Does Senior Living Cost Too Much? By Connie Haworth, Executive Director

Does Senior Living Cost Too Much? By Connie Haworth, Executive Director

LIFESTYLE

Posted: March 5, 2021

When someone hears the monthly service fee for an independent living senior apartment, their first response is usually, “I can’t afford that!” Some shout it out and some think it in their heads, but certainly, most have this response.

What is it that makes independent living appear to be expensive?

First of all, we have a perception that living in our own home is free. But when you consider what it costs to stay in your own home, most people think of their mortgage payment. A mortgage payment is only a small percentage of what it really costs to live at home, however. Consider all the other expenses affiliated with staying in your own home:

• Cost of food
• Property taxes
• Property insurance
• Telephone
• Cable TV
• Internet
• Parking
• Electricity
• Gas
• Water/Sewer
• Trash removal
• Lawn care
• Gutter cleaning
• Snow removal
• Painting and Repairs
• Roof
• Sump pump
• HVAC maintenance
• Appliance maintenance
• Security
• Entertainment
• Health/Fitness Club Membership
• Transportation
• Emergency call system/pendant

That’s a long list of expenses! When you add together what you spend every month to pay for the items on this list, independent senior living doesn’t seem so expensive!

If you decide to “age in place” in your home, there may come a time when you have to make some changes to your home to make it a comfortable place to live, considering physical or mental changes that come with aging. You may need to widen doors, install ramps, change bathtubs to showers, or move laundry to the main floor, for example.

In addition to renovations, you may need to bring help into your home, such as nursing or housekeeping. These services are usually billed on an hourly basis with a minimum of four hours of service each visit.

How does the expense of living in a senior living community differ?

Just like a home, the cost of living in a retirement community depends on the size of living space you select. Obviously, two-bedroom apartments are more expensive than one-bedroom apartments. In addition to space in your personal apartment, all the other common areas in the building are yours to enjoy, too. This includes patios, dining rooms, the chapel, and an art studio, for example.

When one lives in a retirement community, the woes of home and lawn maintenance are a thing of the past; you can cross those off the list. Utilities are included, and there is no need for that large property tax bill. Add to this the security, entertainment, transportation, and gym memberships that come with the monthly service fee and you can see how quickly the cost-of-living in a retirement community becomes less expensive than staying in your own home!

What is most important to consider?

What can’t be measured in dollars and cents is the value brought into your life by living in a retirement community. There are new friendships. Old hobbies that become new again. There is the joy of going to Tai Chi with your neighbor and going to Mass with your newly-reacquainted friend from high school.

As we age, our worlds tend to grow smaller. Friends move from the neighborhood and we don’t see them anymore. We use the same neighborhood pharmacy and grocery store that we have used for years. There is comfort in familiarity, but there is no adventure. Many seniors have given up on experiencing something new, but living in a retirement community opens up a whole new world of possibilities!

I’ve seen people fall in love and get married. I saw a woman, who hadn’t owned a piano in years, start playing every day after breakfast to the delight of her peers. I once took 10 women with dementia on an Amtrak ride to tour Washington, DC (a lot of staff went along, too). I’ve seen thousands of people get a new lease on life and grow healthier because of it!

Instead of asking what the cost of senior living is, maybe the question you should ask yourself is what am I missing by being home, what do I have to gain from senior living, and what value will it add to my life?

Call today at 816-846-0870 and set up a time to come in and see what value St. Anthony’s Senior Lifestyle can add to your way of life!

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