Cost Comparison

Cost Comparison: Senior Living vs. Aging in Place

Price is often the number one concern for older adults who are exploring senior living communities. It is little wonder why: the average cost of an independent living community is $2,500 a month. Since staff provide residents with a higher level of support, assisted living and memory care communities are generally even more expensive

Taken at face value, these costs can be overwhelming. You may think that aging in place, or remaining at home, is more affordable. However, before jumping to conclusions, it is important to consider the monthly value of a senior living community.

What Is the Monthly Value of a Senior Living Community?

Though many individuals are often taken aback by the price of senior living communities, it is because they don’t understand what is included in that charge. To help provide some insight, we have parsed out all that the recurring charge affords. Keep reading to learn more.


First and foremost, the monthly charge at a senior living community covers rent. Though layouts vary, most communities provide studio and one- to two-bedroom apartment homes equipped with modern appliances and furnishings. These spaces are also designed with mobility in mind and are outfitted with grab bars in the bathroom and slip-resistant flooring throughout, if that’s what you need. Renting or buying a comparable home in any American city would cost at least $1,000 per month.

Home Maintenance

Homeownership is costly. Besides their monthly mortgage, the average American spends at least $1,000 each year on home upkeep. That comes out to about $83 per month. Older adults living in a community avoid these costs altogether.


Most senior living communities include utilities — electricity, water, phone, Wi-Fi, basic cable — in the monthly charge. If paid for separately, an individual could expect to pay at least $200 for these services.

Trash Removal

Garbage pick-up is almost always included in the monthly charge at a senior living community. The average American pays at least $20 for this service.

Landscaping Services

Maintaining a lawn is challenging, if not impossible, for many older adults. Because of this, complimentary lawn maintenance is often a draw for many individuals who move to senior living communities. If a retiree were to hire a crew to maintain their half-acre yard, the cost would be at least $200 per month.

Housekeeping Services

To provide residents with a maintenance-free lifestyle, senior living communities offer housekeeping services at no additional cost. This is not only convenient but also necessary as some individuals have mobility issues that compromise their ability to clean. If an older adult were to age in place, they would expect to pay at least $25 per hour for cleaning services. At four hours a week, this amounts to $100.

Dining Services

Understanding the importance of nutrition, communities provide residents with on-site dining options. Prepared by award-winning chefs, these meals balance nutrition and taste. If purchased at a standard restaurant, each meal would cost at least $13 per plate. For three meals per day for 30 days, that would cost $1,170 alone.

Transportation Services

Driving can become challenging as we age. Because of this, most senior living communities provide transportation services to grocery stores, malls, local attractions, doctor’s offices and more. Not needing a car, residents can save at least $9,000 per year, or $750 per month, on a car payment, maintenance, insurance and gas.

Total Savings

In sum, aging in place costs the average American $3,523 per month, whereas the average senior living community costs roughly $2,500. Of course, these figures don’t account for the intangible benefits of relocating to a senior living community. For instance, residents are provided with access to libraries, movie theaters, barber shops and beauty salons, art studios and crafting spaces, and endless events and activities.

There are other unquantifiable benefits as well, like building relationships, exploring hobbies and achieving wellness goals. You can’t put a price on that.