The Costs of Senior Living vs. Staying at Home

Understanding how to pay for the senior living option that best meets your needs can be a challenge to navigate. Our team can help guide you through the different options for financing the care setting that would be best for your short term or long term care needs. When you are considering which option would be best for you or a loved one, the following cost comparison can help guide the true cost of staying at home versus skilled nursing or assisted living.

Average Cost of Staying at Home

While staying at home may seem the easiest option, the individual expenses can add up quickly. Consider the following items when you are considering staying at home. 

Average Cost of Independent Living

Independent living costs are similar to that of an apartment, expect utilities and amenities such as emergency alert systems, internet and satellite television are typically included at no additional cost. Many communities offer meal service and other options for additional fees. Living among a community of your peers without the hassle of maintaining a private residence are the main advantages to moving into an Independent Living community. 

Average Cost of Assisted Living

Assisted Living communities typically are all inclusive, which means that rent, taxes, utilities and often most or all meals and entertainment are included in a flat monthly fee.  Most communities also offer different levels of care for an additional fee. These usually include more assistance with medication management, assistance with daily activities and other support. 

Average Cost of Skilled Nursing and Long-Term

While skilled nursing may be prescribed after an acute event to assist with recovery, it also can be a great option for a person with more complex daily nursing needs. If a person has lost mobility or needs 24/7 care, skilled nursing may be the most ideal option. Often, it is less expensive than a full-time caregiver in the home. Similar to Assisted Living, all living expenses in a Skilled Nursing community are included in the monthly fees. 

Options to Help Cover Senior Living Costs

Private Pay

Retirees may have planned their lifetime of savings to help pay for living expenses in their golden years. Selling stocks, bonds or other assets can provide the funds necessary to cover the expense of long term care or assisted living. 

Private Insurance

If you need short term rehabilitation, most health insurance policies will cover the cost of your stay in a skilled nursing facility. Long term care insurance policies typically cover skilled nursing services including rehabilitation and assistance with daily living activities. Check coverage with your insurance provider and the facility to see what insurance providers they accept. 


Medicare will cover skilled nursing services with a qualifying event or with a physician referral. Inquire with your prospective facility, so they can check the available Medicare coverage you have remaining. 


Depending on your financial situation, you may be able to qualify for Medicaid assistance to pay for skilled nursing services for long term care. Some states also offer Medicaid assistance to cover assisted living expenses as well. Check with your prospective facility to see what Medicaid programs they accept.