Older and Wiser

Calculate the Cost of a Care Community

What is the cost of living in your home and how does it compare to living at a community that offers independent/assisted living options, or one that provides memory care or skilled nursing care? You may discover that a care community is much more affordable than you think.

Before moving, you’ll want to consult with a trusted financial adviser to determine what resources are available to you, besides your income. You may be eligible for benefits from the Veterans Administration, which can help support assisted living costs. Some individuals work with life insurance specialists to cash out an existing life insurance policy for a lump sum that is much greater than the cash surrender value.

Homeowners may be able to use the net proceeds from a home sale to support the cost of living in a care community. Some might choose to apply interest earned from the investment of net proceeds after the sale is completed. Others may decide to use the principal amount of their net proceeds.

Whatever you decide, you can use the categories in this article to determine your current monthly living costs and plan for your transition before moving to an extended care community. We’ve identified four main categories:

  • Home Ownership
  • Maintenance and Upkeep
  • Lifestyle
  • Health and Wellness

Home Ownership

What do you actually pay to live in your home?

Current home ownership expenses per month:

$_______ Mortgage or rent

$_______ Housing association fees

$_______ Property insurance

$_______ Property tax

Maintenance and Upkeep

What are you paying for utilities, yard work, maintenance and other expenses? Remember to factor in time you spend on household chores and add it to the numbers below.

$_______ Current maintenance and upkeep expenses per month:

$_______ Utilities (electricity, gas and oil)

$_______ Repairs including snow removal, painting, plumbing, pest control, other repairs

$_______ Property maintenance including landscaping

$_______ Trash removal

$_______ Water and sewer bills

$_______ Housecleaning, laundry, maid service


Include groceries, gas and recreation in your lifestyle costs.

Monthly lifestyle expenses:

$_______ Groceries and dining for three meals a day

$_______ Entertainment (movies, theater, sports)

$_______ Social and recreational activities

$_______ Transportation (gas, auto insurance, other)

$_______ Cable television

Health and Wellness

If you need care in your home for more than a few hours a day, costs can add up pretty quickly. What might you need to spend at home for round-the-clock care? Compare those costs to those that would be covered in a care community through a monthly rental fee or care package.

Monthly health and wellness expenses:

$_______ Twenty-four-hour staff availability and security

$_______ Medical alert system/lifeline

$_______ Wellness/exercise programs or memberships

$_______ Home care services

Once you’ve figured out what you are currently paying, you can compare these costs to the price listings at any community you are considering. That will allow you to determine the best course of action—for yourself, your loved ones and your future.

Decisions about moving or caring for a loved one can be difficult to navigate. At Cassia, (formerly Augustana Care and Elim Care), we are here to help. To learn more, please visit www.cassialife.org or contact us directly at communication@cassialife.org.