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Aging in Place vs. Moving into a Retirement Home

The costs of aging at home

Ethel experiences shortness of breath, which results in a trip to the emergency department. She realizes that it is time to seriously look at retirement communities. If she had another episode, she might have to move to long term care and Graham would be left alone. Her son retains an eldercare consultant to assess their demographic, social, geographic and care needs, to revise their budget again, and to make a short list of retirement residences.

Based on selling the house for $400,000 and assuming they earned three per cent on their house proceeds of net of five per cent commission of $380,000, they would have $11,400 a year, or $950 a month, to augment their current cash flow. They would have a potential monthly income of $4,310, without touching the capital. Alternatively, the sum could be used to purchase an annuity to top up the monthly income.

Graham and Ethel are shown medium-range residences from three large retirement chains. For a one-bedroom suite of 400 square feet, three meals and snacks, all activities, a 24/7 nurse on call and weekly doctor visits, they are quoted $4,800 for one person and $750 for the second person sharing the suite. A “care package” of $800 is quoted for Ethel to have assistance with medication, morning and bedtime personal care and three baths per week, for a total of $6,350 per month.

A hefty monthly price tag, yes, but let’s compare it to Scenario III, staying home with a live-in caregiver, which would have given Graham and Ethel only 44 hours of support a week. At the retirement community, many services are included that they would have paid for had they stayed at home.

Costs

At home with live-in caregiver Retirement community
Paying for 44 hours of live-in support per week/days only (no assistance during the night). Nurse on call 24/7. (included)
Transportation to doctor’s appointments. Weekly doctor visits on-site. (included)
Weekly visits from a private caregiver who will:
  • Direct the live-in's implementation of any treatment plans for Graham and Ethel
  • Make sure medication is taken
  • Make sure medical appointments are made and followed up on
  • Monitor any changes in Graham or Ethel’s health
Care Package:
On-site assistance with medication, morning and bedtime personal care and three baths a week. (extra)

* They can purchase more help when they need it in a shared-care arrangement offered by the retirement residence so they don’t need to hire a private caregiver.
Meals on Wheels. Three meals per day plus snacks. (included)
Household costs such as: Property taxes, utilities, food, maintenance, entertainment etc. Graham and Ethel no longer have to pay for many of their regular household expenses because most are included.

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