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 Should I Modify My Home or Should I Move Into Senior Living?

A man outstretches his arm, pointing into the distance while talking with a home construction team member who is helping build or remodel the home

The idea of aging in place at home sounds easy enough as a young retiree, but the reality of staying in your home into your 80s and beyond can come with higher risks and costs than you anticipated. When you compare the costs and benefits of remodeling your home for aging in place versus moving to a senior living community, you’ll be able to plan ahead for next steps. One of the best decisions you can make today is to be proactive with your planning; start weighing the options now instead of waiting until a health crisis forces you to make a decision. 

Many older adults come to a place in their lives where they ask the question: Should I modify my current home so I can safely age in place in the future, or should I move into Independent Living at a senior living community, where spaces are already designed to help people age well and live longer, healthier lives? 

The Costs of Aging in Place

Before you decide to age in place, it’s important to consider the costs of remodeling on top of the costs to maintain the home (mortgage, property taxes, insurance, maintenance and repairs) now and in the future. Also keep in mind that you may need to pay for lawn care services, housekeeping and meal services if these tasks become more difficult in the future.

According to Retirement Living magazine, the costs of aging-in-place remodeling projects add up quickly. Here are just a few examples of the average cost to install the following (prices vary by location):

  • Widen an entry door for a wheelchair — $800
  • Install entry handrails — $900
  • Ramp installation at entrance — $1,110
  • Walk-in tub or shower — $5,000
  • Stair lift installation — $8,000
  • Remodel bathroom — $11,200
  • Kitchen countertop height adjustment — $18,000

Simple projects like adding grab bars in the bathroom can be done on a small budget, but the costs go up when you need to replace flooring and widen doorways and hallways for walkers or wheelchairs. Depending on how many updates your home needs, age-friendly updates can run from $10,000 to $100,000

In addition to home remodeling costs, many seniors overlook the costs of bringing in home health services to help them age in place, which may be more expensive than moving to a senior living community in the long run. The average cost of a home health aide was $27 per hour in 2021, based on Genworth’s Cost of Care Survey. This puts the average yearly cost of home health care at $61,776 for someone who needs 44 hours of care per week, and those costs rise significantly for someone with dementia or another condition that requires round-the-clock care.

The Value of Senior Living

If you own your home, you might assume that aging in place would be the most cost-effective option for your retirement years. However, the costs of homeownership continue even after the mortgage is paid off. When you compare the value of living in a retirement community to the costs associated with remaining in your home, you might be surprised to learn that moving to a senior living community is an affordable option that allows you to enjoy a worry-free lifestyle in retirement.

Senior living communities are specifically built to meet the needs of older adults at an affordable price point, with independent living residences designed to help you age in place — with no modifications needed. They also provide a predictable cost structure for current and future care needs. One monthly bill replaces many individual bills so you can more easily plan your budget.

When you live in a senior living community, your monthly rent payment covers most of your expenses including your residence and all maintenance. You won’t have to pay for property taxes or homeowners insurance, and you’ll never have expensive bills to repair or replace appliances or fixtures. Your monthly rent payment also covers lawn care and landscaping, and typically covers all utilities and many additional services like housekeeping and 24-hour security. 

Discover Independent Living at Autumn Leaves 

Ready to move to a place that is designed to let you age in place safely? Our Independent Living options at Autumn Leaves are designed to help you age in place, maintain your independence and improve your quality of life now and in the future. Contact us to tour our rental community to see if we’re a good match for helping you stay independent and age in place.

You Are Invited to Experience Our Community!

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