If you think moving to a senior living community might be too expensive, be sure to consider the full bang you’ll be getting for your buck. While monthly fees at some communities may seem pricey at first glance, it’s important to take into account all the included amenities and services — and to compare them to the cost of that same lifestyle in your current home.
At the senior living community of your choice, you’ll likely receive free transportation, and you can choose not to own a car. This means no expenses for maintenance, gas, taxes and registration. Communities typically provide transportation to all medical appointments and to regularly scheduled shopping and other outings.
How much do you pay each year for upkeep and maintenance of your home? Don’t forget tasks like window washing, gutter cleaning, periodic painting and roof replacement. In a senior living community, you typically won’t be responsible for the costs of maintaining your home.
In many communities, you don’t pay extra for utilities. Often, basic and standard cable packages are provided, although you can pay extra to upgrade to premium channels or special services. Internet access also is often provided.
Your senior living community will feature a vibrant wellness program and facilities, so you won’t need to pay for a gym membership. Many communities also feature clinics that residents can visit for free or at reduced cost for quick services.
Food at home can cost more than you may think, especially when you factor in what ends up being thrown away. In a senior community, you can get exactly what you want to eat, when you want it. There will always be friends around for company while you’re dining. But you also have the option of taking food back to your residence or having it delivered.
There’s always something happening in senior living communities, whether it’s lectures, performances, games, classes, clubs or other social events. You won’t need to pay to join an outside organization or group to spend time interacting with others and enjoying hobbies you love.
As people age, cleaning the house is not as easy as it used to be. In a senior living community, your monthly fee likely covers periodic housekeeping.
Yard work also becomes out of the question for many seniors who remain in their homes, and they pay for someone to take care of landscaping. In a senior community, maintenance staff work on a daily basis to ensure that the grounds look beautiful and well-kept.
Most senior communities these days offer advanced security systems such as a pendant you can wear wherever you go. Press a button, and security staff respond immediately. Staff members also patrol the grounds to ensure that everyone stays safe.
Depending on the financial structure of your senior living community, you may qualify for a significant tax break. If your community offers health care and you pay a non-refundable entrance fee, the IRS may view the payment as a deductible medical expense. Consult your financial adviser for details.
Compare apples to apples
When you consider the costs of moving to a senior living community, be sure you’re taking all the benefits into account. Move-in counselors can provide you with a detailed list that lets you easily compare what you’re currently paying to what you’ll pay in a community. You may be pleasantly surprised!