosh Difference

Finding the Right Long-Term Care Community

The best way to evaluate a long-term care community is to visit. Make sure you get a tour of the community and have the staff answer your questions to help you best evaluate it.

The MacIntosh Company offers multiple communities throughout central Ohio, all with personalized offerings to help residents live their best, most fulfilling lives.

Explore our long-term care communities online to learn more about what each has to offer: